Skip to main content
Distinguished TalentGlobal Talent IndependentGTSInnovation

How do I apply for a fast tracked tech talent / global talent visa? (updated: 15 Oct 2021)

By October 15, 2021November 18th, 20212,008 Comments

global talent

On 4 November 2019, the Global Talent Independent (GTI) program was officially launched to provide a streamlined, priority pathway for highly skilled and talent individuals to obtain Australian permanent residency.

This program is another layer of the “Global Talent” initiative that the Department of Home Affairs (Department) have rolled out to support innovation in Australia, which joins the renamed “Global Talent – Employer Sponsored” (GTES) scheme. You can read a general summary of these two schemes here.

This article is regularly updated as further information becomes available to us, so please check back for further up to date and relevant information.

The below describes what this scheme is, what visa it utilises, and how to apply.

What is the Global Talent – Independent program?

The GTI program is designed to attract skilled migrants at the top of specific key sectors to Australia. It operates through an additional layer on top of an existing visa – being the Global Talent (Subclass 858) visa (discussed further below).

The GTI program involves the Department taking on a more active role by engaging “Global Talent Officers” (GTO) in key locations overseas to invite targeted individuals to apply for an Australian visa. GTOs will work with countries in their regions and attend key events/expos to promote this program.

Individuals interested in this program, should submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) with the Department of Home Affairs (Department) to be invited to apply for this visa. A successful candidate would receive a unique identifier and be invited to apply for a Global Talent visa. Their visa application would receive priority processing (around 1-2 months). For the:

  • 2019/20 migration programme year – there were 5,000 spots;
  • 2020/21 migration programme year – there were 15,000 spots;
  • 2021/22 migration programme year – there were 15,000 spots.

In particular, the Department aim to target individuals with profiles relevant to the following 10 sectors (set out in Direction 89) (see below).

The Department are also looking to target certain student cohorts with research that is internationally recognised and relevant to those targeted industries, including those who have recently (in the last 3 years) completed a PhD.

What is a Global Talent visa?

The Global Talent visa aims to attract individuals who have an “internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement” in either a profession, sport, the arts, or academia and research. The GTI program utilises the “profession” or “academic and research” aspects of this visa.

It also requires the applicant to still be prominent in the area, be an asset to the Australian community, demonstrate that they’d have no difficulty in obtaining employment (or being established independently) in the area, and be nominated by either an Australian individual or organisation with a national reputation in the area.

You can read more about this visa here.

Am I eligible under this program?

Broadly speaking, to be eligible under this program, a candidate must:

  • fit under one of the 10 targeted sectors outlined above; and
  • have an “internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement” in their field, and either:
    • be able to attract a salary equivalent to the Fair Work High Income Threshold (FWHIT), currently AUD $158,500; or
    • have completed their PhD in the past 3 years

If you do not satisfy the above, you would not be eligible under this program. Please note that being eligible is not necessarily the same as being likely to receive an invitation given the highly competitive nature of the program.

What are the 10 target sectors?

Though we are not aware of any official definition of the 10 target sectors, Direction 89 represents a departure from the original 7 target sectors which largely related to “Tech”. This broadening moves away from that “Tech” emphasis and more into the Department’s other priority sectors.

Examples of relevant skill sets to the target sectors include the following:


Engineering, Geology, Metallurgy, Waste Management, Energy Saving Technology, Extraction and Processing

Agri-food and AgTech

Seed technology, nanomaterials, biofuels, supply chain and packaging, wearable technologies


Clean energy, resource robotics, computational metallurgy, geostatistics, beneficiation, battery / energy storage

Health Industries

Medical and biomedical technology, pharmaceutical and vaccine research and development, IT biochemistry, digital health, implantables and wearable devices, genomics

Defence, Advanced Manufacturing and Space

Astrodynamics, satellite systems, rocket and avionics systems, urban mobility, military equipment acquisition and sustainment, automation and robotics, nano-manufacturing, sustainable manufacturing and life-cycle engineering

