Australia's Most Business-Friendly Foreign Missions - GloMo

Australia’s Most Business-Friendly Foreign Missions

Have you ever imagined your Australian products being consumed on the banks of the Seine?

Have you developed a technology that you just know would change the way business is done in the Pacific Islands?

Or perhaps you are a Chinese business, looking to deploy staff in an Australian subsidiary?

Vision Meets Execution

Doing business at home is hard enough. Expanding that business offshore even more so. 

You might have the best product or service in the world – but how does the world know that? 

The answer to marrying your vision with its successful execution might very well be a foreign mission.

So, Where Do You Start?

With a million questions, right?

Establishing a business overseas can be fraught with seemingly endless barriers: burdensome tax implications, the difficulties of engaging a local workforce, complex customs and immigration regulations, and all manner of spectacularly joyless bureaucracy.

If you are a foreign business looking to deploy in Australia or an Australian business looking to trade offshore, you might – or should – have wondered:

  • what do I need to do first to expand overseas?
  • how do I find or deploy staff, so I can hit the ground running?
  • how am I supposed to promote my offshore business?
  • do I need to apply for a business visa?
  • what are the tax implications if I expand my business internationally?
  • are there any regulations I need to be aware of in relation to my products?

For every such question there is an answer – you just need to know who to ask.

So before you get on that plane to open the doors of the Maldives branch of your business, take a moment to consider the one of the most valuable resources available to you right here in Australia: foreign missions.

So, What Exactly is a “Foreign Mission”?

Think of foreign embassies, consulates and trade commissions – while every country has a different approach, foreign missions are essentially organisations operating in Australia that promote trade and commerce between Australia and their home countries.

The Australian equivalent is Austrade, which operates missions out of Australian embassies, consulates and high commission around the world.  

Foreign missions are typically known for:

  • providing information about medical, education, and legal services in a foreign country
  • helping with notary and document legalisation functions
  • issuing or advising on passports and visas
  • fighting international crime
  • exchanging cultural information
  • engaging in diplomacy

Foreign missions aren’t just there to help people who are stranded in strange lands or who have accidentally left their passports in the back of a taxi. Foreign missions offer practical advice in respect of all types of international commerce. For example, they can help your business with:

  • events for networking
  • setting up trade fairs for specific industries
  • consulting services
  • recruiting local experts and engaging local partners
  • guiding you on legal and regulatory procedures
  • assistance with immigration requirements or referring you to qualified immigration lawyers, migration agents or immigration agents
  • referrals to other partners to help to establish your business in the best way from the outset

Pretty useful, right?  Emissaries dedicated to helping you do business with their compatriots, ready and able to do everything they can to get you and your business moving.

The Quest for Australia’s Most Business-Friendly Foreign Missions

We set out to interview every foreign mission in Australia – about 200 embassies, consulates and trade commissions. Turns out, some were what we might call “business-friendly”, and others…well…less so.

Our Criteria

So which are the most business-friendly foreign missions in Australia? And by what criteria did we determine if a foreign mission was “business-friendly” or not?

The foreign missions that made our list are staffed by people who are passionate about their country’s role and reputation in international trade. Others, as is true of public service around the world, seemed like they were more or less just doing a job.

First, we looked at whether the mission responded to attempts to communicate with them. Most did, but a significant minority did not. This narrowed down the pool.

For those who did respond, we considered whether they have active strategies to help their nationals set up business in Australia and, conversely, whether they offer any assistance to Australians who are looking to invest or deploy in their countries.

We also looked at how hard it is to set up a business in their country, including the difficulty of getting the right kind of visa, usually a short stay type business visa, allowing for things like meetings and contract negotiations.

Fifty Shades of Business-Friendly

It should be noted that the foreign missions who made our list, are all business-friendly in their own unique ways. All have different structures and serve different functions, as unique and variable as the countries they represent.

Some are commercial diplomatic networks which function independently of the political arm. Others are inherently linked with their Ambassador. Most are publicly funded, but a few, for example Austria’s Trade Commission, are commercially funded.

