Credit in Australia for Non-PRs
March 12, 2011 6:54 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to get any sort of loan or credit in Australia as a non-permanent resident?

I've got a big project that needs quite a bit of money upfront, but I'm really only able to pay it off in chunks over a period of time. I have been looking into loans and credit cards, but since I'm on a bridging visa and I don't earn at least $50k (their stipulation for non PRs) they're all inaccessible to me.

I don't mind going in debt for this project - I just want the ability to pay off certain big things (such as airfare, since this project involves travel) over time. I've looked into various Australian P2P lending sites, but I can't tell which ones are still legit and running.

Are there any other options available? I know of the standard bootstrapping ones (sell what you don't need, get jobs, etc) but a loan at this stage would be really helpful to get at least the core of the project underway so I can get it going - and possibly get some income in too.

failing that...where can I find a sugar mama? :P
posted by divabat to Work & Money (3 answers total)
I really don't like your chances. For an example of how risk-averse credit institutions are becoming in Australia, DJs recently denied my mother (a US resident) a store card. Before moving to the US she held an account there for decades and put tens of thousands of dollars through the store. But now that she doesn't have a local source of income greater than $50K (it's all back in the States, even though she own a big-arsed house here), it's sorry, don't want to know you.

Another example: I'm on six figures, have no debt and have plenty of equity in my house. I previously held a GO Mastercard (I bought a $2K Mac or something and they preapproved me for $9K on the spot - no paperwork). The card expired, and I wanted to get something else on interest free credit. I thought it'd just be a matter of updating my details, but no - they made me jump through fucking hoops and wait a week to approve me for the same amount they gave me on the spot four years earlier when I earned $40K less.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:38 AM on March 13, 2011

Another issue is that you're not really asking for a loan here; you're asking the lender to become a kind of equity partner in your project, only without offering them the potential investment return that might give them.

For many kinds of loans (eg mortgage, car) there is at least collateral in the capital you are purchasing through the loan, meaning that if you default (severely enough) then the creditor can basically repossess that asset to recoup their loan (eg in a mortgagee sale on real estate).

Personal loans don't necessarily have that kind of collateral, and I'd assume they're harder to apply for, for that exact reason.

With a "project" like yours (some kind of media thing?) what I think you need is some kind of equity partner or grant, because it's unlikely that there'll be any kind of tangible asset for your creditor to claim, should your repayments go sour. Have you looked into whether or not you could scrape together anything from grants, like from the Australia Council for the Arts?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:15 AM on March 13, 2011

Response by poster: UbuRovias: I can't apply for grants for the same reason - they don't extend to bridging visas. I've had people tell me that my apps would have been likely so succeed but due to funding restrictions on my visa they've had to disqualify me. Very disheartening, as there's hardly anything moneywise that's open to bridging visas. (Some things extend to temporary protection visas, though rarely, but on a bridging visa you're in no man's land)

It's for an arts residency in the US; I've been accepted, I just need to get there. US grants aren't helping either since they all want you to be a resident there already.
posted by divabat at 3:36 AM on March 14, 2011

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