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How do I apply for a fast tracked tech talent / global talent visa? (updated: 23 Mar 2021)

By March 23, 2021March 31st, 20211,739 Comments

global talent

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 Global Talent visa (discussed further below).

The GTI program 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. GTOs will work with countries in their regions and attend key events/expos to promote this program.

Individuals interested in this program, should submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) with the Department of Home Affairs (Department) to be invited to apply for this visa. A successful candidate would receive a unique identifier and be invited to apply for a Global Talent visa. Their visa application would receive priority processing (around 2 months). For the 2020/21 migration programme year, 15,000 spots have been allocated which is a significant increase from the 5,000 positions allocated last year.

In particular, the Department aim to target the following 10 sectors (set out in Direction 89):

  • Resources;
  • Agri-food and AgTech
  • Energy
  • Health Industries
  • Defence, Advanced Manufacturing and Space
  • Circular economy
  • Digitech
  • Infrastructure and tourism
  • Financial services and Fintech
  • Education

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 PhD or (or are close to submitting their thesis).

What is a Global Talent visa?

The Global Talent visa aims to attract individuals who have an “internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement” in either a profession, 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.

You can read more about this visa here.

Am I eligible under this program?

Broadly speaking, to be eligible under this program, a candidate must:

  • fit under one of the 10 targeted sectors outlined above; and
  • have an “internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement” in their field, and either:
    • be able to attract a salary equivalent to the Fair Work High Income Threshold (FWHIT), currently AUD $153,600; or
    • have completed their PhD in the past 3 years (or nearing completion of their thesis with an expected submission date of 6 months or less).

If you do not satisfy the above, you would not be eligible under this program.

Does my profile fit in one of the 10 target sectors?

Though we are not aware of any official definition of the 10 target sectors, Direction 89 represents a departure from the original 7 target sectors which largely related to “Tech” (generally meaning that there should be some sort of innovative/tech component). This broadening moves away from that “Tech” emphasis and more into the Department’s other priority sectors.

How do I apply?

To access one of the 15,000 positions under the GTI for priority processing, there are three steps:

  1. the unique identifier and code issued by the Department
  2. a nomination and
  3. the visa application itself.

Presently, to be considered under the GTI program, you would need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) here directly to the Department.

In our view, your EOI should submit a covering letter, a CV, and evidence of your claimed achievements.

Once the referral has been assessed, the Department would email the candidate a unique identifier number and code to make the visa application and be considered under the GTI provisions.

Although the application form may now be completed 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). You can read more about the nomination and the Form 1000 requirements here.

We recommend:

  • 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 successful individuals with whom Hannan Tew Lawyers have advised and assisted have: received awards/media coverage of their work, made publications (general/academic), hold patents, spoken at conferences, and/or have held senior positions at international 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:

Main applicant
Dependent (18+)
Dependent (<18)


$2,055 each

$1,030 each

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 (note that fees are subject to your individual circumstances as determined in a consultation):

Consultation1 hour discussion

$ 385

  • Written Eligibility Assessment
  • Consideration of Other Visas
  • Undertaken by Video Conference


$ 2,310

  • Review of Documents
  • Preparation of Support Letter
  • Submission of EOI
Contact Us


$ 4,400

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

What were the 14 November 2020 changes to the Global Talent visa?

On 14 November 2020, the Department passed legislation that removed the offshore Subclass 124 visa and made some major amendments to the onshore Global Talent Subclass 858 visa application.

You can read a summary of these changes here.

What were the 20 January 2021 changes to the GTI program and EOI eligibility?

From 20 January 2021, Bachelor (with Honours) and Masters graduates are no longer eligible for invitation to the GTI program on the basis of those qualifications alone. This replaces older guidelines which considered applicants who:

  1. were recent Masters or Honours graduates (who completed their studies in the last 3 years);
  2. had obtained a WAM of at last 80% or more; and
  3. the course was directly related to the relevant target sector.

