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What is a Global Talent visa (formerly Distinguished Talent visa)? (updated: 7 August 2023)

By 28 May, 2021August 7th, 202316 Comments7 min read

distinguished talent visa

The Global Talent visa is one of the more interesting and unique visas to Australia, offering permanent residency to individuals who have an “internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement” in an eligible area.

The purpose of this visa is to attract highly skilled/talented individuals in their field to come to Australia, where they would elevate Australia’s standards internationally, introduce or transfer skills to Australia, elevate Australia’s competitiveness and reputation, and/or make a significant positive cultural or social impact on the community.

On 14 November 2020, the two subclasses for this visa (previously the onshore/offshore version) were merged into one subclass, being the Subclass 858 visa.

On 27 February 2021, the Distinguished Talent visa was renamed the Global Talent visa. The Subclass (858) remained the same.

How can I be eligible for the Global Talent visa?

There are two unofficial pathways with which a person can apply for this visa, being the:

  • Distinguished Talent pathway; or
  • Global Talent pathway.

This visa targets individuals with an “internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement” in either:

  • a profession;
  • a sport;
  • the arts; or
  • Academic and research.

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.

The Global Talent visa (initially named the Distinguished Talent visa) was introduced to attract highly talented individuals in the above four areas. Historically it’s been used by athletes, musicians, highly skilled researches amongst many others.

Some examples of past individuals being granted these visas include a Baker/Patisserie, a Researcher of Food Allergens, an Academic in Maritime Security, a Cricket player/coach, a breakdancer, and a violinist.

This is a very niche pathway with which there are only 300 spots available per year.

There also remains a pathway where an applicant may be granted this visa (bypassing all of the above requirements) in situations where in the Minister’s opinion the applicant has provided “specialised assistance” to the Australian Government in matters of security, having received appropriate advice from an intelligence or security agency or the Director-General of security.

On 4 November 2019, the Global Talent Independent (GTI) was launched to provide a streamlined, priority pathway for highly skilled and talented individuals whose profiles fit within certain targeted sectors. You can read more about this program here.

The GTI program utilises the Global Talent visa – but adds an additional layer, where an individual must first submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) and be invited to apply under the Global Talent pathway. The Global Talent pathway has significant more spots available per year (5,000 for the 2023/24 migration programme year).

You cannot apply under the Global Talent pathway without first receiving an invitation to do so, and if you do – you would simply be considered under the “Distinguished Talent” pathway – which means you would not have access to priority processing, and you’d be subject to the 300 spots per year (which is highly competitive).

There also remains a pathway where an applicant may be granted this visa (bypassing all of the above requirements including the nomination – as set out below) if the applicant has been endorsed by the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Global Business and Talent Attraction. This pathway is now closed.

How do I apply?

There are two stages of a Global Talent visa:

  1. a nomination; and
  2. the visa application itself.

Although the visa application is lodged 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).

We recommend:

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

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

You can read an article we wrote about the Form 1000 and nominator’s here.

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 international awards, held high rankings, had media coverage of their achievements/work, made publications (general/academic), hold patents, spoken at conferences, work in highly innovative areas with emerging technologies, and/or have held senior positions at international companies.

Individuals who are either under 18 years, or 55 years and older must demonstrate that they would be of “exceptional benefit” to the Australian community.

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

How many of these visas are granted each?

For the 2023/24 Migration Program year, it is expected that:

  • 300 spots are allocated under the Distinguished Talent (DT) pathway; and
  • 5,000 spots are allocated under the GTI program.

How long does it take to process?

As at the time of writing, the Department’s stated processing times are that 75% of visa applications for the Global Talent visa under the:

  • Global Talent pathway are processed in 8 months; and
  • Distinguished Talent pathway do not have published procesing times. Our experience is that they are around 2 years.

This is due in part to the Global Talent pathway being a “priority” program, and due to the low number of spots under the Distinguished Talent pathway.

How much does it cost?

Main Applicant
Dependent (18+)




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:


$ 300-400

Plus GST
  • Review of Documents
  • Discussion on Prospects
  • Consideration of other options
Book Now


$ 4,000

Plus GST
  • Only required for GTI pathway
  • Preparation of Complete Application
  • Submission of Application
Contact Us

Visa (GTI)

$ 4,000

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

Visa (DT)

$ 5,000

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


Hannan Tew Lawyers have assisted a significant number of individuals for this visa including both under the GTI program, and the Distinguished Talent visa (not under the GTI program).

