How to start a business in Australia 2019

Australia remains one of the most popular expatriate locations for British professionals. The tantalising promise of a better work/life balance and year-round sunshine, coupled with familiarity in language, community and business culture, makes moving to Australia an appealing venture.
With over a million British expatriates already living in the country, there is a wealth of experience and knowledge to tap into when researching the country before your relocation.
While many expatriates will move Down Under with a firm job offer in place, Australia is emerging as a global hub for start-ups, business expansions and entrepreneurial endeavours.
According to, “in less than 10 years, Australia’s technology start-up sector has developed from a neglected branch with very little activity to a blast of people and investment.” It’s no wonder that British professionals are exploring the opportunities of starting a business in Australia in 2019.
The research via states that 12.2% of the current population are involved in business start-ups in Australia, with over 300,000 new business entries at the time of publication (article in dated January 2019). It also says that the most popular industry for start-ups in the country is financial technology, aka ‘fintech’.
The simple portmanteau refers to services and products that help to improve activity in finance, replacing more traditional methods. In recent years, the boom in mobile banking, mobile investment services and cryptocurrency are evidence of the sector’s success.
Other industries that have benefited from start-ups include telecommunications, information technology and tourism. It’s also worth looking at the country’s current skills shortage, which can indicate the areas where start-ups may have a measure of improved success.

Advantages of starting a business in Australia

There are clear advantages for British professionals when it comes to starting a business in Australia. On a practical level, there is no language barrier to overcome or a new business culture to navigate. Australian operations are directly comparable to the UK, Europe and the USA for the most part.
Then there is the fact that the country is actively encouraging new business, diversifying its economy and investments away from the country’s more traditional interests, such as tourism and mining. The economy is strong and relatively robust – Australia has the seventh largest foreign exchange market in the world, and it is one of the richest developed countries.
Location is also a key factor in the popularity of Australia as a new business destination. It sits in a hotspot that offers links between the West and the East, with its cultural ties to the UK and Europe, but its close proximity to Asia-Pacific territories.
There are normally two key avenues that existing business professionals take when establishing a new business in Australia, which is to either establish an Australian subsidiary company or to establish a new branch office of an existing business to deal with Australian operations. Others may start from scratch with a new endeavour, targeted towards the Australian market, or there are opportunities to acquire new businesses in the country through a buyer’s agent.
Considerations will need to be made for business registration, taxation, incorporation and insurance. While these processes are not dissimilar to the UK, it is worth involving an Australian business professional to help you navigate the landscape as an expatriate. As each Australian state or territory has its own offices for business registration, you will be required to register your new business in all states or territories you wish to operate in.

Getting the right visa

Part the process of setting up a new business in Australia as an expatriate is ensuring that you have the right visa. The Australian Department of Industry has a lot of good advice to help guide foreign investors with relevant start-ups. For those who are not Australian citizens or don’t hold permanent resident status, there are dedicated business visas for your consideration.
One of these is the provisional Business Innovation and Investment visa, which is issued by the Department of Home Affairs. There are a number of different streams via which you can apply for this visa, which is created to enable foreign business professionals to “own and manage a business in Australia, conduct business and investment activity in Australia or undertake an entrepreneurial activity in Australia.”
The different streams available to you and your business depend on your level of financial investment in the country. The standard Business Innovation stream is aimed at those with business skills who wish to operate a new or existing business in Australia. The Investor stream requires a minimum investment of AUD 1.5 million into an Australian state or territory, and the Significant Investor stream requires at least AUD 5 million in significant investments in Australia. These provisional visas are valid for a stay of up to 4 years 3 months, but there are extensions available to continue to establish your operations.
The Entrepreneur stream is for those who have a funding agreement with a third-party to carry out entrepreneurial activity in the country. For all visas, you will require a nomination by an Australian state or territory government agency, and some of the visas have far more stringent criteria to navigate.
Processing times will vary for these visas, given that they are granted based on individual merit. You should allow for a minimum fee of AUD 5,375 for the visa to be processed. Once you have obtained a provisional Business Innovation and Investment visa, there are further options to apply for a permanent visa for your business operations once they have been proven successful.
These visas can be complex, with a lot of rules and regulations. It is certainly worth seeking the advice of a skilled Australian migration lawyer to help plan a strategy for visa application and success.
If you’re moving to Australia in 2019 to start a new business, be sure to get in touch with us at Cadogan Tate to see how we can help pack and ship your business essentials and personal belongings to Australia.