Some foreign missions represent their entire country, while others represent specific regions of their country, as is the case with Belgium’s Trade and Investment Commissions.

Some foreign missions focus their efforts on helping individuals and companies, whereas others concentrate on facilitating dialogue between countries to secure advantages for their nationals. The Polish Embassy, for instance, is working to improve Australian regulations on windows to increase their quality and thereby allow Polish producers to compete in our market.  

The Austrian Trade Commission gave the example of an Australian IT security company based in Canberra who felt they were outgrowing the Australian market but were not sure where to expand. They approached the Austrian Trade Commission, which provided market and regulatory information and guided the company through all the steps required to access the Austrian market and establish an office in Vienna. With their assistance, the Australian company quickly identified the necessary local expertise and have made a successful entry into the European market.

Some Common Themes

Beyond our basic criteria, we found that while there is no one way to exhaustively define what makes a mission “business-friendly”, there are a few things the “business-friendly” ones have in common:

  1. They are devoted to their stakeholders and willing to engage with them on a personal level.
  2. They are comprehensive in their services, going above and beyond to simplify the establishment of an offshore business or the process of trading overseas.
  3. Finally, and most importantly, they are accessible. After all, what good is a great network if it can’t be accessed?

Foreign Missions & Immigration

The consulates, embassies and trade commissions we interviewed all had varying degrees of involvement with immigration. Most were able to help Australians obtain business visas to their countries, or at the very least point applicants to an online process.

Australians are particularly well-positioned for business travel, with most countries (including all of Europe) allowing Australian citizens to stay for up to three months without a visa, and with permission to conduct the initial tasks required to start a business (such as networking or looking for partners).

Some foreign missions can also offer detailed guidance to their own citizens in relation to Australia’s complicated immigration system.

All of the business-friendly organisations, while having their own ways of dealing with visa queries, recognised this as an important part of assisting with business queries. 

Open for Business vs Out of Business

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott was fond of stating, “Australia is open for business”. Whatever you think of Tony, he made an important point: irrespective of how receptive a country thinks it is to international business, if it is not perceived as friendly, it might as well be closed.

Establishing a business overseas or securing foreign investment, no matter how large, can be a high stakes game.  There are potentially significant benefits for workers, corporations and entire nations. There are also, however, significant risks.

A foreign mission is often a business’s first point of call – and that experience can make or break a decision whether or not to invest.

So, if you’re thinking about expanding overseas, contact a foreign mission. They’re there to help.

Below we have set out the foreign missions we have found to be the most business-friendly foreign missions in Australia.

The 15 Most Business-Friendly Foreign Missions in Australia

Advantage Austria

Advantage Austria is Austria’s diplomatic network devoted to promoting international business relations and trade for Austria. It is funded by the companies which benefit from the services it provides, yet is anchored in the Austrian constitution and acts under the supervision of the Minister of Economic Affairs.

According to Austrian law and under the supervision of the Ministry of Economic Affirs, Advantage Austria is organized and managed by the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and funded by mandatory membership fees of roughly 450.000 Austrian companies. So the system is organized and funded by the business community itself.

As noted by Karl Hartleb, Consul General NSW & Trade Commissioner for Australia and New Zealand: ‘The Austrian companies have actually paid for our services, meaning that there is a lot of clarity surrounding the services we do or should provide. We meet with the companies one on one to ensure there are less hurdles for them to set up business in Australia.’

Criteria Comments
Initiatives for Austrian
businesses to deploy to
Australia
Advantage Austria puts Austrian
companies in contact with local
partners including importers and
distributors and provides key
information on entering the
Australian market.
Initiatives for Australian
business to operate in Austria
Advantage Austria provides
information on investments in
Austria, market information and
regulatory requirements, and
supplies connections with experts in Austria.
Why Austria is an attractive
country to do business
Vienna has a lot of technical
expertise, and a comparatively
smaller, well-structured network
which makes it easier to find
partners compared to other
European cities. It is well-respected for technology expertise, has good
connections to Russia and access to the European market.
How easy is it to get a business
visa to Austria
Easy. Australians don’t require a
visa for many aspects of running a business in Austria, such as
finding a distributor or locating
contacts if they choose to remain in the country for 90 days or less;
however, if they choose to start
running a company in Austria the will require a visa. Advantage
Austria will put Australians in
contact with the embassy who
assists them through this process.
Visa function to AustraliaAdvantage Austria provides a
publishes a summary of Australian
migration legislation.

