New Investment Fund Targets Chinese Applying for Australian Visas

November 15, 2012

An affiliate of Goldman Sachs Group Inc has launched a new investment fund that will tap into the boom in applications from Chinese seeking to relocate to countries like Australia, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

Due to economic slowdown and uncertainty over China's new leadership, there has been a surge in the number of Chinese applying for foreign passports or residency. Much of this increase is due to businesspeople and politicians wanting to protect their families and assets.

Families who will invest at least A$5 million in Australian assets may qualify for residency under a program called the Significant Investor Visa.

The Chinese head the list for the largest number of applications for programs that result in permanent residency in exchange for investments. In Australia, the number of Chinese immigrants was 29,547 in the 12 months prior to June 2011, exceeding Britons for the first time.

The Australian Capital Investment Fund administered by JB Were, the Australian private banking affiliate of Goldman Sachs, has already drawn A$500 million from 100 clients.

The fund, capped at A$3 billion and representing a maximum of 600 Australian visas, is not sanctioned by the Australian government. It is intended to ease the difficulty of applying directly for a visa and, in turn, JB Were will earn a performance fee on its investments.

Baker & McKenzie and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, the fund's partners, will handle any legal issues and will aid the investors applying for the visa. Deloitte expects that up to 700 of these residency visas will be issued annually.

JB Were Executive Director Kenny Ng said that the fund is aimed at prospective investors from mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

"Previously, Asian migrants would need to open small businesses like news agents, restaurants and laundromats [to get residency], but the Significant Investor Visa means the true entrepreneurs can take their time in moving their successful businesses to Australia," Mr. Ng said.