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:
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:
- the unique identifier and code issued by the Department
- a nomination and
- 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.
- 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:
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
$ 385Inc GST
- Written Eligibility Assessment
- Consideration of Other Visas
- Undertaken by Video Conference
$ 2,750Inc GST
- Review of Documents
- Preparation of Support Letter
- Submission of EOI
$ 3,850Inc GST
- Review of Documents
- Preparation of Complete Application
- Submission of Application
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:
- Department of Home Affairs website (see here)
- An interview with a Global Talent Officer (see here)
- FOI dealing with GTI statistics for the period 1 July 2020 to 8 January 2021 (see here)
- FOI dealing with the status of applications lodged in June 2020 as at 28 November 2020 (see here)
- ACS guidelines for nominations (see here)
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:
- 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
- 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.
- were recent Masters or Honours graduates (who completed their studies in the last 3 years);
- had obtained a WAM of at last 80% or more; and
- 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.
- 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. .
If I receive a unique identifier, does this guarantee that my Distinguished Talent visa application will be granted?
I’ve received a unique identifier, but I have family members (spouse/partner, children) outside Australia. What do I do?
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?
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.