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Westpac Pools Resources To Create Special Visa Service For Foreign HNWIs

Vanessa Doctor Asia Correspondent 31 October 2013

Westpac Pools Resources To Create Special Visa Service For Foreign HNWIs

Westpac, the Australian bank, has pooled resources from two of its divisions to launch a new significant investor visa service that helps foreign high net worth individuals obtain better opportunities in Australia.

The SIV, taken from the bank's migrant banking and BT Financial units, allows foreigners to invest A$5 million ($4.8 million) into qualifying projects for a minimum of four years before being eligible to apply for permanent residency. The service includes a migrant banking team of specialists, a private banker service and a number of related private wealth solutions. The federal government introduced the SIV concept in 2012 with the goal to increase local investment.

"In addition to facilitating the visa application, we provide access to business partners to help migrants with other key lifestyle needs, such as relocation, employment, schooling and medical services," said Jenny West, head of migrant banking, in a statement. 

The move is part of a global trend of certain jurisdictions, such as the UK, in rolling out special visa services aimed at high net worth individuals, offering residency rights in return for investment and business development.

According to Westpac, there were around 305 applications being processed by Australian immigration as at 30 June 2013, each expected to take six to nine months to process. Most of these applications were by a Chinese nationals. 


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