These individuals were also considered to have the ability to attract the Fair Work High Income Threshold (FWHIT) requirements.

The Department have advised that the new changes apply “regardless of the date you submitted your EOI”, meaning it applies to existing EOIs which have already been submitted.

That is not to say that recent Masters or Bachelors (Honours) graduates should not apply, but that they must also demonstrate international recognition outside of their academic achievements in order to receive an invitation.

Note that candidates in the above cohort who received an invitation reference identifier prior to 20 January 2021 will still be eligible to lodge an application for a Distinguished Talent (subclass 858) visa with priority processing.

What were the 27 February 2021 changes to the Global Talent visa?

On 27 February 2021, the Distinguished Talent visa was renamed the Global Talent visa.  The Subclass and criteria remained the same.

What is the impact of Direction No. 89 and the target sectors?

On 17 December 2020, the Department issued Direction No. 89 which outlines the order of consideration of Distinguished Talent visa.  Relevantly, it listed out revised target sectors.

The Department have advised that their legal position is that Direction No. 89 has superseded (and revoked) the prior Direction No. 85 which listed the original 7 target sectors.  As such the EOI form has been updated to include reference to the new target sectors.

A table summarising the prior target sectors and the new target sectors (and the minor differences between them) can be seen below:

  • AgTech
  • Space and Advanced Manufacturing
  • FinTech
  • Energy and Mining Technology
  • MedTech
  • Cybersecurity
  • Quantum Information, Advanced Digital, Data Science and ICT
  • Agri-food and AgTech
  • Defence, Advanced Manufacturing and Space
  • Financial services and FinTech
  • Energy
  • Health Industries
  • Digitech
  • Circular Economy
  • Infrastructure & Tourism
  • Education

The Government’s priority has always been in relation to three broader priority sectors being health and life sciences, financial services, and advanced manufacturing (see here). There are a number of other “enabling sectors” which the Department consider would assist them in these priority areas.

Relevantly, these new target sectors broadened:

  • “AgTech” to include Agri-food and allow for individuals doing general work in the food/ beverages that may not necessarily have been “Tech”;
  • “Advanced Manufacturing and Space” – to include “Defence”;
  • “FinTech” to allow for those in financial services that may not necessarily have had a “Tech” component;
  • “DigiTech” which presumably refers to “Digital Technologies” appears to have a broader scope but encapsulates two of the prior target sectors.

The introduction of three new sectors are also interesting, being:

  • circular economy – which is an expansion of “Advanced Manufacturing” and has principles based on removing waste/pollution, keeping products/materials in use, and regenerating our natural systems;
  • infrastructure & tourism – which is a very broad field capturing arguably two completely different sectors. These new sectors are seen as an “enabling sector” as discussed above.
  • education – which presumably relates to individuals doing pioneering things in education (being the introduction of EdTech, or even innovative ways to learn). This is also an “enabling sector”.

What are the statistics around this visa?

As mentioned above, the GTI program had a planning level of 5,000 spots for the 2019/20 program year. A planning level is not an absolute target or a ceiling, but just a notion that the Department works towards in granting visas. The Department’s annual migration programme report indicates that 4,109 were granted against this target (3,344 onshore and 765 offshore).

The breakdown of grants per targeted sector were as follows:

  • Quantum Information, Advanced Digital, Data Science and ICT (28%)
  • MedTech (26%)
  • Energy and Mining Technology (20%)
  • AgTech (9%)
  • Space and Advanced Manufacturing (8%)
  • FinTech (6%)
  • Cybersecurity (3%)

Following budget announcements on 6 October 2020, The Hon Alan Tudge MP announced that 15,000 places (triple the last program year) will be set as the planning level for the 2020/2021 program year. This significant increase confirms the Department’s prioritisation of the global talent independent program more generally. That being said, we see that the demand for this program is now significant so encourage applicants to make sure they prepare the best possible application to have the highest prospects of success to obtain permanent residence.

