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Australia is still open for business

Despite the current financial troubles plaguing the world, the Australian government continues to welcome business migrants who want to move to Australia to estab1201173161413australia-flaglish and operate a new business or purchase and operate an existing business.Migration opportunities also exist for people who wish to invest in Government bonds. Australia’s states and territories are competing in a bid to sponsor business people from around the world in an effort to attract investment and suitable migrants to their cities and towns. At the same time the Australian government has been at pains to stress the importance it places on small business in Australia and has rewarded the sector with significant tax relief. On March 28 2009, the Australian government announced more than AUD720 million (SLR 23 billion) of cash-flow relief and further initiatives to support small business are expected in the May budget.

Although the business world has been pessimistic about the impact of the global financial crisis, Australia has been better positioned than most countries to weather the storm. A survey conducted by the Small Business Development Corporation of small business sentiment in Western Australia has found that “there is more optimism within the small business sector than media reports would have us believe”, SBDC Managing Director Mr Stephen Moir said when the survey was released. This may make it a good time for potential business migrants to consider a move to Australia.

Many business people from around the world have already taken advantage of the opportunities offered under Australia’s business migration programme. A total of 6565 business visas were granted in 2008, a 12.5% increase on the 2007 figure. This is about equal to the number of business visas that can be granted before July 2009 under the recently announced cap. New business visa applications are still being accepted and processed as normal and no limits have been announced for 2010. It is not clear what effect the global downturn will have on demand for these visas and whether the caps for 2009 will have an effect on processing times in the future. There would appear to be little reason for the Australian Government to place significant limits on the number of business visas in the future – business migrants create job opportunities in Australia rather than reduce them.

Historically the Australian business visa programme has attracted mostly small to medium business people who are seeking better opportunities for themselves and their families in Australia. In recent years the program has attracted many applicants from countries such as the PRC, Indonesia and South Africa where there has been some political or economic instability and concern for the future.

Australia’s business visa program is targeted at small business owners and senior managers who have a proven track-record of successful business in their country and who have accumulated wealth through their entrepreneurship, which can be invested in Australia. Successful business applicants need to show that their business has recorded sales of more than AUD$300,000 (LSR 27,000,000) in at least two of the past four fiscal years or that they are a senior manager in a significant business, and that they have at least AUD$250,000 (LSR 22,000,000) in personal and business assets which they are willing and able to transfer to Australia. Business migrants who are over 45 or who do not have a good command of English must be sponsored by a state or territory of Australia.

Despite the global downturn, there are good business opportunities in Australia in many sectors and Australia remains very much open for business. In order to encourage business migrants to establish themselves in their area, some Australian states and territories, including Western Australia, offer incentives and assistance packages to qualifying new migrants and small business owners. Many states and territories offer discounted education for children of business migrants.

A successful business visa applicant will first be granted a temporary visa for four years within which time they must relocate themselves and their families to Australia and establish their business in the sponsoring state. Provided the relevant requirements are satisfied during this time, the person can apply for a permanent visa allowing them and their family to remain in Australia indefinitely. After a time, business visa holder can apply for Australian Citizenship should they want Australian nationality.
If you are thinking about migrating to Australia, the time might be now!

Source  :  www.sundaytimes.lk

 
         
 
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Treasurer Wayne Swan has taken aim at Australia’s biggest home lender, labelling it selfish for lifting its mortgage and business lending rates.  swan_rudd_hand_400

Other banks have refused to rule out following the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s (CBA’s) surprise decision to lift its home and business loan rates by 10 basis points to offset higher funding costs.

The opposition said the government’s huge debt burden was putting pressure on interest rates, while a prominent market economist said it may force the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to cut the official rate again to counter any impact from CBA’s move.

CBA said it took Friday’s decision “reluctantly”, but at a standard variable mortgage rate of 5.74 per cent, up from 5.64 per cent, it was still the lowest on the market.

The rate hike will add $18 a month to repayments on a $300,000 home loan over 25 years.

The bank said it had absorbed as much of its additional funding costs for as long as it could.

“Unfortunately, we have seen the bank’s wholesale funding costs remain high and continue to increase as previous long term funding matures and is replaced with new funding at significantly higher cost,” CBA group executive of retail banking services Ross McEwan said in a statement.

Such reasoning drew no sympathy from the treasurer.

There are ups and downs when it comes to those decisions over time, but there are few decisions I can think of that are more selfish than this one,” Mr Swan told reporters in Brisbane.

“I think Australians, rightly, will be furious with the Commonwealth Bank.”

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd echoed those sentiments during a speech to a business lunch in Brisbane.

