The Global Talent Independent Program (GTI program) was launched in November 2019 to offer a streamlined, priority visa pathway for highly skilled and talented people. This program is part of the category of Distinguished Talent Visas and will allow exceptional individuals to work and live permanently in Australia. There is also the added possibility that these individuals may later be able to apply for Australian citizenship, if eligible.
Depending on where you are at the time of your application, you could apply for the GTI program under either:
- Subclass 124 Distinguished Talent Visa (offshore)
- Subclass 858 Distinguished Talent Visa (onshore)
The intention of this program is to attract skilled migrants to future-focused fields that will help Australia promote innovation and excellence. The target sectors are:
- Space and Advanced Manufacturing
- Energy and Mining Technology
- Cyber Security
- Quantum Information, Advanced Digital, Data Science and ICT.
Initial information has suggested that applicants must have the ability to attract a salary at or above the Fair Work High Income Threshold (FWHIT) which is currently AU$148,700 per annum. The FWHIT is adjusted annually on 1 July.
The Department may consider your current salary as evidenced by your payslips or employment contract, future job offers, or whether you are a recent PhD or Masters graduate in a target sector.
The GTI program could provide an excellent option for highly skilled people to live and work in Australia. However, you would not be remiss in thinking that this visa only provides an option for a niche range of applicants.
Am I eligible?
It appears that eligibility for this program is not only limited to high income earners in the above target sectors. However, the legislation and associated policy is limited as this program is relatively new.
Based on our review of the policy and directions which are available, it seems that priority will be given to high income earners in the target fields. There is nothing in the wording of the current legislation that suggests that other applicants cannot apply, hence, those that don't meet those criteria may also be successful.
You will need an acceptable nominator to support your application. The nominator must have a national reputation in the same field as you and be either an Australian citizen, eligible New Zealand citizen or an Australian organisation. This could even include a nomination from a relevant industry association. For example, if you work in ICT, you may be able to seek a nomination from the Australian Computer Society (ACS).
How do I apply?
Expressions of interest can be submitted through the Global Talent Contact Form on the Department of Home Affairs' website here. If you are identified by the Department as a potential candidate, they will provide you with a unique identifier which you can then use to submit your application through ImmiAccount.
A note on the impact of COVID-19
It is important to keep in mind that the COVID-19 outbreak has had a significant impact on Australian migration. Visa processing times overall appear to have been extended and most nations (including Australia) are still imposing strict travel restrictions or bans. It is likely that this could continue until the COVID-19 outbreak is controlled both in Australia and internationally. We anticipate that in future there may be a change to the way in which visa applications are processed and further which types of visas are prioritised. We believe it is possible that visas like the GTI program may present a viable option for many visa applicants moving forward. For the latest updates on Australia's immigration and border arrangements during COVID-19, please click here.
This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.