Belgium – Flanders Investment and Trade Commission

Belgium does things a little differently, in that it has set up three separate trade and investment commissions to represent the three regions of Belgium, being Brussels, Flanders and Berunia.

Luca Botello, Trade Commissioner for Australia and New Zealand, emphasises that FIT takes into account the relevant political situation that may affect trade and investment. He notes that ‘We understand the importance of the European Union and Australia negotiating a free trade agreement and the fact that this can raise clear question marks. It is our role to ease the restrictions currently in place until the agreement has been completed.’

He further remarks: ‘another challenge will be for Australian companies to adjust to a Europe post-Brexit. There are hundreds of Australian companies operating in the United Kingdom; some of them are Brexit-ready but many are not. The biggest risks will be moving capital and maintaining confidentiality. This has caused an increase of interest of Australian companies to begin operating in continental Europe and Belgium.’

Criteria Comments
Initiatives for Flemish businesses to deploy to Australia FIT provides free of charge trade assistance to Flemish companies by supplying market information including potential buyers or importers, advising on regulations, standards, and required licences according to the individual requirements of the business. FIT also prepares a list of buyers and summary of the business environment including trends, the local economy and the major players in a given industry.
Initiatives for Australian business to operate in Flanders, Belgium FIT can recommend the details of entities operating in an industry in Flanders to facilitate the mutual industry knowledge between countries.
Why Flanders, Belgium is an attractive place to do business Flanders is in anexcellent logistical location, especially given the port of Antwort, making it a logical place to conduct trade. Flanders provides tax incentives supporting foreign companies, and is a hub for chemical, biotech and medical devices industries, with a collegiate atmosphere which aims at the minimisation of the gap between commercial and academic sectors.
How easy is it to get a business visa to Belgium Very easy, FIT will the process only takes around 3-4 days in total.
Visa function to Australia No visa/immigration function to Australia.  

Embassy of Finland

The Embassy of Finland stands out in its ability to provide an effective list of contacts and networks to Finnish businesses which wish to begin trading in Australia. Not only is it effective, but it is also highly committed to assisting with enquiries and being available for out of hours queries from businesses all over the world.

Criteria Comments
Initiatives for Finnish businesses to deploy to AustraliaProvides advice for Finnish businesses to locate valuable local partners and experts.
Initiatives for Australian business to operate in Finland The Embassy of Finland has a great focus on securing foreign investment, often referring Australian investors to their commercial network ‘Business Finland’.
Why Finland is an attractive place to do businessFinland is extremely well-positioned for mining and mobile phone operators to do business. There is a high level of expertise in technology and innovation, as well as a conducive regulatory environment for start-ups.
How easy is it to get a business visa to FinlandEasy. There are programs in place to encourage for
genuine investors to apply for business visas to Finland.Australians can remain in Finland for three months without a visa. 
Visa function to Australia No specialised visa or migration service.  

Embassy of Japan

Criteria Comments
Initiatives for Japanese businesses to deploy to Australia Makes approaches and inquiries as necessary to the federal government, state and territory governments and other relevant authorities regarding regulations and systems operating within Australia  
Initiatives for Australian business to operate in Japan Makes their facilities available to assist the public relations activities of businesses.   Helps to build relationships between Japanese and Australian companies in cooperation with such organizations as the Japan External trade Organisation (JETRO) and the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade).  
Why Japan is an attractive place to do business Japan has a significant and growing relationship with Australia and excellent organisations devoted to facilitating business and trade between the countries such as the Australia Japan Business Co-operation Committee (AJBCC) and the Japan Australia Business Co-operation Committee (JABCC).
How easy is it to get a business visa to Japan Australian passport holders do not need a visa to stay in Japan for business purposes for up to 90 days provided they do not generate income in Japan. A visa is required if an Australian passport holder wishes to stay in Japan for more than 90 days and engage in activities that generate income. In such cases, a sponsor may apply for a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) at their nearest immigration office in Japan, and a visa applicant may apply for a visa with an original COE along with other documents at a Japanese diplomatic mission in Australia. 
Visa function to Australia No specialised visa or migration service.  