Some useful resources

A few links below can provide further insights into the program:

  1. Department of Home Affairs website (see here)
  2. An interview with a Global Talent Officer (see here)
  3. FOI dealing with GTI statistics for the period 1 July 2020 to 8 January 2021 (see here)
  4. FOI dealing with the status of applications lodged in June 2020 as at 28 November 2020 (see here)
  5. ACS guidelines for nominations (see here)

Common mistakes?

Having spoken to hundreds of prospective applicants and assisted numerous individuals through both the Expression of Interest (EOI) and the visa application itself, you can read about some of the most common mistakes we have found by EOI applicants here.

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.

Do I get an acknowledgement after submitting my EOI?

Once you select “Submit”, an acknowledgement message will be displayed. You will not receive an email confirming that your EOI has been received. The Department will be in contact to either request further information/documents from you, or issue you a unique identifier.

How long does it take to get a response from my EOI?

It varies and unfortunately, the Department do not publish their processing times. Despite the announcement of the new allocations for the 2020/21 migration program year, we still have a significant number of clients with whom EOIs were submitted in July that are still pending an outcome. We’re seeing gradual movement and have received sporadic invites over the past few months.

Does the Department advise me if my EOI is unsuccessful?

The Department have indicated that they will advise EOI applicants whether they were successful or not. Please see our interview with a Global Talent Officer on this point here

What if I don’t meet one of the 10 targeted sectors?

The GTI program is specifically to target people in those sectors. If you clearly do not meet these sectors, then this program is not for you. However, there are many instances where an individual may meet one of these sectors without realising it. Feel free to reach out to us if you think you that you may be a candidate but are unsure as to whether you meet one of the sectors.

How do I know if I am a “distinguished talent”?

This is quite a subjective assessment. Consider whether you have had significant academic or professional accomplishments that are not in the “ordinary” course, look at what we’ve described above as successful candidates who have received EOIs. Feel free to reach out to us if you think you may be such a candidate, but are unsure as to whether you might qualify.

How do I find a nominator?

This is the most common question we receive from offshore EOI applicants and the answer depends on your personal circumstances. It could be your employer, an industry colleague, an academic colleague, or even an industry body. Please be aware that the Australian Computer Society (ACS) will nominate individuals with a technology focus who do not have a nominator. You would need to first obtain your unique identifier, then email the ACS who will advise on the next steps (a fee of AUD 500 would be payable).

Do you assist with finding a nominator?

Where engaged to assist with the EOI or Global Talent visa, we provide recommendations based on an individual’s profile. However, we do not source a nominator for you.

What are the requirements for the nominator?

The criteria to be a nominator is set out above and we have  written an article that helps explains what this means for them here. The nominator will need to provide the Form 1000 and some evidence to demonstrate that they have a “national reputation” in the same field as you.

If I receive a unique identifier, does this guarantee that my Distinguished Talent visa application will be granted?

No, it does not. You still need to meet all the criteria for grant of the actual visa, including health and character clearances.

How long is the processing times for the Global Talent visa?

Processing times are not currently published. However our experience is that most applications are finalised in 1-2 months, largely depending on how complete the application is (i.e. whether documents were missing) and availability to undertake health examinations.

I’ve received a unique identifier, but I have family members (spouse/partner, children) outside Australia. What do I do?

On 14 November 2020, the Department merged both the offshore (Subclass 124) and onshore (Subclass 858) Distinguished Talent visas into one visa subclass – the Subclass 858 visa. Amendments were made such that applicants may be either inside or outside of Australia at time of lodgement. This was later renamed the Global Talent visa.

I’m in Australia as the holder of a Bridging Visa pending an outcome on a further substantive visa. Can I apply for the Global Talent visa?

