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What is a Global Talent (formerly Distinguished Talent) visa? (updated: 23 March 2021)

By March 23, 20216 Comments

global talent

The Global Talent visa is one of the more interesting and unique visas to Australia, offering permanent residency to individuals who have an “internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement” in an eligible area.

The purpose of this visa is to attract highly skilled/talented individuals in their field to come to Australia, where they would elevate Australia’s standards internationally, introduce or transfer skills to Australia, elevate Australia’s competitiveness and reputation, and/or make a significant positive cultural or social impact on the community.

On 14 November 2020, the two subclasses for this visa (previously the onshore/offshore version) were merged into one subclass, being the Subclass 858 visa.

On 27 February 2021, the Distinguished Talent visa was renamed the Global Talent visa. The Subclass (858) remained the same.

How can I be eligible for the Global Talent visa?

This visa targets individuals with 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.

For the 2020/21 Migration Program year, the Australian government also announced the Global Talent Independent (GTI) program would offer 15,000 fast-tracked spots under this visa to individuals across 7 targeted sectors (relating to technology). You can read more about this program here.

How do I apply?

There are two stages of a Distinguished Talent visa:

  1. a nomination; and
  2. the visa application itself.

Although the visa application is 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.

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).

We recommend:

  • reviewing your nominators profile to ensure that they have a “national reputation” before asking them to assist; and
  • sending the Form 1000 to your nominator when you first ask them to assist to ensure that they’re comfortable with providing what is 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 international awards, held high rankings, had media coverage of their achievements/work, made publications (general/academic), hold patents, spoken at conferences, work in highly innovative areas with emerging technologies, and/or have held senior positions at international companies.

Individuals who are either under 18 years, or 55 years and older must demonstrate that they would be of “exceptional benefit” to the Australian community.

The visa applicant must also be of good health and character, which means that police clearances and health examinations must be provided/undertaken.

How many of these visas are granted each?

For the 2020/21 Migration Program year, it is anticipated that 200 spots are allocated to individuals for the Distinguished Talent visa application.

For the same period, a separate 15,000 spots were allocated under the GTI program.

How much does it cost?

Main Applicant
Dependent (18+)




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:


$ 350

Plus GST
  • Review of Documents
  • Discussion on Prospects
  • Consideration of other options
Book Now


$ 4,000

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


Hannan Tew Lawyers have assisted a significant number of individuals for this visa including both under the GTI program, and the Distinguished Talent visa (not under the GTI program).

With significant experience with this visa, we have the knowledge and experience to understand your profile and convey the importance of your achievements, research, experience, and skill sets to the Department to improve your prospects of receiving 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 queries 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 6 Comments

  • Avatar Annie says:

    Dear Mr. Tew!
    My brother is
    -a university lecturer in Vietnam, civil engineering major.
    -PhD (full scholarship, completed 2/ 2019) in the same major in Korea. Had 46 presentations in many countries including Australia, have 21 journals, in which 12 publications are in Q1 (top 25% of journals) and Q2 (top 25-50% journals) in the SCI and SCIE list
    (Note: SCI and SCIE are Science Citation Index and Science Citation Index Expanded, respectively)
    – hold 1 patent
    -Contributed over 15-year experiences in building many foreign and domestic large-size construction projects in Vietnam.
    Can he be eligible to apply for this distinguished talent visa – academic and research area?
    Thank you so much
    Kind regards,

    • admin admin says:

      Hi Annie,
      Thanks for getting in touch.
      Do you mean applying directly for Distinguished Talent without the GTI program? If so, even with his achievements will be difficult unless he has support from a peak body.
      We can certainly consider this (and the GTI visa) further if you’d like to send us an email to [email protected].
      Kind regards,
      Hannan Tew

      • Avatar Annie says:

        Dear Mr.Tew,

        Thank you so much for your prompt reply. Yes, I meant applying for Distinguished Talent directly. I dont think he can apply for GT since he is a civil engineering and his PhD is about Quantitative Evaluation of Deteriorations for Concrete Bridge Structures using Square Pulse Thermography. It doesnt fall under 7 sectors even mining or energy tech, does it?

  • Avatar Annie says:

    He is a Member of Bridge and Road Association of Khanh Hoa Province, Member of Vietnam Bridge and Road Association. Can it be a peak body?

  • Avatar Laith says:

    Hi Admin,

    Thank you so much for the information.

    I have two questions if you don’t mind.

    1- when this program(Global Talent) visa will end? I’m a Ph.D. student and two months away from finishing my Ph.D.

    2- as I know this program is moving from one country to another, what country do you think that the program will go to after Australia?

    • admin admin says:

      Hi Laith,
      No worries, to your questions:
      (1) The current 15,000 positions are for this financial year (ending 30 June) but the program is almost certainly going to be extended;
      (2) This is an Australia specific program so it’s not something that moves around. I’m sure other countries have similar programs however as the world looks to attract talent.
      Good luck!
      Kind regards,
      Hannan Tew

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