Embassy of Mexico

The Embassy of Mexico considers the promotion of trade and investment to be paramount to its role, having opened an Australian office of its trade promotion authority (PROMEXICO). PROMEXICO works constantly by organising public and private events (seminars, visits, conferences, events), as well as identifying trade and investment opportunities and facilitating contacts between key players.

Santiago Ballina Garcia, Political Attaché to the Embassy of Mexico in Australia, is passionate about promoting Mexico as a location of business and trade for Australians: ‘The work carried out by the Embassy and by PROMEXICO’s office in Australia reflects the character of Mexico as a nation open to the world. Mexico has one of the largest Free Trade Agreement networks in the world, with 12 agreements that cover 46 countries. The latest one of these is the CPTPP, which Mexico was the very first country to ratify earlier this year.’

Criteria Comments
Initiatives for Mexican businesses to deploy to Australia Having a PROMEXICO office in Australia enables Mexican businesses to have better information on market opportunities as well as considerations when doing business in Australia. Additionally, PROMEXICO can provide a business agenda service and facilitate contacts or participation in relevant events.
Initiatives for Australian business to operate in Mexico The Mexican Embassy assists in holding promotion seminars and round table events with focus on specific sectors detailing business opportunities have taken place in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. PROMEXICO has engaged with companies interested in expanding their presence in Mexico as well as interested in sourcing different products from Mexico. It has also assisted with strategic information and agenda coordination for Australian businesspeople visiting Mexico.
Why Mexico is an attractive country to do business Mexico ranks as the 15th largest economy in the world, and the second largest in Latin America. It is a significant market, with over 127 million people, and a young country (its median age is around 28 years). Mexico sits in a strategic location, and acts as a bridge between North and South America, and between the Atlantic and the Asia-Pacific regions. Due to its proximity and integration with the US market, it is also a hub and point of entry for the North American region. The signature and ratification of the CPTPP (or TPP 11), of which both Mexico and Australia are part, will provide companies in our countries with new export opportunities by eliminating tariffs on a wide variety of goods and services. Key opportunities are available in agricultural goods and manufactured goods. Regarding services, the TPP-11 provides opportunities to expand trade in education, health, hospitality, mining technology and tourism.
How easy is it to get a business visa to Mexico Australian passport holders are not required to apply for a visa when visiting Mexico for up to 180 days, even if their purpose is business. The only condition, however, is that they do not receive payment from a Mexican company, person or entity in Mexico in exchange for their work, as this requires a visa with a working permit. Australians with investments or companies in Mexico can also apply for a temporary resident visa if they wish to reside in the country for more than 6 months.
Visa function to Australia No specialised visa or immigration service.  

The Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco

Idriss Barhon, Economic Counsellor with the Embassy, considers that the economic potential of Morocco-Australia relations remains ‘unexploited’. For instance, trade between Morocco and Australia has undergone significant changes in recent years. In 2014, exchanges had reached 100 million AUD, before falling to 72 million AUD in 2015 and settling at around 105.866 million AUD in 2016/2017, with a surplus balance of 22.834 million AUD in favour of Morocco.

The Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Canberra aims to move beyond cooperation in trade to pave the way for new investments.

