Home Business Owning an Onshore Business in Australia

Owning an Onshore Business in Australia

Want to further your business prospects and commercial prosperity in a stable economy? Why not bring your business to Australia? With a thriving business sector and growing opportunities for new ventures and investment, choosing to build your enterprise in Australia is a smart choice.

What visas restrictions apply?

You can open any kind of business in Australia, as long as you hold a valid visa to do so (i.e. a visa without restrictions). Having a temporary visa status can place limitations on your ability to meet the basic requirements for starting up a legal business in Australia.

These requirements generally include the ability to:

  • Register for a Tax File Number (TFN)
  • Register for an Australian Business Number (ABN)
  • Obtain finances (such as a business loan from a bank)
  • Obtain a lease for business premises (if applicable)
  • Obtain adequate insurance and/or other business registrations and licenses.

For more information on how to get an enterprise off the ground in Australia, visit Plan & Start, a government resource for potential business owners. Working with a migration agent like Results Migration can also help simplify the process of starting an onshore business.

Different rules and licences may apply depending on your visa, the industry you’d like to venture into, and your ability to gain finances. All budding international entrepreneurs must also remember that only investments not contrary to Australia’s national interests will be permitted.

How do I go about owning a business in Australia?

There are several pathways to owning a business in Australia. With the right visa, you may qualify for any of the following options:

A shareholder (or member):

In simple terms, a shareholder or member is a person who buys and holds shares within a company. To become a shareholder or member, your name must be registered with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). You must also be considered an entity that can own property.

Shareholders and members tend to be less involved in the financial side of things, and usually aren’t liable for any debts the company accrues. However, they’re still subject to Australian tax law. Before becoming a shareholder or member, it’s worth seeking professional advice about your tax obligations.

As a business owner or company director

Directors are responsible for the management of a company’s day-to-day business activities. Previously, a person on a 457 (temporary) visa, or a 186/187 (permanent) visa, were able to “self-sponsor” by opening a small business. However, this loophole of “self-sponsoring” was often exploited, and is no longer viable.

Temporary residents and foreign citizens can still be a director of an Australian company, but their ability to do so depends on:

  • The type of company the individual intends to be the director of. Most companies can be divided into two categories – proprietary and public. Proprietary companies require a minimum of one company director who lives in Australia. Public companies need at least three directors (two of whom must live in Australia).
  • Their bility to determine ordinary resident status. Generally speaking, ordinary residence can be shown if a person is able to prove they live permanently in Australia.

But what does this all mean?

It means you have a lot of flexibility when it comes to starting an onshore business in Australia! Whether you’re aiming to open a proprietary or public company, starting on onshore venture in Australia can open up a world of opportunities. Just make sure you have the right visa before taking the first steps towards business ownership.