Moving and Starting A Business In Australia

The prevailing economic climate makes Australia an attractive business destination. You can own a business in Australia as a non citizen by buying one or starting your own. This article summarizes the various considerations for expat entrepreneurs aspiring for Australia.


Foreign entrepreneurs first have to go through the Australian immigration process. The ‘SkillSelect’ program is a subset of Australia’s highly systematic immigration process. The relevant category within SkillSelect is the ‘Business Innovation and Investment Visa’, which further has multiple subclasses. The government of each state or territory in Australia has a different list of business sectors they want to encourage based on their economic needs.

Entrepreneurs usually submit an expression of interest (EOI) to the relevant regional government. If they like your EOI they are likely to invite you to apply for an investor visa along with supporting documents. Entrepreneurs have to primarily show proof of experience and/or aptitude for running a business, as well as of possessing sufficient funds to invest. A detailed list of requirements is available at the Aussie immigration website The Australian government is currently encouraging the immigration of business starters particularly in the low growth areas of the country. To that end the Australian Department of Home Affairs and the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) additionally provide a list of registered migration agents to help with the sometimes complex processes related to such a transition.

Registering a business

Before you can start operating as a business you will be required to register a business name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). You will also ideally choose one of the common business structures, which are sole trader, partnership and joint venture. Alternatively you can start a company as a separate legal entity, in which case you will register your company (not business name) name with ASIC and be subject to all the provisions of the Corporations Act 2001. You will need to get an Australian Business Number (ABN) provided by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), and register with the Australian Business Register (ABR). A private service provider recognized by the ASIC can assist you with this process, usually for a fee. Many expat entrepreneurs opt for the services of such agents, even though ASIC provides comprehensive information on how to register your company on their website.

Running your business

During the course of business activities you will be required to maintain up-to-date books and ledgers as per your business or company structure. You will be expected to comply with the responsibilities and obligations as a company director or office holder as outlined by the ASIC. You also must keep your company’s information updated with the ASIC in case of any changes, such as a change in address, the replacement of an office holder or changes to your company’s shareholding structure. You will be asked to renew your business registration annually for which you will have to pay the applicable fee. You will be expected to review an annual statement and pass a solvency resolution each year. Your business will be subject to taxes based on your registration category, profitability and other factors. It is important when running your own business in Australia to be legally compliant. In case you want to send money from Australia to your home country you will need to do so in a legal and compliant manner. Hiring legal professionals locally for your business is highly recommended.

The business environment

Australia currently boasts a great business environment. It ranks among the top 20 countries worldwide in terms of per capita GDP (PPP). More importantly Australia has one of the lowest rates of poverty as a consequence of a comparatively even distribution of wealth. Most of the country’s cities rank high on the livability index. The Australian economy is characterized as stable. For the past 15 years the economic growth rate in Australia has consistently been higher than the OECD average.

Additional notes

Running a successful business requires a strong network of clients, suppliers and facilitators. On top of that you may need to hire skilled employees and keep them motivated. All of this comes easier when you know the lay of the land. People who spend a few years living and networking in Australia (as students or professionals) before starting their businesses are known to fare better. Having close friends living in Australia or working with someone before initiating your own venture also helps.

About the author:

Hemant G is a freelance contributing writer at Sparkwebs LLC, a Digital and Mobile Marketing Agency in Denver, CO. He holds a masters degree in management and has several years of management experience. In addition to his home country India, Hemant has lived in Latvia, Germany and Singapore. He is a CELTA certified English trainer and a PADI Dive Master. Hemant cares deeply about marine ecological conservation and volunteers to support this cause. He regularly makes time to enjoy outdoor sports, travel, cooking and solving puzzles.

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