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 Immigration have rolled out to support innovation in Australia, which joins the recently renamed “Global Talent – Employer Sponsored” (GTES) scheme.
Hannan Tew previously speculated on what this program would look like. With details now clearer, we discuss how someone could apply for such a visa.
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.
There also appears to be some scope for organisations or individuals with a national reputation in the same field as the candidate to make such a referral.
Individuals who have been approached would then be referred to the Department to apply for the GTI, and their applications would receive priority processing. 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.
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, 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 spots under the GTI for priority processing, there are two steps:
- the referral by a GTO or peak industry organisation/individual; and
- the visa application itself.
If you’re interested in a referral, we recommend you speak to a GTO or an organisation or individual reputable in the same industry as you. They can make a referral here.
In order to make the referral, they’d need to provide evidence that a candidate has an “internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement”, and attest that the candidate could attract a salary equivalent to the Fair Work High Income Threshold (FWHIT), currently AUD $147,700.
Once the referral has been assessed, the Department would email the candidate a unique identifier number to make the visa application.
As the Distinguished Talent visa is one of few Australian visa applications that cannot be made online (but rather must be posted or sent by courier), the Department have created a site to enable applicants to email their application forms to them.
The requisite forms are the:
The completed application forms are then submitted here, along with evidence of payment of the lodgement fees ($4,110 for the main applicant, $2,055 for every dependent 18+, and $1,030 for every under-18 dependent). 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.
The visa applicant must also be of good health and character.
There have been several immigration specific initiatives aimed at attracting entrepreneurs and promoting innovation in Australia such as the Global Talent initiatives and the SISA, all of which are still in the early stages.
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.
With immigration uncertainty in other countries, the GTI is a positive initiative to try and attract some of the best and brightest talent from around the world.
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.