Circular Economy

Bioenergy, sustainable production, recycling, waste treatment, waste to energy technology, emissions technology, ecologically sustainable manufacturing


Quantum computing, cyber sciences, cyber security, artificial intelligence, blockchain, IoT, big data, disruptive technologies, smart cities, machine learning, network engineering, cloud computing


Water infrastructure, Energy infrastructure, regional development


Travel and tourism infrastructure

Financial Services and FinTech

Neobanking, payment systems, wealth and regtech, blockchain


Cutting edge skills in emerging fields of the industry, developing advanced educational systems and curricula, improving the education infrastructure in Australia, digital data and eResearch platforms

You can read more about relevant skill sets to these target sectors and specialisations that the Department aim to prioritise here.

How do I apply?

To access one of the 15,000 positions under the GTI for priority processing, there are three steps:

  1. the unique identifier and code issued by the Department
  2. a nomination and
  3. the visa application itself.

Presently, to be considered under the GTI program, you would need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) here directly to the Department.

In our view, your EOI should submit a covering letter, a CV, and evidence of your claimed achievements.

Once the referral has been assessed, the Department would email the candidate a unique identifier number and code to make the visa application and be considered under the GTI provisions.

Although the application form may now be completed online, the Form 1000 (which has to be completed by the nominator) is still a paper-based form that then needs to be scanned and uploaded.

Your nominator must complete this form, and they must be an:

  • Australian Citizen/PR/eligible NZ Citizen; or
  • Australian organisation

who has a “national reputation” in relation to the area.

The nomination process is basically an endorsement of your skills, rather than a “sponsorship” with attached obligations (other than to tell the truth of course). You can read more about the nomination and the Form 1000 requirements here.

We recommend:

  • reviewing your nominator profile to ensure that they have a “national reputation” before asking them to assist;
  • sending the Form 1000 to your nominator when you first ask them to assist to ensure they’re comfortable with what’s on the form.

Both of these steps are to save an awkward conversation down the line.

The key criteria is being able to demonstrate that you have an “internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement” in your field. This is to distinguish “ordinary” individuals.

The successful individuals with whom Hannan Tew Lawyers have advised and assisted have: received awards/media coverage of their work, made publications (general/academic), hold patents, spoken at conferences, and/or have held senior positions at international companies.

The visa applicant must also be of good health and character, which means that police clearances and health examinations must be provided/undertaken.

How much does it cost?

The government lodgement fees for this application are:

Main applicant
Dependent (18+)
Dependent (<18)


$2,095 each

$1,045 each

Over-18 dependent applicants who do not have “functional English” also have to pay an additional $4,890 when the visa is ready to be granted.

Our professional fees are set out as follows (note that fees are subject to your individual circumstances as determined in a consultation):

Consultation1 hour discussion

$ 385

  • Written Eligibility Assessment
  • Consideration of Other Visas
  • Undertaken by Video Conference


$ 2,750

  • Review of Documents
  • Preparation of Support Letter
  • Submission of EOI
Contact Us


$ 3,850

  • Review of Documents
  • Preparation of Complete Application
  • Submission of Application
Contact Us

What is the impact of Direction No. 89 and the target sectors?

On 17 December 2020, the Department issued Direction No. 89 which outlines the order of consideration of Distinguished Talent visa.  Relevantly, it listed out revised target sectors.

You can read a summary of the differences between the old target sectors (largely focused on tech) and the new, existing target 10 target sectors here.

Some useful resources

A few links below can provide further insights into the program:

  1. Department of Home Affairs website (see here)
  2. An interview with a Global Talent Officer (see here)
  3. FOI dealing with GTI statistics for the period 1 July 2020 to 8 January 2021 (see here)
  4. FOI dealing with the status of applications lodged in June 2020 as at 28 November 2020 (see here)
  5. ACS guidelines for nominations (see here)

Common mistakes?

Having spoken to hundreds of prospective applicants and assisted numerous individuals through both the Expression of Interest (EOI) and the visa application itself, you can read about some of the most common mistakes we have found by EOI applicants here.

