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Welcoming the “Global Talent Scheme” and our analysis at first glance

By July 9, 2018 March 6th, 2019 No Comments

In March 2018, the government announced that they would pilot the ‘Global Talent Scheme’ (GTS) which would comprise of two streams under the Temporary Skills Shortage (Subclass 482) (TSS) visa. Hannan Tew gave our analysis on this initial announcement here.

On 1 July 2018 the GTS pilot was rolled out and further clarification has been provided (noting though that it is largely a consultative process which requires correspondence with the Department of Home Affairs (Department)). A summary of what you need to know is below:

Global Talent Scheme

The GTS will comprise of two streams:

  1. Established businesses stream for accredited business sponsors; and
  2. Start-up stream for certain start-ups operating in a technology or STEM field.

Common Criteria

Under both streams, companies/individuals need to demonstrate that:

Companies
Applicant
  1. recruitment policy gives first preference to Australian workers (by reference to the percentage of workforce that is Australian);
  2. Labour Market Testing (LMT) was undertaken for the specific position; and
  3. the business has no breaches of workplace/immigration laws
  1. must meet health, character and security requirements;
  2. no familial relationship with directors/shareholders;
  3. qualifications must be commensurate with the highly skilled role;
  4. at least 3 years work experience directly relevant to position;
  5. capacity to pass on skills/develop Australians.

Separate Criteria

The differences between the two streams are broken down below:

Established Business stream
Startup stream
Employer criteria
  1. company must be publicly listed or have an annual turnover of at least AUD 4 million for each of the past 2 years
  1. must operate in a technology based or STEM-related field (digital, biomedical, agtech etc.)
  2. independent start-up advisory panel will assess and endorse the business as a viable and genuine start-up.

In order to seek endorsement, the start-up will need to have at least one of the following:

  1. investment of at least AUD 50,000 from an investment fund registered as an Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnership; or
  2. an Accelerating Commercialisation Grant.
Applicant and position criteria
  1. Annual earnings equivalent to the Fair Work High Income Threshold (FWHIT) currently $145,400
  1. Annual earnings at market salary rate but no less than $80,000 (can include equity but must have cash component no less than the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT) currently $53,900)
Features
  1. Access to up to 20 positions per year under this stream
  1. Access to up to 5 positions per year under this stream

Benefits of GTS over existing TSS

The GTS offers several benefits to businesses (and individuals) over the TSS visa. These include:

  • the ability to negotiate variance from standard TSS visa requirements (including access to a 4 year TSS visa);
  • transitional pathway to permanent residence after 3 years (including negotiable age concessions);
  • visa validity of up to 4 years and access to permanent residency pathway (for occupations not listed on the Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL);
  • simpler agreement applications; and
  • expedited processing for start-ups.

The above benefits are helpful incentives available to businesses to attract (and retain) key personnel where there are skill shortages. This allows the business to offer an individual a streamlined pathway to a more attractive visa than the standard TSS visa.

How to apply

This program is not immediately available to all companies. In its current format, the GTS resembles an expedited Labour Agreement without much of the bureaucracy.

Where a business believes that they meet the above criteria, they are to contact the Department of Home Affairs (Department) with a description of the positions unavailable or restricted due to the occupation lists.

The business will then need to complete a GTS request form and return it with the required supporting documentation (including evidence of LMT). In the case of a start-up, the business will be assessed by the GTS start-up advisory panel.

Once the application has been assessed positively, the Department will send over the GTS agreement for the business’ signature after which the business may lodge TSS applications under the GTS agreement.

Analysis

Hannan Tew support the government’s actions in implementing a system that has the potential to benefit Australian businesses and particularly start-ups.

As the scheme will be trialled for 1 year with periodic review and refinement, many of the specifics remain unavailable (i.e. who is on the start-up advisory panel and how much information about the business will they have access to, how will the above criteria be assessed, what does the ability to have ‘flexibility’ in certain visa criteria mean). We encourage there to be greater transparency about the program and criteria to be met.

In the short term, it does permit certain established businesses and start-ups to recruit foreign workers for longer periods of time in “off-list” occupations. Given the issues many start-ups had with the occupation list changes last year, the GTS appears to be a promising alternative.

Next Steps

The Global Talent Scheme has already commenced and will continue to be piloted until June 2019.  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.

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