small business owner visa 491 Small Business Owners Pathway
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491 Small Business Owners Pathway

September 13, 2021

491 Small Business Owners Pathway

If you are currently living and operating a small business in regional Queensland, there is the Small Business Owners 491visa pathway available. This visa lets you stay and work in Australia for 5 years, opening opportunities for a Permanent residency pathway after that time.

491 Small Business Owners Pathway Explained

If you live in there is a pathway available for Small Business Owners. The first condition is to be living in a Regional area (6 months prior to lodging EOI) and you are currently holding a visa with unrestricted working rights.

Your occupation must be listed on the relevant Home Affairs Instrument and you will need a skills assessment in your nominated occupation. You will also need to take an English test for points purposes. You will still need to achieve 65 points through SkillSelect, but you can use extra 15 points from state/territory nomination toward overall points.

However, your business does not need to be related to your nominated occupation, yet you must be able to show relevant business experience or qualifications to demonstrate you will be able to successfully run the business. The business must be registered in Queensland and you must be 100% owner, meaning you cannot have a partner.

How to apply?

To start your application, you will need to lodge an EOI plus and online 491 SBO Assessment form. Important to note is, if you would like to apply in Queensland you should choose Queensland as the preferred state, not Any.

Please note you will have to operate your business 6 months prior to lodging EOI, which you will have to prove with BAS statements. The person applying must be the one operating the business.

You can purchase an existing business in the minimum amount of $100.000. The business must be a pre-existing business in a regional area and this also includes franchises.

All pre-existing businesses need to have been operating for at least 2 years prior to the purchase of the business (including franchises).

You will prove your investment through a purchase contract and other capital investments made into the business over six months following the purchase of the business and prior to submitting an EOI.

It is important to note, you cannot start up a new business, as it must be a pre-existing business. Also, you will need to employ a minimum of one Australian employee, which is an Australian resident, for a minimum of 20 hours per week. They cannot be a family member or a subcontractor.

Which postcodes are considered regional?

4124 to 4125, 4133, 4183 to 4184, 4207 to 4275, 4280 to 4287, 4306, 4498, 4507, 4517 to 4519, 4550 to 4575, 4580 to 4895.

What documents are required?

  • Application form
  • Settlement funds declaration form
  • Bank statement (personal)
  • Skills assessment
  • Commitment statement
  • Evidence of business management
  • Evidence of academic qualification
  • Evidence of business ownership/registration documents (contract of sale and ABN/ACN/ASIC)
  • Evidence of Australian resident employee (not a family member, or a subcontractor)
  • Evidence business has been operating for 6 months (BAS statements)
  • VEVO
  • Utility bill or lease agreement

The current processing time is approximately 10 days from receipt of a completed application unless otherwise stated. A complete application includes the processing fee, not just the documents.

Sample Case studies

Petrol Station

Q: Gurpreet would like to purchase a lease of a petrol station in Mt Isa from the current franchisee holder for a period of five years for $120,000 and pay this off over the period. Would this meet 491-SBO requirements?

A: No, it would not. Gurpreet would need to be the 100% owner of the business and direct franchisee to meet requirements. He would also need to invest a minimum of at least $100,000 before submitting an EOI. Investment over a 5 year period would not be acceptable.

Courier Business

Q: Ming would like to purchase a courier business, and the cost of the business is $70,000. The courier van is included separately in the purchase contract as stock at a cost of $40,000. He conducts all of his business from his van. Would this meet 491-SBO pathway requirements?

A: The total investment into the business is $110,000, therefore the minimum investment amount would meet 491-SBO requirements. As all of his business is conducted from his van, he does not need a separate commercial premise and this would not be considered as a ‘home-based business’, therefore this would also meet requirements.

If you need help with assessing your eligibility for a 491 Small Business Owner Visa, contact E help Consultants on 07 3172 4965.

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