Australia is an ideal country in which to undertake business or investment activities and offers many advantages to prospective business and investment visa applicants seeking to utilise their entrepreneurial skills and capital. Australia provides a wealth of opportunities and offers international investors a low-risk and cost-effective business environment, particularly in traditional sectors such as mining, finance agriculture, property and construction. Australia also has a bilateral agreement with the countries of Southeast Asia, a regional considered to be one of the fastest-growing global economies, a factor in further evidence of Australia’s appeal as a destination for business and investment visa applicants.
The Australian Workforce
Establishing and operating a business in Australia would provide business visa applicants with access to a diversely skilled and talented local workforce, allowing applicants to enjoy the benefit of our cognitive diversity and expertise. Australia is comprised of a highly educated and multicultural workforce with an economic propensity for entrepreneurship. The country is currently ranked 5th in the world for global entrepreneurship with innovation deemed as critical for Australia’s future, as emphasised by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. The Australian Government is a catalyst for innovation and ranks in the global top 10 in total expenditure on research and development. Australia is a highly skilled nation in which over 40% of the workforce has a tertiary qualification. The intellectual capital and innovative focus make the country an ideal location for business and investment activities with the potential to be recognised as a global leader in the future.
Government Support for Australian Business
The support of the Australian Government for local business and the national workforce was particularly evident in its attempt to mitigate the economic damaged caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Federal Government demonstrated its commitment to supporting small and medium-sized enterprises by introducing a range of stimulus and relief packages designed to sustain businesses and retain employment.
The government announced a $130 billion JobKeeper payment package devised to support eligible businesses in their ability to retain and remunerate eligible employees. Those eligible may claim a fortnightly payment of $1500 per eligible employee for a period of 6 months, including employees who have been stood-down or re-hired. The projected cost of $130 billion exemplifies Australia’s extraordinary commitment to its workers and establishes the country’s value towards business and employment, particularly given the short timeframe in which it was enacted.
Temporary Relief for Australian Business Owners
The Government has further introduced temporary relief for financially distressed businesses by hindering the ability of creditors to pursue legal action against businesses and forcing them into insolvency. The monetary threshold at which a creditor may issue a statutory demand has been temporarily increased including the timeframe in which a company has to respond. This includes temporary relief for company directors and extends to personal liability incurred while trading insolvent. The basis for such relief is that the government is determined to ensure that companies continue to trade even during this period of uncertainty and aims to relieve directors of the pressure to trade while insolvent. This demonstrates the Government’s intention to protect businesses from unforeseen events arising from the Covid-19 pandemic and exemplify to prospective business and investment visa applicants the country’s commitment to providing tailored solutions for Australian business owners.
Tax Relief for Australian Businesses
Businesses have also benefited from a number of tax relief measures designed to assist companies with cash flow management and retaining staff. In Queensland, for example, businesses that are registered for payroll tax may defer the remainder of their 2019/2020 financial year payroll tax obligations until 31 July 2020. SMEs required to report GST quarterly may transition to monthly reporting to allow faster access to any GST refunds to which the business may be entitled. Eligible businesses may further be able to vary their PAYG instalment amounts due to the effects of Covid-19 without incurring a penalty or interest charge. The Australian Tax Office is allowing businesses to make multiple variations to their PAYG instalment amounts throughout the year without incurring any penalty or interest charge for excessive variation.
Relief for Commercial Tenants
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) adversely affected by the pandemic may also be eligible for relief in relation to their commercial tenancies which may include a relaxation of the tenancy obligations or a temporary reduction in rent. A temporary hold on evictions for SMEs has been implemented with the introduction of a mandatory code of conduct for commercial tenancies to establish principles of good faith in support these affected businesses. Those unable to meet their rental commitments due to financial hardship are therefore protected from eviction and further demonstrates the country’s position towards business and its appeal for potential business and investment visa applicants.
There are a variety of reasons as to why Australia is a prime destination for business and investment and would prove to be an advantageous location for prospective business and investment visa applicants. In particular, the commitment of the Australian Government in supporting SMEs and the national workforce during the Covid-19 pandemic is a compelling factor and exemplifies the availability of governmental support during periods of unforeseen hardship. Combined with Australia’s well-regulated commercial environment, diversely skilled and multicultural workforce and political stability, Australia remains an ideal opportunity and dynamic destination for business and investment visa applicants.
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