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Relocating to Australia

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More than 150,000 migrants settled in Australia as permanent residents in 2009.

People relocate to top destinations in Australia for various reasons - to be closer to relatives, linguistic convenience for English speakers, for its high standard of living, dynamic economy and plenitude of jobs (compared to the rest of the advanced world).

If you're an entrepreneur and you want to set up a business in the country, or buy a business for sale in Australia, there are many processes you must undertake.

Visa

To qualify for a permanent business owner visa and become an Australian resident, entrepreneurs must fulfil certain requirements. Visa applicants must have a net value of at least AU$250,000 in personal and business assets, along with a minimum of AU$100,000 net value of main business assets, with a turnover of no less than AU$300,000. All of these requirements must be met a year before the visa application process.

Also, in the 12 months prior to a visa application, the business owner or their spouse must employ at least two full-time, non-related Australian citizens or New Zealand passport holders.

To meet the requirements for a permanent visa, applicants must have been in Australia as the holder of a qualifying visa for at least one year

To meet the requirements for a permanent visa, applicants must have been in Australia as the holder of a qualifying visa for at least one year, and both the applicant and their spouse must have a clean business history.

Registration requirements

Entrepreneurs registering a proprietary limited company in Australia must complete a 201 ASIC (Application for Registration as an Australian Company) form, and pay a fee of AU$400. In the application form the company must indicate the Australian state or territory in which it will be registered.

The company should also provide information on the proposed corporate name, the corporate type and class, the location of the registered office, principal place of business in Australia and the identity of the ultimate holding company.

Before submitting the ASIC form, applicants should check the availability of their proposed company name for registration. Also, one company director and one company secretary must be an Australian resident.

A company must also register for an Australian Business Number (ABN) with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Applications can be submitted electronically at the Business Entry Point or filed by hard copy to the ATO.

The registration for a 201 ASIC form and ABN will take a total of two days to complete. Once the 201 form is electronically lodged with ASIC, an Australian Company Number (ACN) will become available. The ASIC registers the company on their database and issues the company a registration certificate.

If the company's annual turnover is AU$75,000 or more, the company must register for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) by obtaining an 11-digit ABN. Failure to do so will result in GST being levied on all company sales since the required date of registration. Furthermore, the company may incur penalties for any overdue payments.

Employment

Employment regulations are required to allow efficient and legal contracting between employers and workers, and to protect workers from discriminatory or unfair treatment by employers. The company must deduct tax from employee pay, provide payment summaries, contribute to employee superannuation (Australian retirement program) and issue payments to the ATO.

The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship expects to see an increase to the contribution that business migrants make to the Australian economy, by creating more jobs for Australians. Also, the Skill Matching Database is an Australian scheme that helps match skilled people, who have applied to migrate, with skilled vacancies or skill shortages in Australia.

Professional help

Widely used in the business sales process, it is even more imperative for foreign nationals to use a broker in Australia to help them deal with differences in the country's tax code and legal system. A buyer's lack of research, country-specific knowledge and due diligence are often reasons for business failures.

Also, buyer agents can help foreign entrepreneurs understand legislation relating to tax, importing, exporting and other issues.

Entrepreneurs are advised to put together a strong business plan based on up-to-date, local knowledge when approaching financial backers. Grants are also available for a number of ventures and it is advised that immigrants should discuss ideas with a specialist agent before applying for funding.

Business coaches are also increasingly popular for both local and new Australia business people, as getting professional help when dealing with minor issues can save on major costs in the long term.

Overall, Australia, which ranked third in the Index of Economic Freedom, the Heritage Foundation's measurement of 10 factors, is similar to those of other advanced economies.


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