“We are all in this together – businesses, workers, government and the Reserve Bank – and today’s decision by the Commonwealth Bank runs counter to this nationwide effort,” Mr Rudd said.

The other three major banks – ANZ, National Australia Bank and Westpac – said their rates were constantly under review.

NAB said it had no current plans to raise its home loan rate but noted “all Australian banks” had been incurring significantly higher funding costs for some time.

Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said the government was putting pressure on interest rates by running up a huge debt.

“Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan feigned outrage about this interest rate increase, yet they are directly responsible for it,” Mr Hockey told reporters in Sydney.

“This is the beginning. You will end up with higher interest rates directly as a result of the spending binge of the Rudd government and the massive debt they are accruing.”

Home buyers may be enjoying the lowest mortgage rates in 41 years, but have already missed out on about 30 to 40 basis points of the RBA’s total 425 basis points of official rate cuts, with banks refusing to pass on the cuts in full because of the cost of funding.

For small businesses it has been even worse, being short changed by about 140 basis points.

The CBA’s decision comes in a week that saw massive boosts to both consumer and business confidence, as well as data showing sustained growth in home lending – sucked in by low mortgage rates and a more generous first home owners grant.

April mortgage data showed loan demand has grown for seven straight months to a 14-month high, as well as record demand from first home buyers and the strongest interest from investors in nearly two years.

It also showed that the banks have cornered more than 92 per cent of all loans – a 33-year high.

Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said CBA’s decision could well be countered by another cut by the RBA.

“If it does have an impact, particularly on confidence in the housing market, which has been the most encouraging source of recovery in the Australian economy, it may bring a rate cut back on the table at the Reserve Bank,” Mr Evans told Sky News

Source  :  www.thedaily.com.au

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Sarah MacPherson, Melville

Sarah has a 19-year-old daughter living at home, and is in the process of starting up a technology-based business.                 single mother
 
What Sarah wanted:
Measures to help vulnerable in society, such as pensioners, carers and single parents;
. Increased taxes on cigarettes and alcopops;
. Stimulus packages for small startup companies;
. Maintenance of the First Homeowners Grant boost;
. Investment in education;
. Dumping of the GST charged on sanitary products.
 What she got:
. Increased pensions – by $32.49 for singles and $10.14 per couple.
. The pension age lifted to 67 between years 2017 and 2023.
. First Homeowners Grant boost to remain until September 2009, but to be halved after that.
. Opening up university places for additional 50,000 students over four years from next financial year.
. $437 million over four years to boost number of disadvantaged students at university.
. A 50 per cent small business tax break for eligible capital expenditure.
Her verdict:
“I suppose the first word that came to mind was ‘predictable’,” Sarah said.
 
“The rise in pension age means many of the battlers will have to battle a little longer.
 
“But if you look at the current global economy, they probably haven’t done too badly – they can’t please everybody”

www.watoday.com.au

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fhog%20imageFirst home buyers now comprise a record proportion of the residential housing market after responding to low interest rates and the government’s revamped assistance package, economists say.

First home buyers made up 27.5 per cent of all home loans in March, a record since the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) began the data series in 1991, and compared with 26.5 per cent of the total market in February.

The ABS data also showed that the housing market has recovered to its February 2008 levels, when interest rates were still being raised by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) before a series of monthly cuts since September to a 49-year low last month.

The number of home loans for owner-occupied housing jumped to a 13-month high of 59,793 in March.

The 4.9 per cent rise in March was even sunnier than economists’ forecasts of a 4.5 per cent increase.

“The housing industry is one of the more interest rate sensitive sectors and its a positive that the response has so far been rapid,” ICAP senior economist Adam Carr said.

“The result clearly ads weight to the argument that the Reserve Bank of Australia has done enough.

“It’s lost on many that other central banks around the world are cutting aggressively to counteract a breakdown in the transmission mechanism. This isn’t the case here.”

Between September and March, the central bank cut official interest rates by 400 basis points to 3.25 per cent in a bid to stimulate a flagging economy.

In early April, the RBA cut the cash rate by a further 25 basis points to a 49-year low of three per cent.

The ABS data found that total housing finance by value rose by 6.7 per cent in March, seasonally adjusted, to $20.688 billion, while loans to investors rose by 4.7 per cent from a year earlier.

“It’s particularly positive that investors are coming back into the market from low levels,” Mr Carr said.

Housing construction rose 13.9 per cent, or 5,565, year on year.

Lending for new dwellings climbed 2,610, or 8.8 per cent, while lending to buy established homes climbed 51,619, or 3.8 per cent, since March last year.

