Opportunity beckons with visa Down Under
Published 29/12/2011 | 05:00
AS more people leave our shores to secure employment opportunities abroad, the age of these emigrants is changing.
Where travelling to Australia and New Zealand was once the remit of 20-something graduates, more and more older professionals are heading off with families in tow.
So it should come as good news to these older workers that hundreds of Australian and New Zealand franchises are available to Irish business owners who have money to invest and a desire to set up their own business overseas.
We have recently noticed an increase in the number of business owners and senior managers from different Irish industry sectors who are looking abroad to restart their business careers.
We have seen enquiries from a variety of industry sectors, including food service, print and design, and finance. Many cannot make ends meet here.
When it costs you money just to keep your shop doors open, at some point you have to face facts and close them.
However, this is not all bad news, as these managers are now bringing their skills to Australia and New Zealand where their investment and experience are welcomed by a busy workforce there.
When considering the move to purchase a franchise, or set up a branch of your company overseas, there are a few visa options and each visa has certain criteria that need to be meet.
An overseas business sponsorship will allow your business to send key personnel abroad to set up a branch office or engage in contracts with an Australian business. You will eventually need an Australian director to set up your Proprietary Limited Company (PTY) company once you are up and running.
The Australian business visa is for business owners and senior managers under the age of 55 years who want to purchase a franchise or who want to set up their business in Australia themselves.
Dependents can be included on the application and the visa is valid for an initial period of four years. This gives the business owner the opportunity to get the business up and running in Australia.
Once the business is established and it can be shown that it is benefiting the Australian economy, the business owner and his or her family have the opportunity to apply for permanent residence to live in Australia indefinitely. This visa allows people to set up their own PTY company.
There are primary considerations that have to be factored into account when buying into a franchise or establishing a business.
Firstly, you must consider your prior business experience. Have you successfully ran a business previously? The provisional business visa for Australia requires two years' recent financials for your previous business with a turnover of at least AUD $300,000 (about €230,000).
Ask yourself whether or not you have sufficient funds to invest? Buying a franchise will depend on the industry that you are buying into.
Licence investment fees vary from $20,000 up to $500,000 depending on the industry sector.
The other key visa requirement is that you have access to a minimum amount of funds to invest in your business (franchise licence investment fees are included in this amount).
The funding requirement starts at $500,000 (circa €380,000) You just need to demonstrate that you can transfer this money over a two-year period if needed.
We would always advise people to spend quite some time on a business plan. You need to make sure you have done your research as to what franchise you want to buy into or what business you want to establish before launching into a visa application.
Some of this will depend on the particular area of Australia that you want to move to and whether or not there is a demand for your product or service.
Consider how you will target your customers. In the case of a franchise, the brand may already be known to the public so attracting customers may be easier than if you are a new company.
For a new business venture, local advertising, making links with the local enterprise boards and networking are popular ways to promote your business and secure clients.
Analysis of the market needs to be undertaken also to ascertain who your main competitors are; what they offer and how competitive they are relative to your expected business.
To this end you need to consider how your business will differ. What is it that makes your business unique compared to existing businesses -- new product/service offering, competitive price point, excellent service offering.
Put some thoughts into what costs can be anticipated for you and for the business -- leasing premises, staff costs, raw materials, settlement costs for the family.
A franchise licence will offer you training and marketing support and offer favourable yearly incomes. In addition they advise on the working week that you need to complete to achieve these earnings.
Relocating and starting a new business at the same time can be a daunting prospect, but with little opportunities closer to home, it's an option that more and more people are seeing as feasible and logical.
For those that make the move it is easy to understand why they believe relocating may hold a more prosperous future for themselves and their family given that Australia is ranked within the top 20 largest economies in the world.
Australia's economy has grown year on year by an average of 3pc since the 1990s.
Edwina Shanahan is an emigration expert who works for www.visafirst.com