How can we engage Hannan Tew Lawyers?

There are two ways to engage us, there are routes that can be taken:

  1. undertake an initial consultation to discuss your circumstances, and for us to provide advice and options. A fee of $385 is applicable which consist of a 1 hour discussion followed by written advice. This is if you want to discuss your circumstances further, get an idea as to process, confirm eligibility, and ask any other questions you may have. You can view our availability and book in a time convenience for you here; or
  2. if you are confident about eligibility and do not want the consultation and advice, we can go ahead and prepare an EOI application for you for $2,750. However, if we later found that you were not eligible for the visa, we would only be able to refund that amount less the time already spent on your matter.

What is the process once we engage you?

In the first instance, we would need to send over our cost agreement (CA) outlining our fees, scope of services and terms and conditions of engagement for your review.

If you were happy with the contents, we would ask that you sign the document and deposit the professional fees upfront into our trust account. Your funds would remain in trust until your EOI was lodged after which we’d issue an invoice and move the funds from trust in payment of our invoice.

Upon receipt of the signed CA and deposit, we would send a template statement, reference letters and a list of documentation required. A significant part of our services involve the drafting of the cover letter which we’d send for your review, and work together to finalise . We also review all documentation (including reference letters prior to signature), and make suggestions of what documents to include or not include.

We submit the EOI as your appointed legal representatives and all correspondence related to your EOI should be directed to us (with which we would of course update you).

Frequently asked Questions

Hannan Tew Lawyers have had a significant amount of queries from individuals both at EOI and at application stage. This means that we’ve noticed a trend of common queries, which we’re happy to share with you.

What were the 14 November 2020 changes to the Global Talent visa?

 On 14 November 2020, the Department passed legislation that removed the offshore Subclass 124 visa and made some major amendments to the onshore Global Talent Subclass 858 visa application. You can read a summary of these changes here.

What were the 20 January 2021 changes to the GTI program and EOI eligibility?

From 20 January 2021, Bachelor (with Honours) and Masters graduates are no longer eligible for invitation to the GTI program on the basis of those qualifications alone. This replaces older guidelines which considered applicants who:

  1. were recent Masters or Honours graduates (who completed their studies in the last 3 years);
  2. had obtained a WAM of at last 80% or more; and
  3. the course was directly related to the relevant target sector.

These individuals were also considered to have the ability to attract the Fair Work High Income Threshold (FWHIT) requirements.

The Department have advised that the new changes apply “regardless of the date you submitted your EOI”, meaning it applies to existing EOIs which have already been submitted.

That is not to say that recent Masters or Bachelors (Honours) graduates should not apply, but that they must also demonstrate international recognition outside of their academic achievements in order to receive an invitation.

Note that candidates in the above cohort who received an invitation reference identifier prior to 20 January 2021 will still be eligible to lodge an application for a Distinguished Talent (subclass 858) visa with priority processing. 

What were the 27 February 2021 changes to the Global Talent visa?

On 27 February 2021, the Distinguished Talent visa was renamed the Global Talent visa.  The Subclass and criteria remained the same.

I am a PhD Graduate, am I likely to be invited?

Our experience has been that the Department have a strong preference for PhD graduates who:

  • are undertaking research that is highly novel and/or can be commercialised; and/or
  • have demonstrated employability (i.e. securing a postdoctoral position and/or a job in the industry).

As a PhD graduate the strength of your application lies in your research quality. Having secured employment is strong evidence that your research is valued as either further funding is flowing to support that research, or a commercial business is seeking to apply your research. .

Do I get an acknowledgement after submitting my EOI?

Once you select “Submit”, an acknowledgement message will be displayed. You will not receive an email confirming that your EOI has been received. The Department will be in contact to either request further information/documents from you, or issue you a unique identifier.

How long does it take to get a response from my EOI?

It varies and unfortunately, the Department do not publish their processing times. The Department’s “auto-response” if you email them is that they’re currently processing EOIs submitted in October 2020. We have received outcomes for individuals with whom EOIs were submitted between September – December 2020.

