Australia has closed its 'golden visa' programme which allowed those who invested at least A$5m in the country to live there for up to five years and to potentially apply for residency.

Thousands of significant investor visas (SIV) have been granted through the program since 2012, with 85% of successful applicants coming from China according to government data.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil, on Monday (Jan 22), released a statement which said: "It has been obvious for years that this visa is not delivering what our country and economy needs."

“The investor visa is one of many aspects of the system which are reforming to create a system which delivers for our country,” she added.

The government is planning to replace these scrapped visas with a new type of visa focused more squarely on those bringing innovation and talent into the country, including entrepreneurs, major investors and researchers.

Associate Professor Anna Boucher from the University of Sydney, an expert on Australia’s migration policy, told The Straits Times that the decision to scrap the visas was not an “attack on rich migrants” but an attempt to focus on the long-term benefits of migration.

While investors might deliver a short-term boost to the economy, she said, skilled migrants tend to be younger, well-educated and deliver longer-term benefits, such as reduced dependence on welfare or the medical system.

“Golden ticket visas deliver a short-term investment, but what is the long-term benefit to the economy?” she added. “The government is starting to think about the contribution of migrants with a more long-term perspective.”