Criteria Comments
Initiatives for Moroccan businesses to deploy to Australia The Embassy wishes to expend its cooperation by establishing innovative partnerships and paving the way for new investments in areas such as, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, renewable energy, tourism and IT, and research in science. It also aims to facilitate opportunities arising in terms of economic and commercial exchange between the two countries by taking a number of initiatives to introduce the Australian economic actors into the abundant opportunities in Morocco as well as its enormous potential, being a regional hub and gateway into the African Continent.
Initiatives for Australian business to operate in Morocco The Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco to Australia participates regularly in a number of economic events and presents throughout the various visits paid by the Ambassador to the different states of the Commonwealth of Australia the opportunities of investment provided by the Kingdom.  Besides, the Embassy accompanies regularly the Australian companies or businesses showing interest to do business in Morocco.
Why Morocco is an attractive country to do business The Kingdom of Morocco figured in recent years as one of the best countries in the MENA region according to the Doing Business ranking due to many factors, notably:   Political stability: While the entire region was in the throes of civil unrest and rebellion following the 2011 Arab Spring, Morocco not only maintained its stability, but continued its regular process towards reform and modernization. Indeed, Morocco has confidently pressed ahead with its political agenda, launched since the country’s independence to foster a liberal, multiparty environment leading to the strengthening of the Rule of law while displaying a firm commitment to international democratic principles, in full harmony with the country’s traditions of tolerance and openness.   A reliable business environment: Aware of the fact that investment is a key factor to ensure sustainable and sustained economic growth, Morocco has liberalized its economy by easing procedures, providing better protection to private operators through introducing new laws aiming at improving investment conditions and, thus, acquiring significant flow of domestic and foreign private capital. Reforms in the economic field include the Investment Charter, the Commercial Code, the law establishing the commercial courts, the Customs Code, the Law on free pricing and competition, the regulation of the State’s markets, and the Law on the protection of industrial and commercial property.  
How easy is it to get a business visa to Morocco The holders of a valid Australian passport do not require any visa to enter the Kingdom of Morocco.  Besides, the consular service at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco remains at the disposal of Australian citizens interested in visiting the country for any help or advice that might be needed during their stay in Morocco.
Visa function to Australia No visa function to Australia.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise

Criteria Comments
Initiatives for New Zealand businesses to deploy to Australia For New Zealand businesses wanting to export to Australia, they can contact an online support team, or talk to someone on the phone to learn about the process.
Initiatives for Australian business to operate in New Zealand If Australians want to invest in in New Zealand, or set up business in NZ, they can contact the investment team at NZTE online and be guided through the process.
Why New Zealand is an attractive country to do business Australia and New Zealand are one of the “closest, broadest and mutually compatible” economic and trading relationships in the world.
How easy is it to get a business visa to New Zealand Easy.
Visa function to Australia No immigration/visa advisory function to Australia.

Consulate General of Pakistan

The Consulate General of Pakistan is responsible for promoting trade and investment between countries. It has separate arms located in major cities around Australia, with each arm responsible for its respective region. It prides itself on providing personalised and specialised service.

Trade Commissioner Abdul Majid Yousfani notes: ‘Our organisation is particularly business-friendly because we have a complete focus on commercial activity, separate to our embassy in Canberra which focuses more on political diplomacy. If someone has an issue or query, we are just one email away and can provide assistance to any question. We pride ourselves on being especially responsive.’

Criteria Comments
Initiatives for Pakistani businesses to deploy to Australia Assists with general enquiries, brings in delegations from Pakistan, and assists Pakistani businesses to promote themselves at trade fairs in Australia.
Initiatives for Australian business to operate in Pakistan Pakistan arranges conferences or seminars for Australians who are looking into investing into or trading with Pakistan and organises meetings with the Pakistani chambers of commerce and councils.
Why Pakistan is an attractive place to do business Its economy has been in constant growth for the past 20 years, it is especially devoted to fostering international trade looking forward.
How easy is it to get a business visa to Pakistan Very easy. The application is made online and the visa is often issued within 48 hours. The refusal rate is extremely low, as Mr Majid Yousfani states: ’Virtually 99.999% of visas will be granted.’
Visa function to Australia No visa/immigration function – this is the domain of the High Commission.

Embassy of the Philippines

The Philippines employs the use of four organisations to engage Australian companies that are interested in doing business with the Philippines. The Philippine Overseas Labour Office is located in Canberra and provides information on employment regulations in the Philippines, where the Philippines Trade and Investment Centre is based in Sydney and nurtures relations with foreign investors and businesses.