Does the Department advise me if my EOI is unsuccessful?

The Department have indicated that they will advise EOI applicants whether they were successful or not. Please see our interview with a Global Talent Officer on this point here. This has also been our experience.

What if I don’t meet one of the 10 targeted sectors?

The GTI program is specifically to target people in those sectors. If you clearly do not meet these sectors, then this program is not for you. However, there are many instances where an individual may meet one of these sectors without realising it. Feel free to reach out to us if you think you that you may be a candidate but are unsure as to whether you meet one of the sectors.

How do I know if I am a “distinguished talent”?

This is quite a subjective assessment. Consider whether you have had significant academic or professional accomplishments that are not in the “ordinary” course, look at what we’ve described above as successful candidates who have received EOIs. Feel free to reach out to us if you think you may be such a candidate, but are unsure as to whether you might qualify.

How do I find a nominator?

This is the most common question we receive from offshore EOI applicants and the answer depends on your personal circumstances. It could be your employer, an industry colleague, an academic colleague, or even an industry body. A few options to consider is the Australian Computer Society (ACS) who will nominate individuals in the DigiTech, FinTech and AgTech sectors with a technology focus, while Engineers Australia will nominate individuals in all target sectors who have an engineering focus. You can apply for these before submitting your EOI.

Do you assist with finding a nominator?

Where engaged to assist with the EOI or Global Talent visa, we provide recommendations based on an individual’s profile. However, we do not source a nominator for you.

What are the requirements for the nominator?

The criteria to be a nominator is set out above and we have  written an article that helps explains what this means for them here. The nominator will need to provide the Form 1000 and some evidence to demonstrate that they have a “national reputation” in the same field as you.

If I receive a unique identifier, does this guarantee that my Distinguished Talent visa application will be granted?

No, it does not. You still need to meet all the criteria for grant of the actual visa, including health and character clearances.

How long is the processing time for the Global Talent visa itself?

Processing times are not currently published. However our experience is that most applications are finalised in 1-2 months, largely depending on how complete the application is (i.e. whether documents were missing) and availability to undertake health examinations.

I’ve received a unique identifier, but I have family members (spouse/partner, children) outside Australia. What do I do?

On 14 November 2020, the Department merged both the offshore (Subclass 124) and onshore (Subclass 858) Distinguished Talent visas into one visa subclass – the Subclass 858 visa. Amendments were made such that applicants may be either inside or outside of Australia at time of lodgement. This was later renamed the Global Talent visa.

I’m in Australia as the holder of a Bridging Visa pending an outcome on a further substantive visa. Can I apply for the Global Talent visa?

Yes. On 14 November 2020, the Department merged both the offshore (Subclass 124) and onshore (Subclass 858) Distinguished Talent visas into one visa subclass – the Subclass 858 visa (and later named the Global Talent visa). These changes also now allow applicants to apply onshore so long as they hold either a substantive visa, or a Bridging Visa A, B, or C.

Will the government extend the Global Talent Independent program?

The Department has set 15,000 positions for the 2021/22 program year. This maintains the allocations set in the prior 2020/21 year. The program is in high demand, so we encourage eligible applicants to apply as soon as possible to take advantage of the positions.


With immigration uncertainty in other countries, the Global Talent Independent program is a positive initiative to try and attract some of the best and brightest talent from around the world.

Hannan Tew Lawyers have had a significant amount of enquiries about the GTI program, and have been at the forefront of this program since conception.  We have been interviewed by various media outlets including ITnews, and SBS regarding our insights and views on the GTI program, and on our insights on immigration more broadly which can be read here. We have also delivered sold out CPD sessions via industry bodies to educate other Migration Agents / Lawyers on this program.

With significant experience advising the tech and start-up industries in Australia, we have the knowledge and experience to understand your profile and convey the importance of your research, experience and skill sets to the Department to improve your prospects of receiving an invitation and/or the visa itself.

Please feel free to contact us by email at [email protected] or phone +61 3 9016 0484 if you have further comments or would like some guidance.

