Happy Chinese New Year – What does the Year of the Snake mean for Australia?

Posted on February 11, 2013 by Emily

On the 10th February 2013, billions of people across China and around the world heralded in the year of the Snake. It has been estimated that over 200 million people travelled to be with their families for the festivities, with Chinese New Year marking one of the largest annual human mass migrations on Earth.

Beijing welcomed one of the world’s most iconic singers, Celine Dion, to perform a song in Mandarin (view the video of her performance here). However, the attention of the world’s media was on what clues the Chinese horoscope was able to reveal. Given the vested interest China’s economic and political development represents to the prosperity and growth of other nations, it is the hope of many that the Year of the Snake will bring good health and wealth to all. “禧!!

What does the Year of the Snake mean for Australia?

The dialogue surrounding Australia’s immigration landscape has recently been inundated with domestic and international interest regarding the implementation of the Significant Investor Scheme. Introduced on the 24th November 2012, the visa allows for substantial concessions in regards to age and English requirements for the purpose of attracting successful business investors. The key provision of this visa is that applicants must invest AUD 5 million in an Australian state or territory government, privately-owned Australian companies or an Australian asset regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission for four years.

Australia presents an attractive environment for investors, not only because of our economic climate. As a politically stable country, our country also boasts a well-developed education and health system not to mention the high standard of living that many Australians enjoy. Consulting management firm, Deloitte, has estimated that the Department will seek to grant around 700 visas under this scheme annually. The introduction of this visa in the international market to attract investors could also not be better timed, with many redirecting investors’ attentions to Australia after Canada halted a similar scheme just six months before.

At present, the Department of Immigration has noted that whilst no visas have been granted under this scheme, the Department has already received 140 expressions of interest for the visa.

There are no controversies or doubt as to the focus of the introduction of this new subclass. Australia’s geographical proximity to burgeoning Asian countries, especially China, has fuelled not only our financial and trade ties with these nations, but has also reinforced our migration linkages. According to the Wall Street Journal, in the last financial year, Chinese citizens invested US$25 billion in foreign markets. This equates to 3% of the country’s overall economic output for the 2011-2012 financial year.

The Significant Investor Visa is seeking to build on the strong social foundations that have been laid through the popularity of Australia’s higher education system with many potential Asian students. Chinese students especially have been able to augment and sustain the important international education industry, which constitutes Australia’s third largest export. The increasing links that the Federal Government is actively encouraging is likely to herald in a new era in how Australia positions its economic attention and continue to redefine the nation’s social fabric.

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(Courtesy of news.com.au)