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 recently renamed “Global Talent – Employer Sponsored” (GTES) scheme. You can read a general summary of these two schemes here.
This blog is regularly updated as further information becomes available to us, so please check back for further updates.
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 Distinguished Talent visa (discussed further below).
While applicants have always been free to apply for this visa, the GTI initiative 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. Individuals may also express an interest with the Department to be invited to apply under this program.
An identified individual would receive a unique identifier and be invited to apply for a Distinguished Talent visa. Their visa application would receive priority processing (around 2-3 months). For the 2019/20 migration programme year, it is envisaged that 5,000 spots will be allocated.
The GTOs are located in Berlin, Dubai, New Delhi, Santiago, Shanghai, Singapore and Washington DC but will work with countries in those regions and attend key events/expos to promote this program. In particular, the Department aim to target the following sectors:
- Space and Advanced Manufacturing
- Energy and Mining Technology
- Cyber Security
- Quantum Information, Advanced Digital, Data Science and ICT.
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:
- Masters/Honours (with an 80% average) or
- PhD or those within the last semester (6 months) of submitting their thesis.
Indications are that there are 1,000 spots allocated to this Student cohort (out of the 5,000) with half going to offshore applicants and half to onshore applicants.
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
- academia 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.
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 do I apply?
To access one of the 5,000 positions under the GTI for priority processing, there are three steps:
- the unique identifier issued by a GTO or the Department
- a nomination and
- the visa application itself.
Hannan Tew Lawyers were recently interviewed in relation to this program (which can be read here), where a FOI request revealed that as at 31 January 2020 around 750 EOIs had been made for this application.
There are two ways to receive a unique identifier to be considered under the GTI program, by either:
- contacting a Global Talent Officer (GTO) or
- submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) here directly to the Department.
As part of this referral assessment, the GTO or the Department of Home Affairs would want to be satisfied that a candidate has:
- an “internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement” and
- be able to attract a salary equivalent to the Fair Work High Income Threshold (FWHIT), currently AUD $148,700 (through current employment or a job offer) or
- be a highly graded recent PhD or Masters Graduate.
Once the referral has been assessed, the GTO or the Department would email the candidate a unique identifier number to make the visa application and be considered under the GTI program.
Based on our experience, individuals have received these unique identifiers in several ways, including:
- being directly approached by a GTO;
- after submitting an EOI directly for the GTI programme;
- after submitting an EOI for a Subclass 189 visa (the individuals were “selected” out of the pool and invited to apply under the GTI programme instead); and
- reaching out to a GTO via LinkedIn, and submitting documents (in certain cases a 30-minute interview was conducted).
Although the Distinguished Talent visa application may now be 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.
- 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 types of individuals with whom Hannan Tew Lawyers have advised and assisted have media coverage of their work, have received awards for projects/work, hold patents under their name, have various publications (academic and journalistic), and/or have worked for internationally renowned 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 for advice and assistance with the:
- Distinguished Talent visa start from AUD 3,500 plus GST and
- EOI start from AUD 500 plus GST.
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.
If I receive a unique identifier, does this guarantee that my Distinguished Talent visa application will be granted?
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 Global Talent Independent program, and are currently assisting various individuals from varied backgrounds with applying for the visa. With only 5,000 spots under the program and no certainty as to whether this program will be extended, if you’re interested in the program and believe you could be a good candidate, it is important to act quickly to ensure you secure one of the spots.
Please feel free to contact the writer by email at [email protected] or phone +61 3 9016 0484 if you have further comments or queries or would like some guidance.