This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult an immigration professional for up to date information.
Jordan Tew

Author Jordan Tew

Jordan is one of less than 50 lawyers who are Accredited Specialists in Immigration Law by the Law Institute of Victoria, and less than 100 nationally. Accredited Specialists undergo a vigorous assessment process, and make up about 1% of all registered migration agents.

More posts by Jordan Tew

Join the discussion 2,008 Comments

  • n says:

    Hello and thank you very much for your comments and clarifications.
    We just have heard that getting acceptance in the talent visa is getting harder and harder compared to last year. is that right? I applied around seven months ago and have not heard anything yet. So could you please let us know with restrictions being removed soon in Australia, is there any changes in processing speed of the applications?
    I truly appreciate your answer

    • admin says:

      Hi N,
      The program is still competitive, but for applicant’s who truly are exceptional it is still not problematic.
      It’s unlikely that removal of restrictions are going to change the processing speed of application since the GTI program has generally been exempt from the processing freezes.
      Good luck!
      Hannan Tew

  • alex hauptmann says:

    What’s the chance of an invitation after the RFI email? Could you please disclosure the average processing time after received RFI based on your cases?


    • admin says:

      Hi Alex,
      The chance of an invitation after an RFI totally depends on how you respond.
      In any case, usually a decision is made within a couple of weeks of the RFI response, so you seem to be almost there!
      Good luck!
      Hannan Tew

  • Eric says:

    First of all, thank you for the valuable forum and comments.
    I’m currently applying for the 858 Global Talent Visa and living in CA, USA. On the application, the request is to provide “Character History, Evidence of – the UNITED STATES”, Is an FBI or CA background check is enough or do I need to do both checks?
    Thanks again!

    • admin says:

      Hi Eric,
      You’ll most likely require an ‘FBI Identity History Summary’ and a State or Territory Police Clearance for each State or Territory in which you have lived for at least 3 months for the last 12 months.
      Good luck,
      Hannan Tew

  • Koranat says:

    Hi Hannan,

    Is a PhD student who has thesis submission due in 6 months still eligible for GTI or only PhD grads within the last 3 years are considered?

    Many thanks,

    • admin says:

      Hi Koranat,
      The short answer is that you do not need a PhD to be considered for the GTI program (you just need international recognition).
      Previously claims were made for international recognition on the basis of a PhD student within the last 6 months of submission which is no longer sufficient.
      Good luck,
      Hannan Tew

      • Koranat says:

        Hi Hannan,

        Thanks so much for the reply.

        So if I have the internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement (e.g., publications) but do not have an income which meet FWHIT, I will satisfy the criteria by only having completed the PhD within the last 3 years?


        • admin says:

          Hi Koronat,
          That’s right, recent PhD graduates in the target sector (those who completed PhD’s in the last 3 years) won’t need to show they are earning an income about the FWHIT.
          Feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you require further assistance.
          Kind regards,
          Hannan Tew

  • Ali says:

    Hi Hennan and All,
    Anybody applied for the Australian citizenship on the basis of GTI 858 visa as the Govt will relax the requirements for the GTI visa holders?

    Any updates?

  • Aakaash says:

    Hi Hannan Tew Lawyers,

    Great and informative blog post! I wanted to ask if I should consider applying for the GTI visa now or wait for a few years. I am in the last 6 months of my PhD in Australia and have several internationally recognised publications at top tier conferences and journals in Robotics and AI. I also have two international patents for a device created while here in Australia, and a startup that I co-founded. Do you believe with this background it is worthwhile pursuing the VISA application now or should i wait until graduation. However after graduation do I need to go onto the 485 then apply for the GTI or do I go straight to a bridging VISA?

    Thank you for you advice and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind Regards,


    • admin says:

      Hi Aakash,
      Thanks for reaching out.
      If you have a start-up and patents you might be able to argue that you have international recognition regardless of your PhD and apply now.
      However, you still should still pursue a 485 as the GTI is not guaranteed and can take a significant time to process.
      Feel free to contact us at in[email protected] if you’d like our assistance.
      Kind regards,
      Hannan Tew

  • Rouhollah says:

    Hi Admin,
    Have you seen any movement in the December applications?

