The Global Talent Visa is the Australian Government’s latest project with the nation more enthusiastic than ever to attract high-value enterprises and talented individuals. A new Taskforce has been created to locate and prioritise high talent individuals, and a new ministerial direction has set out which areas of expertise Australia is looking for.
Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce
In January 2021 the Australian Government expanded and renamed the Distinguished Talent Visa as the Global Talent Visa in a bid to attract more technologically talented people to migrate. This name change reflects the wider requirement for talent as Australia now searches for the “crème de la crème” to rebuild its post-Covid economy.
While most aspects remain unchanged, a Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce has been established to search for talented individuals. This team is led by Mr Peter Verwer, the new Special Envoy for Global Business and Talent Attraction. A new Visa pathway has been created for candidates who have been endorsed by the Envoy, which fast-tracks their application.
Mr Verwer will lead the Taskforce to attract high-value enterprises and exceptionally talented individuals to bring their skills to Australia and boost national prosperity. Though an endorsement from the Envoy itself will not be enough to guarantee a Global Talent Visa, it will give applicants a distinct and significant advantage. The Taskforce has already assisted bringing people to Australia in several fields listed later in this blog.
How does one apply?
To be eligible to apply for the Global Talent Visa Program, individuals must:
- prove that they are internationally recognised, showing evidence of outstanding and exceptional achievements;
- provide evidence that they would be an asset to Australia in their field of expertise;
- be prominent in their field of expertise;
- be able to easily obtain employment in Australia or becoming established in their field;
- have a recognised organisation or individual in Australia, in the same field of work as the applicant, endorse them as Global Talent.
There are two stages for the Global Talent Pathway process. The first stage is the Expression of Interest (EOI). If you receive an invitation from Australia following your EOI, the second stage is the Visa application. Once the Visa application is submitted, it needs to be processed.
The processing times for EOIs currently vary substantially. On average, the Global Talent Pathway Visa application takes between one and three months. However, applicants who secure priority status under Ministerial Direction 89 are receiving EOI responses even between 1 week and 2 months.
The Department has informed that they are currently considering EOIs submitted since July 2020. Those who do not meet the priority requirements have been waiting up to 8-9 months for a response. Applicants for the old Distinguished Talent Pathway visa are waiting even longer, with processing time taking up to 20 months!
The long waits do not mean that it is not worth applying. However, you must be aware that if your Occupation is not one that the Australian government is presently seeking, you would have to await your turn in the queue.
How Do I Get Priority Status?
As of February 2021, the Ministerial Direction 89 states that priority status will be given to applicants with expertise or talent in the following sectors:
- Agri-food and AgTech;
- Health industries;
- Defence, advanced manufacturing and space;
- Circular economy;
- Infrastructure and tourism;
- Financial services and FinTech; and
The Department has advised that applicants who have already submitted an Expression of Interest do not need to submit a further EOI, or to contact the department to change their target sector. The Department says it is not rigid about the sectors, and is taking a flexible approach to ensure the right candidates receive invitations. You therefore should not worry too much if you have already submitted your EOI and it does not match the new sectors exactly. You will not be at a disadvantage if you have the skills required by the Department.
The Fair Work High Income Threshold
The Ministerial Direction 89 also states that top priority will be given to these applicants (in order of priority):
- where there is a written offer of employment from an Australian employer, with an annual salary equal to or higher than the Fair Work High Income Threshold (FWHIT);
- the applicant’s current income is equal to or higher than the FWHIT; or
- where there is evidence that the applicant is likely to attain an income equal to or higher than the FWHIT.
The current Fair Work High Income Threshold is presently AUD $153,600 per year. To be successful, candidates need to be already earning, or having the ability to earn, a minimum of this figure in the Australian labour market.
This figure is expected to rise on 1st July 2021. The previous High Income Threshold increase was 3.3%.
A point to note is that the candidates’ income will be assessed at the time the application is processed, and not when it is applied for. Potential applicants should consider whether they can meet the new forecasted threshold before commencing the process. If you submit your application and you are earning AUD $153,600 but it does not get processed until June 2021, your salary may be considered as too low.
The end of the financial year is approaching, and this is the opportunity to apply for Expressions of Interest and to submit your application.
Expiry of Invitations
A recent development is that Global Talent invitations now have an expiry date. If you had received an invitation over 12 months ago and have not yet applied, your invitation has now expired, and you will need to submit a new form.
Those applicants who have already received an invitation along with a code and reference identifier, should submit their applications as soon as possible.
Allocations for Planning Year 2021-2022
What will the allocations be for the current planning year (Jul 2021 to Jun 2022)?
In a recent presentation by the Department of Home affairs, much enthusiasm was shown for the GT Visa program. The Department is expanding its Global Outreach Officers and Business and Industry Outreach Officers. However, there has been cautious allocation of numbers and this planning year the number is 10,000.