The Australian Government announced sweeping changes to the Business Skills Program on 25 May 2012. The existing Business Skills Program was introduced in 2003 and the changes are in response to a 2011 review of the Program, which assessed its suitability in the post-
GFC business environment. These changes will come into effect on 1 July 2012, along with the significant reforms of the independent skilled and employer-sponsored skilled migration program.
The new Program will be called the “Business Innovation & Investment Program” and aims to directly create new businesses, as visa holders become business owners. This Program is not aimed at providing skilled labour for Australian businesses experiencing or at risk of skills shortages – this is the role of the general skilled migration and employer sponsored migration programs. By increasing entrepreneurial talent and business expertise in Australia, the Government plans to increase business activity, innovation and employment opportunities.