Australia axes ‘golden visa’ scheme for mega rich

Kathmandu: Australia has axed its so-called “golden visa”, which granted wealthy overseas investors the right to live in the country.

Designed to attract foreign business, it was cut in an immigration overhaul after the government found it was “delivering poor economic outcomes”.

Critics have long argued that the scheme was being used by “corrupt officials” to “park illicit funds”.

It will be replaced with more skilled-worker visas.

Thousands of significant investor visas (SIV) have been granted through the program since 2012, with 85% of successful applicants coming from China according to government data.

Marketed as a way to drive foreign investment and stoke innovation, candidates had to invest more than A$5m (£2.6m;$3.3m) in Australia to be eligible.

After multiple reviews, the government found that the scheme had failed to meet its core objectives. In a policy document from December, it announced that it would scrap it, focusing instead on creating more visas for “skilled migrants” capable “of making outsized contributions to Australia”.

Australia now joins the UK, which scrapped a scheme offering fast-track residency to the mega rich in 2022, due to concerns about the inflow of illicit Russian money.

So-called golden visa schemes have also come under scrutiny in Malta, which has been granting speedy citizenship to wealthy non-European Union nationals. In 2022, an investigation discovered the visas being granted after people spent just days in the island nation, while the EU had raised concern over risks of money laundering, tax evasion and corruption.

News Source: BBC