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Starting a business in Australia


With a booming economy providing lots of opportunity for businesses across sectors, there are thousands of people that move to Australia each year to start a business. If this is something you are considering? Here is what you need to know.


The process of starting a business in Australia differs depending on residency status, and obtaining professional legal and accounting advice is always recommended. Non-residents need to apply for a visa that allows the creation of a business and to ensure all legal and government requirements are met. 
Starting a business as a foreigner
If you are thinking about migrating from the UK and starting a business in Australia, and are not an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you will need to consider your visa options before starting a business. Here we will outline the two main types of business visas that you may be eligible for.
Business Innovation and Investment Visa
There are five strains of the Business Innovation and Investment Visa: The business innovation stream, the investor stream, the significant investor stream, premium investment stream and the entrepreneur stream. The Australian Government’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection website outlines each stream in detail. To apply for this visa an expression of interest must be submitted which may then be nominated by the government or Austrade. If the expression of interest is approved, applicants are able to formally apply for the provisional visa. 
If the application is approved, applicants may establish a new or develop an existing business, make investments in Australian business or undergo entrepreneurial activities. Applicants may travel in and out of Australia for the duration of their visa, bring family members with them and seek permanent residency. The visa is available for four years and extensions can be applied for. 
If you are seriously thinking about moving to Australia, click here for tickets to Australia Emigration Essentials, in London, 19th January, or call 020 3582 4122 
Business Talent Visa
The Business Talent Visa is another option and is available to people who wish to establish a new, or develop an existing business in Australia. This is a permanent visa and applicants must be able to prove they have net businesses and personal assets of £892,000 and an annual business turnover of £1.7 million (Significant Business History Stream) or have obtained at least £594,989 in venture capital funding with the intention of starting a high-value business in Australia (Venture Capital Entrepreneur Stream). An expression of interest is needed to apply for this visa, and applicants can be inside or outside of Australia when the application is submitted and decided upon. 
Each state has initiatives and activities to encourage certain business professionals in specific industries. Business migrants applying to start businesses in regional and rural areas are being encouraged. For details about regional opportunities for migrants check out the Fact Sheet on Business Migration.
Once a valid Visa is obtained migrants can proceed in setting up a business in the same manner as Australian citizens and permanent residents by following the ten steps below.
Each state has initiatives and activities to encourage certain business professionals in specific industries.
(Exchange rate as of 5th January 2017, 1AUD=.59GBP, Smart Currency Exchange)
The steps to starting a business in Australia
Here is a ten-step process for starting a business in Australia, the Australian Government Business website details each of these stages. In summary:
1. Choose a business structure and type. First you will need to choose your business structure. There are four commonly used structures: Sole Trader, Company, Partnership and Trust. You will need to research which structure suits your business needs best. Professional legal advice is recommended.
2. Apply for an Australian Business Number (ABN). Your ABN is a unique 11-digit number that identifies your business to the government. This can be applied for online and is used for tax and other various purposes.
3. Register your business name and trademark. Registering a business name allows use for commercial and marketing purposes. For exclusive rights to use a particular business name a trademark will need to be registered. 
4. Register a website name. Registering a web domain is an important step in setting up a business whether the business is to operate online or not.
5. Register for taxes. The taxes which your business registers for depends on the business structure and type of trading. Professional tax advice is suggested when setting up a business.
6. Register for licenses to start a business. It is important to understand the legal requirements pertaining to licenses, contracts, leases etc. that surround your business and industry.
7. Register for an Australian Business Account. An Australian Business Account is an online account which helps business owners organize their government-related licenses, permits and registrations.
8. Buy or lease business premises (if applicable). Consulting with an accountant or solicitor can assist in deciding what type of business premise to use and whether to buy or lease.
9. Arrange insurances for business. Business insurance varies depending on the type of insurance and the number of employees. Assets may also need to be insured, although this is not compulsory. Consulting with an insurance advisor is recommended. 
10. Find out any specifics pertaining to your product or services. Specific legislation such as import and export legislation, fair trade, franchise law, product and packaging requirements plus many more should be researched and legal advice should be sought.
Need any further advice about moving and settling in Australia to start a business? The Australia Buying Guide is your number one source of information for Britons wishing to move and settle abroad in the Land Down Under.