The Philippines has become an increasingly well-positioned location for Australian companies to do business and the Philippine Trade and Investment Centre desires to continue this trend.

Minda Calaguian-Cruz, former Ambassador from the Embassy of the Philippines, states: ‘The Philippines wishes to do more trade with Australia given the growing demand in the Philippines for major Australian exports. On the other hand, Philippines’s export of services to Australia has been growing at a rate of 9.7% every year for the last five years.’

Criteria Comments
Initiatives for Philippine businesses to deploy to Australia The Philippine Embassy conducts market research for specific Philippine products, sourcing and business matching, business advisory and facilitation services, market scanning, and identification of new opportunities.
Initiatives for Australian business to operate in the Philippines Australian businesses may contact the Philippine Trade and investment Centre to seek general advice and the Philippines Overseas Labour Office provides information on employment regulations, including employment of Australian nationals by Australian investors.
Why the Philippines is an attractive place to do business Highly variable investment sector for start-ups, high-tech machinery and robotics, rich biodiversity and abundant natural resources, preferred gateway for investors to the ASEAN region.
How easy is it to get a business visa to the Philippines Easy
Visa function to Australia No immigration/visa advisory function to Australia

Embassy of Poland

The Embassy of Poland is a small but mighty organisation of 4 people, including the Ambassador, Political Attaché and Economic Attaché, Rafal Jarosz. The Polish Embassy recently separated its trade function and now choose to mainly hire Polish people who happen to live overseas. Its trade commission is in fact a corporation with 100% public ownership. This new system reflects the fact that Poland was part of the Soviet Union until 1989 and only recently has started to emphasise growth of the private sector.

Criteria Comments
Initiatives for Polish businesses to deploy to Australia There is a network of local personnel and offices who discuss regulatory issues with local governments on behalf of Polish businesses.  There is a also a range of free and paid services including detailed market research and access to a publicly owned stock exchange company. The Polish Development Fund of $10 billion includes a range of institutions such as insurance and risk companies which work together to support Polish companies operating overseas.
Initiatives for Australian business to operate in Poland This is a one-stop shop for Australian companies. Clients are designated a case officer who helps them navigate through market entry, finding an office location, and accessing subsidies and rebates from the government.
Why Poland is an attractive place to do business Poland is a gateway to the EU market, with lower taxes than many European countries and favourable exchange rates due to not having joined the Eurozone, 22nd largest economy worldwide, and excellent labour skills.
How easy is it to get a business visa to Poland Easy.  
Visa function to Australia No immigration/visa advisory
function to Australia

Embassy of Portugal

Criteria Comments
Initiatives for Portuguese businesses to deploy to Australia Under the European Union funding scheme, businesses can submit projects to participate in Trade Shows, Trade Missions or purchase marketing materials. If approved, they receive incentives for these projects.   Portuguese companies have also the support of Portuguese Trade & Investment Agency and their office in Australia which provides a wide range of products and services. This means identifying potential business partners, setting up meetings between Portuguese suppliers and Australian importers or distributors, researching key information in strategic business areas, inviting Australian importers to meet Portuguese suppliers in Portugal or to visit Trade Shows in Portugal. Screening for business opportunities and making them visible to Portuguese companies. In short: connecting supply and demand.  
Initiatives for Australian business to operate in Portugal Portugal has an Incentives & Grants package targeting R & D activities, Productive Investment and Job Creation, a special tax regime for expats and a competitive Corporate Income Tax of 21%.
Why Portugal is an attractive place to do business Portugal is an excellent location to access key markets, high speed internet and high broadband penetration, and world class transportation infrastructures. It is also a member of the EU being an open door to a 500 million consumer market in Europe and also to the 250 million consumer market in Portuguese speaking countries. Portugal has a highly qualified pool of people namely in business oriented fields. 61% of the population speaks, at least, one foreign language being English the first foreign language spoken.
How easy is it to get a business visa to Portugal Portugal as also a Golden Visa scheme targeting the creation of new companies, investment in existing ones, investment in Real Estate, acquisition of Real Estate with more than 30 years or on rehabilitation zones, investment in R&D or cultural activities as well as capital transfers.   The applicant who fulfils one of the above conditions can request a Residence Permit and may be eligible for a Permanent Residence Permit or Portuguese Citizenship, if all other legal requirements are fulfilled.  
Visa function to Australia No immigration/visa advisory
function to Australia

