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The Innovation and Early Careers Skills Exchange Pilot (IECSEP)

By 27 September, 2023October 20th, 2023No Comments4 min read


As part of the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA) the Innovation and Early Careers Skills Exchange Pilot (IECSEP) provides new immigration opportunities for UK citizens looking to take their next career step in Australia. Further information about the program can be found here.

Who can apply?

The IECSEP offers two streams:

  1. Innovation stream – Allows an up to three year visa for highly skilled and experienced innovators, working in occupations defined at the ANZSCO Skill Level 1.
  2. Early Careers stream – Allows an up to one year visa for tertiary-qualified 21-45-year-olds, who have worked a minimum three months in their current role, and working in occupations defined at the ANZSCO Skill Levels 1-3.

Places will be limited to 1000 in 2023-24, and a further 2000 places in 2024-25.

What are the eligibility requirements?

The common criteria for the two streams includes that the applicant:

  1. is a UK citizen;
  2. has employment in Australia for the duration of the planned stay, and can provide DFAT with a letter of employment offer or a contract for employment from an Australian employer that contains the terms specified for IECSEP, including the undertakings in relation to regulated occupations and standards for wages and conditions;
  3. has adequate financial means to support themselves in Australia, and can demonstrate a minimum A$5000 in a bank account(s) plus enough to cover the fare for departure from Australia.

Additiona criteria for the Early careers stream includes that an applicant:

  1. is between 21 and 45 inclusive at the time of application;
  2. has tertiary qualifications provided by UK higher and further educational institutions. These qualifications may also be from non-UK institutions, but DFAT may need to contact you to obtain more information about the qualification and the institution;
  3. has prospective employment in Australia in an occupation defined at the ANZSCO Skill Levels 1, 2 or 3;
  4. has been working for 3 months or more in the current role. The prospective employment in Australia must also be relevant to the field of work in the current role.

Additiona criteria for the Innovation stream includes that an applicant:

  1. have a demonstrated contribution to innovation;
  2. be highly skilled;
  3. be highly experienced; and
  4. have prospective employment in Australia in an occupation defined at the ANZSCO Skill Level 1.

IECSEP applicants must remain with their employer in Australia for the duration of the visa. Applicants can undertake placements, secondments, graduate rotations or intra-company transfers between the applicant’s UK employer and any partnering Australian organisation. Alternatively, IECSEP applicants can commence a new role in Australia.

How can you apply?

DFAT is responsible for processing applications to participate in both streams of IECSEP. Applicants that meet IECSEP participation requirements will be provided a letter of support by DFAT. Applicants will then need to apply separately to the Department of Home Affairs for a Temporary Work (International Relations) subclass 403 visa (Government Agreement stream) and meet relevant requirements.

Applications must first be submitted using the IECSEP online application portal (see here). The portal can be accessed from the IECSEP webpage on the DFAT website.

Any questions?

If you require assistance with an IECSEP application, or have any other immigration related queries, get in touch with our experienced team. Contact us by email at [email protected] or by phone at +61 3 9016 0484.

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

Author Mihan Hannan

Formerly a Senior Associate in one of Australia’s most reputable immigration litigation and review practices, Mihan is solutions focused and well versed in all aspects of Australian immigration law. Mihan also has a subscription addiction, being obsessed with tools to improve the firms immigration work flow.

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