With significant experience with this visa, we have the knowledge and experience to understand your profile and convey the importance of your achievements, research, experience, and skill sets to the Department to improve your prospects of receiving 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 queries 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 16 Comments

  • Annie says:

    Dear Mr. Tew!
    My brother is
    -a university lecturer in Vietnam, civil engineering major.
    -PhD (full scholarship, completed 2/ 2019) in the same major in Korea. Had 46 presentations in many countries including Australia, have 21 journals, in which 12 publications are in Q1 (top 25% of journals) and Q2 (top 25-50% journals) in the SCI and SCIE list
    (Note: SCI and SCIE are Science Citation Index and Science Citation Index Expanded, respectively)
    – hold 1 patent
    -Contributed over 15-year experiences in building many foreign and domestic large-size construction projects in Vietnam.
    Can he be eligible to apply for this distinguished talent visa – academic and research area?
    Thank you so much
    Kind regards,

    • admin says:

      Hi Annie,
      Thanks for getting in touch.
      Do you mean applying directly for Distinguished Talent without the GTI program? If so, even with his achievements will be difficult unless he has support from a peak body.
      We can certainly consider this (and the GTI visa) further if you’d like to send us an email to [email protected].
      Kind regards,
      Hannan Tew

      • Annie says:

        Dear Mr.Tew,

        Thank you so much for your prompt reply. Yes, I meant applying for Distinguished Talent directly. I dont think he can apply for GT since he is a civil engineering and his PhD is about Quantitative Evaluation of Deteriorations for Concrete Bridge Structures using Square Pulse Thermography. It doesnt fall under 7 sectors even mining or energy tech, does it?

  • Annie says:

    He is a Member of Bridge and Road Association of Khanh Hoa Province, Member of Vietnam Bridge and Road Association. Can it be a peak body?

  • Laith says:

    Hi Admin,

    Thank you so much for the information.

    I have two questions if you don’t mind.

    1- when this program(Global Talent) visa will end? I’m a Ph.D. student and two months away from finishing my Ph.D.

    2- as I know this program is moving from one country to another, what country do you think that the program will go to after Australia?

    • admin says:

      Hi Laith,
      No worries, to your questions:
      (1) The current 15,000 positions are for this financial year (ending 30 June) but the program is almost certainly going to be extended;
      (2) This is an Australia specific program so it’s not something that moves around. I’m sure other countries have similar programs however as the world looks to attract talent.
      Good luck!
      Kind regards,
      Hannan Tew

  • Navdeep Singh says:

    Hi, I have completed my PhD recently in Computer Engineering in the year 2020. My work was focused on medical and health. To be specific, I worked on extracting the blood vessels from eye’s retina to assist the doctors to ascertain the severity of the disease and out of it 2 papers were published in renowned journals (with very good indexing) and 1 was in an IEEE conference. Currently, I am working as Assistant Professor in a State University in India. Can I apply for GTI? What other option do I have if not eligible under GTI? Hope to hear from you soon. Thank You.

    • admin says:

      Hi Navdeep,
      You can certainly apply as you appear to meet the baseline criteria, though with the quality of applicant’s we see you might find it challenging.
      Feel free to contact us at [email protected] to discuss other options such as GSM or employer sponsored.
      We look forward to hearing from you.
      Hannan Tew

  • Masoud says:

    Dear Sir,

    Would you please give information about new facilities for talent visa to have citizenship, is this condition for distinguished talent only or global talents could also be included.


    • admin says:

      H Masoud,
      The legislation for this citizenship pathway has not yet been released, but based on the Minister’s announcement we understand it should apply to “future distinguished talent stream visa holders.” That is distinct from the GTI visa holders. In any case, we’ll post an update when the relevant legislation is released.
      Kind regards,
      Hannan Tew

  • Hossein says:


    Thanks for your nice text

    I am wondering which kind of global talent visa (global talent pathway vs. distinguished talent pathway) is generally better if you are an internationally recognized researcher. I am more interested to ask regarding difference in terms of the time or criteria required for turning Permanent residency to citizenship. Is there any difference? 

    • admin says:

      Hi Hossein,
      The Global Talent Pathway is usually the preferred route because it is priority processed.
      Feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you’d like an assessment.
      Kind regards,
      Hannan Tew

  • Do says:

    Dear Hannan Tew,
    Thank you a lot for keeping this blog post alive and replying to every questions in the past few years.
    I am a Data Scientist located in Sydney, with a current salary of 135 000 + super. I have some global experience because I got my Bachelor and Master degrees from some developed countries in different continents of the world, before coming to Australia.
    I am taking some interviews with other companies at the moment and want to get your advice regarding what kind of salary package I should aim for.
    One of the company said that they can pay 145 000 base salary + super + maximally 29000 of cash bonus (most people can hit 90% of this cash bonus).
    I am thinking whether it is a good idea to go with this offer.
    Will this package be able to tick off the salary threshold condition for me?

    Really wish to have some advice and guidance from you.

    • admin says:

      Hi Do,
      The salary component is flexible in that even if you are earning less than the FWHIT you can argue that you are “able” to earn more.
      However, just meeting the salary requirement is not an indicator of GTI eligibility in in itself.
      Feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you’d like to discuss this further.
      Kind regards,
      Hannan Tew

  • Christina says:

    Dear Hanna Tew,

    After reviewing the information, I am uncertain whether the application process for the Distinguished Talent pathway requires with the Expression of Interest (EOI) or applying for the visa directly. I would appreciate your guidance on this matter.

    Thank you for your advice.

    • admin says:

      Hi Christina,
      The Distinguished Talent pathway does not require an EOI (but can be significantly more challenging to obtain a grant).
      Feel free to contact us at [email protected] to discuss further.
      Kind regards,
      Hannan Tew

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