Embassy of the Republic of Serbia

The Embassy of the Republic of Serbia works to facilitate access to relevant and timely information as key to strengthening trade, investment, tourism, education and other socio-economic links between Australia and Serbia.

The Embassy is clearly facilitating the increase of bilateral trade and business, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing that since 2014 the export-import trade between the two countries has been tripled. This increase in trade is no accident, with the Deputy Head of Mission, Mimica Radojevic, stating that ‘there are always opportunities for more export-import cooperation, especially in trade in services, taking into consideration that the Australian IT sector has shown a significant interest in establishing back offices and outsourcing business practice with Serbian partners’ (more than 20 companies).’

In terms of trade in services, export of services from Serbia to Australia in 2017 was 64 million AUD and import of services from Australia to Serbia was 20 million AUD.

This increase in trade is no accident, with the Deputy Head of Mission, Mimica Radojevic, stating that ‘the importance of a large Serbian community in Australia’ cannot be ignored.

There is a very active Australian-Serbian Organisation of Professionals which aims to serve both Serbian and Australian communities by connecting Serbian professionals in the business sphere in Australia. The organisation held a presentation on the topic “Offshoring to Serbia – an Australian Story” in Melbourne. At this event, owners of the Global IT Factory presented Serbia as an outsourcing destination and talked on their business orientation to outsourcing IT services to Serbia and on positive experiences from this cooperation.

The Embassy was engaged in the activities of establishing the Australian-Serbian Commerce Chamber in 2016 with an aim to realise the full potential of the trade ties between the two countries.

Criteria Comments
Initiatives for Serbian businesses to deploy to Australia Assists the business community in Serbia by offering useful business contacts and other information relating to various aspects of business in Australia.
Initiatives for Australian business to operate in Serbia Assists the business community in Australia by offering useful business contacts and other information relating to various aspects of business in Serbia. Encourages business people from Australia to attend delegations, trade fairs, exhibitions and other events taking place in Serbia. Anyone who needs our assistance regarding the investment or commercial opportunities either in Serbia or in Australia may contact the Embassy and they will get accurate information.
Why Serbia is an attractive country to do business There are many financial benefits and incentives for investors, and skilful partner-companies, particularly in IT sector, textile, metal or mining industry. Serbia has attractive locations, competitive operating costs, high-speed internet and young, highly educated professionals, fluent in English garnered towards Greenfield Investments. New regulations in the energy sector have established a more attractive environment for investments in the renewable sources of energy. There is greater connectivity with European and world markets, and world-wide trade development. Serbia has free trade arrangements with EU countries, South Eastern Europe, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, USA and Turkey. Serbia stands out by its favourable business environment, characterised by low tax rates and running costs, as well as a highly skilled workforce. Serbia’s tax on capital gain of 15% and value added tax of 20% are among the lowest in Europe.
Rio Tinto, one of the world’s largest metals and mining corporations, invests in Jadar project in Serbia, which has been ranked as one of the largest lithium deposits in the world with the potential to supply a significant percentage of global demand for lithium.
How easy is it to get a business visa to Serbia A visa is not required for citizens of Australia for visits of up to 90 days in a six-month period. Australians who choose to do business in Serbia can apply for a temporary stay. There is also a possibility for the extension of the temporary stay period. On requests for approval or extension of temporary residence the competent authority decides within 30 days from the date of submission of the request.
Visa function to Australia Gives advice about the competent Australian authorities that interested applicants need to contact for submitting their visa application and directs them to the relevant websites. 

