Australia lures Chinese millionaires relaxing visa rules
Australia lures Chinese millionaires by relaxing visa rulesLucas Jackson/Reuters

Australia has eased the immigration rules for Chinese millionaires who invest in the country by expanding its investor visa scheme.

In a bid to boost the investment options, the Australian authorities have introduced quicker visa approvals and leverages to the Asian millionaires under the Significant Investor visa (SIV) scheme.

"The government will reform the programme to encourage more high net-worth individuals to make Australia home," Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a statement.

He added that the latest changes would "leverage and better direct additional foreign investment, while maintaining safeguards to ensure the migration program is not misused".

Under the programme, the foreign nationals who invest more than £2.7m ($4.4m) would be offered a residency in Australia. There will also be a "greater flexibility" in checking the English-proficiency and skill requirements during the visa application process.

The SIV visa programme was originally introduced in 2012 and since then, more than 90% of applicants were Chinese nationals.

"The 457 [visa] programme must be a means of filling genuine skills gaps in the local labour market while not placing unnecessary administrative burdens on business," Abbott said.

About £1.2bn has been raised since the programme was launched.

Immigration experts are sceptical whether this latest move will attract a large number of investors.