  • Masih momeni says:

    Hello..I am working in the field of designing and manufacturing tools and machines for wood and metal industries..I also have a patent in this field..I have several other innovative ideas.Please guide me how I can in good condition to Immigrating to Australia. I am also married and have two children aged ten and sixteen

  • Behzad says:

    Dear admin,
    I am an ophthalmologist with many international achievements. However, I do not have any Australian nominators. I have heard that some Australian organizations can nominate applicants for this visa. Is there any organization that can nominate my EOI as an ophthalmologist physician?
    Thank you in advance,

  • Nisha says:

    Having a PhD in the target sector within 3 years is enough for this? What is the success rate?

    • admin says:

      Hi Nisha,
      We’d need more information to be able to assess your circumstances (and the success rate depends on the quality of the candidate).
      Feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you’d like to discuss.
      Kind regards,
      Hannan Tew

  • MMR says:

    Hi admin, there are many people who get GTI visa in previous easily. But I am not sure about the current situation. Do you have any information who are recently get GTI visa? I have submitted the EOI in January 2021 , but I didn’t receive any news so far. If the GTI is still available then Could you please provide me the update for the requirements of GTI application.

    • admin says:

      Hi MMR,
      The requirements of the GTI haven’t changed recently (and are listed on our blog) but processing time can be significant.
      Many applications from late 2020 are still processing.
      Feel free to email us if you feel your EOI was not complete.
      Kind regards,
      Hannan Tew

  • Rutty says:

    Hello Hannan

    I want to appreciate the good work you are doing. I lodged my EOI since March, 2021 as offshore applicant with no current job as at the time of lodging. Now, I am currently employed offshore with salary below threshold. I have updated the department about this new engagement to show my prominence in my field. Moreover, I initially applied under Education sector but later see I falls under Resources sector; I updated the department to consider me under Resources. This is my profile:
    Phd in Chemical Engineering in November 2019
    Publications: 74
    Citations: Over 1100
    H-index: 19
    Reviewers of over 30 high-impact journals
    Contribution by UNESCO-EOLSS to a book
    Nominator: Distinguished Professor in my field of study in Australia
    Offshore applicant

    Please, how will I know if the department has updated my profile with the new update on current job offshore and change of sector? Likewise, it has been 8 months of waiting, how much time can I be expecting response from the department?

    Thanks and looking forward to your response

    • admin says:

      Hi Rutty,
      As long as you email the Department with the correct identifying details they should be able to update your application.
      Processing for most applications has unfortunately slowed down, so many applications from late 2020 are still processing.
      Good luck, keep updating the Department as things improve, but otherwise it’s just a waiting game.
      Kind regards,
      Hannan Tew

  • RR says:

    Hi Hannan,
    I got an RFI about my previous GTI application which was about the evidence of the thesis submission. I provided the evidence about the thesis submission after 6 months and my EOI got rejected. I am about to thesis submission now and I already got a postdoc offer at CSIRO with a salary of about 100k. What is the chance of getting an invitation this time if I reapply again?

    • admin says:

      Hi RR,
      It’s definitely worth applying again – though your prospects depend on your overall international recognition.
      Having that Postdoc job offer definitely helps.
      Good luck!
      Hannan Tew

  • Sram says:

    Hi Hannan,

    I have lodged GTIP visa on Nov 16th. Got the medical examination request immediately and was cleared in a few days. However, I see that my application status is still shown as received. No s56 or any other emails. I was going through other related forum and is not hearing any recent visa grant updates. Do you think the recent new outbreak will delay the visa grants? And also is it normal to stay the application status in ‘Received’ status for a long time?

    • admin says:

      Hi Sram,
      Firstly, congratulations on your invite.
      Secondly, a few weeks to process is not too much of a concern for the GTI application. Just make sure all relevant documents are uploaded so you don’t have a request for information.
      All the best,
      Hannan Tew

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.