Yes. On 14 November 2020, the Department merged both the offshore (Subclass 124) and onshore (Subclass 858) Distinguished Talent visas into one visa subclass – the Subclass 858 visa (and later named the Global Talent visa). These changes also now allow applicants to apply onshore so long as they hold either a substantive visa, or a Bridging Visa A, B, or C.

Will the government extend the Global Talent Independent program?

The Department has set 15,000 positions for the 2020/21 program year. This is a threefold increase from the 2019/20 program year. The program is in high demand, so we encourage eligible applicants to apply as soon as possible to take advantage of the positions.


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 GTI program, and have been at the forefront of this program since conception.  We have been interviewed by various media outlets including ITnews, and SBS regarding our insights and views on the GTI program, and on our insights on immigration more broadly which can be read here. We have also delivered CPD sessions via industry bodies to educate other Migration Agents / Lawyers on this program.

With significant experience advising the tech and start-up industries in Australia, we have the knowledge and experience to understand your profile and convey the importance of your research, experience and skill sets to the Department to improve your prospects of receiving an invitation and/or 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 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 1,739 Comments

  • Avatar Mike Xing says:

    Hi Hannan,

    Could you please advise the estimated waiting period from EOI submission to UID invitation based on your experience?

    Many thanks!


    • admin admin says:

      Hi Mike,
      It depends, but we find on average current decisions have been made between 6-9 months after lodgement.
      Kind regards,
      Hannan Tew

  • Avatar Eddy says:

    Hi Hennan,
    Its been 9.5 months since i submitted my EOI. Is this normal to wait for more than 9 months ? How can i contact them to know about the progress of my EOI. Its really frusterating, please respond thanks.
    Eddy UK

    • admin admin says:

      Hi Eddy,
      Unfortunately that’s not unheard of.
      There’s also no way to get an update (you can email them, but its not recommended to harass them unless you have some change in your application).
      Kind regards,
      Hannan Tew

    • Avatar Polly says:

      Hi Eddy,

      I am in a similar situation. I submitted my EOI last July and still haven’t heard anything from them.


  • Avatar Jackie says:

    Hi Hannan,
    Have you heard of any successful cases in education sectors? Or any one where has already applied from education sectors? Thanks. Jackie.

    • admin admin says:

      Hi Jackie,
      We’re yet to see any approvals for clients in the Education sector specifically.
      Kind regards,
      Hannan Tew

  • Avatar Jay says:

    Hi, Hannan,
    If my GTI visa is rejected, can I still apply for the 485 visa?
    Many thanks

    • admin admin says:

      Hi Jay,
      If your visa is rejected you will have issues going forward (e.g. s48 if you are onshore).
      If your EOI is rejected your other visa options will not be impacted (unless you provide false or misleading information).
      Kind regards,
      Hannan Tew

  • Avatar Lily says:

    Hi Hannan,
    I got a question to ask.
    After responding to s56 request, I got an invoice for 2nd VAC. I was planning to pay at a later time, since the timeframe to pay it is 70 days.
    Weirdly, I got the visa granted before I have paid for it.
    I am a little confused now. Does this mean that I do not have to pay the invoice? Which email address of the home affairs should I use to discuss about it?

    • Avatar SK says:

      Hi Lily
      You have a different experience with it. I have expressed our intention to pay for the 2nd VAC two weeks ago, but have not got the invoice for the same and the status is still in further assessment. I am desperately waiting for the invoice so that I can make the payment.

      • Avatar Lily says:

        Hi SK
        you should receive the invoice soon.
        In my experience, there was also a two week waiting period between my response and receiving the invoice.
        Good luck.

    • admin admin says:

      Hi Lily,
      That’s very strange!
      They should not have actually granted the visa without the VAC invoice unless you actually did meet the English criteria (which might be the case).
      You might want to flick the Department an email at [email protected] to raise this, but I”m assuming that you or your partner did actually meet the English criteria without knowing it.
      Kind regards,
      Hannan Tew

      • Avatar Lily says:

        Hi Hannan
        Thanks for your explanation.
        The truth is that my partner neither got an acceptable English test result nor has a degree obtained in English speaking countries.
        he does meet any criteria outlined on the website.
        I will write to the homeaffairs to raise my concern.