Economic and Trade Commission of Spain in Australia

The Spanish trade commission’s assistance largely lies in its tailored consulting services for Spanish companies entering the Australian market and vice versa. Nieves Prior, Commercial Attaché of the Economic and Trade Commission of Spain in Australia, states: ‘we support newcomers with consulting services, finding local partners and organising Business to Business meetings. Specific individual reports can be made if requested. We go above and beyond in providing personalised assistance.’

Criteria Comments
Initiatives for Spanish businesses to deploy to Australia The commission provides general information about the Australian economy and its most dynamic sectors, information on local partners. It also organises Spanish pavilions at exhibitions, plans promotional campaigns, and provides consulting services.
Initiatives for Australian business to operate in Spain The commission provides referrals to its commercial network known as ‘Invest in Spain’, connects Australian entrepreneurs with local experts to facilitate setting up in Spain, guides Australian companies and entrepreneurs through the visa process, and provides general information required to set up business in Spain.
Why Spain is an attractive country to do business Low operating costs, competitive economy, easy access to EU market, good connections to LATAM and MENA countries, highly educated work force and some of the best transport infrastructure in the world.
How easy is it to get a business visa to Spain Easy – Australians can travel for up to 3 months for business activities.
Visa function to Australia No visa or migration function to Australia.  

Consulate General of Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan consulate in Australia is the third diplomatic mission established by Sri Lanka but it has ambitious plans to become the next financial city in the vein of Hong Kong. In particular, the Sri Lankan consulate is focusing on driving import/export business, the transfer of industry expertise, and the increase of tourism between the two countries.

Inbound Tourism from Australia to Sri Lanka is the fastest growing as far as percentages go. There was a 37% increase in Australian tourism to Sri Lanka in 2018. It’s the sixth largest inbound tourist destination up from 13th in 2014.

These plans are in line with its goals for high projected growth within the next few years, with Consul General Lal Wickrematunge noting that while the Sri Lankan Gross Domestic Product is currently at 10% of Australia’s, there is now potential for a middle-class growth period. 

Criteria Comments
Initiatives for Sri Lankan businesses to deploy to Australia The consulate organises B2B meetings between different chambers, helps export businesses with aligning their standards and procedures with Australian standards, and organises trade fairs.
Initiatives for Australian business to operate in Sri Lanka The consulate focuses its function on economic policy as a way to facilitate the process for Australian businesses. Sri Lanka provides duty free and tax free structures in the early stages of business establishment, has signed agreements preventing double taxation and encourages foreign investments. The consulate itself focuses greatly on dissemination of industry and market knowledge to Australian businesses wishing to deploy in Sri Lanka.
Why Sri Lanka is an attractive country to do business Resilient fiscal policies, allow for easier entry to Indian market, strong history of never defaulting on foreign debt despite a 30-year war and history of natural calamities, logistical entry to European and South Asian markets, good source of professional labour with 95% literacy rate, and access to ports, airports and major sea and airlines.
How easy is it to get a business visa to Sri Lanka It is not hard for Australians to be granted visas. Applicants can get in touch with the Bureau of Investments online to apply for licences and visit any consulate office for a 90-day visa. Business visas require an invite from the government and can take up to one week to be processed. They have the benefit of an easily extendable stay.
Visa function to Australia Offers a general guide to Australian immigration system.  

Consulate General of Switzerland

Criteria Comments
Initiatives for Swiss businesses to deploy to Australia Switzerland Global Enterprise has a network of people located within either an Embassy or Consulate General in different countries around the world, which are charged with Trade Promotion. The export (from Switzerland) consultation is on an individual basis for each company, depending on their needs.
Initiatives for Australian business to operate in Switzerland The consulate provides detailed information on how to establish a business in Switzerland and investing in the country.
Why Switzerland is an attractive country to do business Stable business environment with strong purchasing power, bilateral trade agreements with all European countries and party to 41 Free Trade Agreements, educated work force, and favourable labour laws for businesses.
How easy is it to get a business visa to Switzerland Easy
Visa function to Australia No visa or migration function to Australia.  

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