JP Morgan economist Helen Kevans said the boost to the federal government’s first home buyers grant has lifted demand for housing, particularly for new homes.

“As expected, demand for home loans again was underpinned by first home buyers, owing to the attractive grant and improved housing affordability, stemming from lower interest rates and falling house prices,” Ms Kevans said.

“The bigger grant for new building largely explains the solid 8.8 per cent rise in loans issued for the purchase of new dwellings in March.

“In coming months, we believe grants will continue to underpin demand for home loans, particularly during the June quarter given expectations that the expanded grant will end on June 30, as originally planned,” she said.

The government’s first $10.4 billion stimulus package, unveiled in October, doubled the first home buyer grant for established homes to $14,000, and tripled it to $21,000 for newly-constructed dwellings.

There is speculation the grant for brand new housing will be maintained in this year’s budget while the subsidy increase for established homes is scrapped.

Ms Kevans expects the RBA to cut the cash rate by 50 basis points to 2.5 per cent in the second half of 2009.

www.thewest.com.au

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budget 09TONIGHT’S Federal Budget will be about three things – jobs, nation building and a path back to surplus.

That was the message from Treasurer Wayne Swan this morning as he again repeated the Government’s mantra that there would be “difficult decisions” and “no easy answers”.

Just hours from delivering a in Budget ravaged by a $200 billion writedown revenue, Mr Swan said he was working in the “most difficult set of circumstances in 75 years”.

But he dodged questions about the likely impact on Labor in the polls, saying: “What we have to do is the right thing in the nation’s long-term economic interests”.

Wealthy retirees emerged as the latest group to pay the price for that stance today.

The Daily Telegraph reported they could have their pensions cut to help fund a $30-a week increase for almost one million single age pensioners.

The Government is expected to tighten the taper rate on the age pension, a method by which it claws back the welfare payment from retirees with an independent income.

It is just one of a number of cutbacks the Government is expected to outline as it tries to rein in an expected almost $60 billion Budget deficit.

The 30 per cent tax rebate for private health insurance coverage will be means tested, payouts for obstetric and IVF services under the Medicare Safety Net will be cut back and the increase in the first-home owners grant will be wound back.

Wealthy Australians will have their tax break on superannuation contributions cut in half and government superannuation co-contributions for low income earners will be slashed from $1500 to $1000 a year.

The “sin taxes” on alcohol and cigarettes could be increased.

But the Budget will announce an 18-week paid maternity leave scheme.

And it is expected to include a big-spending jobs package to combat an expected increase in unemployment to 8.5 per cent as a result of the global financial crisis.

The Opposition said the Budget cutbacks were made necessary by the Government’s irresponsible big-spending stimulus packages in response to the global financial crisis.

The $30-a-week rise in the pension will go only to single age pensioners and will see the weekly pension rate rise from $284.90 to $315 a week.

It will answer criticism that the payment left in poverty those who relied solely on the pension.

The rise is also expected to be extended to single veterans and disability pensioners but will not go to single mothers.

The pension rise will cost more than $3 billion, and to help pay for it, the Government is expected to tighten means testing of pensions.

Currently, single pensioners can earn up to $41,000 and still receive a small pension payment.

They also qualify for a range of concessions on medicines, council rates, electricity bills and telephone allowances worth up to $10,000 a year.

Couples can earn up to $68,000 and still get access to these valuable concessions.

http://www.news.com.au

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house-in-handsA NATIONAL affordable housing organisation has called on the Federal Government to scrap its first-homeowner grant.

The grant, which was raised from $7000 to $14,000 for existing dwellings and from $14,000 to $21,000 for new homes as part of Labour’s $10.4 billion stimulus package last year, is due to expire on June 30.

The National Shelter has called on Treasurer Wayne Swan to axe the scheme when he hands down his second budget tomorrow, saying it inflates housing prices beyond the value of the grant.

“We’d be in favour of getting rid of all of it,” chief executive Adrian Pisarski told ABC Radio today, adding if the scheme was continued, it should be means-tested.

“That actually targets those lower-income families who really struggle to get into the housing market and doesn’t advantage wealthy families who can support their kids into the market at the cost of those lower income families.”

But the Master Builders Association says the enhanced scheme should be kept as it is, minimising the effects of the global financial crisis.

“We put to the government that … the best bang for the taxpayers’ buck would come from keeping the boost for new housing,” chief executive Wilhelm Harnisch said.

“It does generate new activity, it does generate jobs, it also has the multiply effect into retail, manufacturing and other sectors.”
http://www.news.com.au

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