        • Avatar SK says:

          Its more than 10 working days that I expressed statement for the payment of SVAC, still I have not got invoice. I do not know when I will get that one.

  • Avatar Hakeem says:

    Hi Hannan,

    I got invited and submitted my Visa application on 12 April. Health examinations were done and cleared on 18th April. On 28th of April the case officer sent me s56 request for more information. They need police check from Australia but with old surname. For my family members they only need bridging Visa as our temporary work Visa was expired after we lodge Visa application.

    I submitted all the bridging Visas but still wait for police check which may come this week.

    My questions are:
    1. How long to get GTIvisa if I submit police check this week?
    2. Does it mean we met the English language requirements for my wife, as I have submitted her bachelor’s degree including a letter from the university president, where the language of instructions was in English?

  • Avatar Muhammad says:

    Hi Hannan,
    Hope you guys are doing great.
    Couple of quick queries.
    1: If the entire package including all benefits go up to thresh hold, would that count or it has to be the basic salary?
    2: Any of your clients submitting EOI in SEP 2020 got any response yet?
    Would really appreciate your answer.

    Best Regards, Muhammad

    • admin admin says:

      Hi Muhammad,
      1. Technically the FWHIT is actually base salary (but you can be creative in your argument because the legal requirement is how much you can be expected to earn, not how much you earn); and
      2. Yes we’ve received some invites from Sep 2020, though not all.
      Good luck,
      Hannan Tew

  • Avatar Hamed Gamal eldien says:

    Hi Admin,
    I just get the the invitation two days ago, Finally after 8 months.
    I will lodge my application this week,
    Is it need to submit a police clearance with the application or after I submit the application they should ask me for police clearance if they need it?

    • admin admin says:

      Hi Hameed,
      Congratulations on the invite.
      You can actually submit your visa without the police clearances, but you should provide them as soon as possible to avoid processing delays.
      Good luck!
      Hanna Tew

  • Avatar AA says:

    Hi Admin,

    I want to ask you, what is the chance of applying without a nominator?

    Thanks a lot

    • admin admin says:

      Hi AA,
      You can apply for the EOI without the nominator (though not recommended as the Department seems to be asking for evidence of this now).
      You should not apply for the visa at all without the nominator.
      Good luck,
      Hannan Tew

  • Avatar Jesse says:

    Dear Hannan,

    I submitted my EOI application on 25th Sept, 2020, and was wondering if under your observation that not hearing back is common. Is there anything to help with the application at this time?

    Kind Regards,

    • admin admin says:

      Hi Jesse,
      There’s nothing to do to expedite the application unless there are compelling or compassionate circumstances.
      We’re seeing movement in September applications now, so that kind of processing time is expected.
      Good luck,
      Hannan Tew

  • Avatar Hunag Ze says:

    Hi, I received my invitation in July 2020. However, I yet to submit my visa application. I appled for Med-Tech. I am wondering how can I get a nominator on this field.
    Huang ze

  • Avatar VA says:

    Hi admin,

    I submitted my EOI on 9th of November 2020 with 6 months to go in my PhD. I have just received reviewer comments on my PhD thesis. They are 4 minor suggestions which I’ll address asap but it might take my University around a month (or so maybe) to give me the award letter. My question is, should I wait for a month or should I tell the department now given that I don’t know when they’ll open my application and I want them to know that I am done with my PhD (or close to it). I mean, technically, its not done yet but is it better to let them know that I have received comments which are minor in nature (I have a University letter saying that the thesis needs changing of minor editorial nature)??

    • admin admin says:

      Hi VA,
      Our position would generally be that there hasn’t been an update in your circumstances so we’d wait until completion.
      Kind regards,
      Hannan Tew

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