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Global Talent Scheme: Moving forward

By 31 July, 2019February 23rd, 2020No Comments5 min read

On 1 July 2018, the ‘Global Talent Scheme’ (GTS) pilot was rolled out for an initial 12 months designed to allow employers to sponsor overseas workers for highly skilled positions. This comprised of two streams:

  1. Established businesses stream; and
  2. Start-up stream.

The government have since confirmed that the pilot will continue to be open to applications after 1 July 2019 until further notified, and renamed it the “Global Talent – Employer Sponsored” (GTES) scheme.

At Hannan Tew Lawyers, we’ve previously set out our thoughts on the GTES in it’s current format, and urge the government to continue and develop the scheme further with our proposed recommendations.

In continuing their trend of innovation initiatives in the immigration space, the Department of Home Affairs (Department) have also announced the introduction of the Global Talent – Independent program (GTI).

Global Talent – Independent program

Although current information about the program is still not complete, the objective of the GTI is to attract skilled migrants at the top of their profession to Australia – within the existing visa framework.

Rather than continuing their passive approach at present and letting these visas run their course, it appears that the Department will now take on a more active role by engaging “Global Talent Officers” (GTO) in key locations overseas.

These officers will work with Australian industries, businesses and governments to try to identify talented individuals, and attend various key industry events and expos to try to promote life in Australia.

Presumably the skilled individuals identified by the GTO’s will be encouraged to then apply for one of the existing Australian visas – namely either the Distinguished Talent visa, or an Independent Subclass 189 visa (points tested).

What is a Distinguished Talent visa?

The Distinguished Talent visa is one of the more interesting and unique visas to Australia, requiring the applicant to have 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 (no has-beens!), 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.

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.

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.

How this visa will work with the GTI in practice remains to be seen. It could be simply the case that the GTO encourages the individual to apply for the visa after which they’re subject to satisfying the “distinguished talent” criteria outlined above, or there could be a more streamlined solution in amending the legislation to allow GTO endorsed individuals to bypass the above criteria (having already had their “talent” vetted by a person with appropriate authority).

What is a Subclass 189 visa?

The 189 visa is a skilled visa that grants the applicant Australian permanent residency. The “points tested” stream is designed to attract individuals in certain key occupations where there are skill shortages in Australia. Points are allocated for favourable attributes such as age, English language ability, work experience etc.

Applicants are unable to simply apply for this visa – an Expression of Interest (EOI) must first be submitted, and the individual must be invited to apply for the 189 visa. The invitation process occurs monthly with invites being issued to individuals with the highest points total.

How this visa will work with the GTI also remains to be seen – will applicants simply encouraged to apply under the “point-tested” stream (and would being identified by a GTO increase an applicant’s odds of receiving an invite), or will a new stream will be introduced to streamline and facilitate the grant?

A new stream was previously introduced under the 189 visa to allow for certain New Zealand citizens to obtain Australian permanent residency, however early indications are that the Department are will be pushing individuals towards the points-tested stream.


 There have been several immigration specific initiatives aimed at attracting entrepreneurs and promoting innovation in Australia.

The Global Talent initiatives and the SISA are still in early stages, so their success in achieving their objectives remains to be seen. However, we urge the government to continue their engagement with various stakeholders in the industry to take onboard relevant recommendations and tweak the programs as necessary, to ensure that these programs don’t go the way of the Entrepreneur Stream of the Subclass 188 visa.

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

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