There has been a major change in Australian Migration in 2020 with the introduction of the Global Talent Independent (GTI) program. This program has shifted the focus substantially away from the Skilled Independent 189 visa. GTI is a streamlined visa pathway, and this Distinguished Talent (Subclass 858) visa is fast proving to be the more popular pathway towards an Australian Permanent Residency.


The quota for the Global Talent visa has been increased in the migration program year 2020-21 from 5,000 to 15,000 and has been kept the same for the program year 2021-22. This does not mean that the Department has lowered the standard for invitations. In fact, there is even more competition for this visa nowadays.


The above significant quota increase has naturally taken a toll on the quota for other skilled visas, mainly the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa. The Subclass 189 visa has always been highly sought by skilled applicants because it provides Permanent Residence without the requirement of State/Regional nomination or Employer Sponsorship.


However, the Subclass 189 visa process has become increasingly competitive over the years, with higher numbers of applicants lodging Expressions of Interest in SkillSelect, thus raising the bar higher each year.


Due to the significant decline of places allocated to the Skilled Migration program and the ever-increasing pool of applicants, the GTI program has now become a very serious alternative for Skilled Migrants.


The GTI program, unlike the 189 Skilled Independent visa, does not require applicants to obtain a positive Skills Assessment or to meet the minimum points threshold. However, the main purpose of the GTI program is to attract highly skilled individuals who are at the top of their fields, and who can thus help to quickly expand the Australian economy.


It is mandatory for applicants to have an internationally recognized record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in specific sectors – hence the phrase “Global Talent” in the program.


The GTI program is an attractive option for eligible Graduates in the following 10 fields:

  •         Resources
  •         Agri-food and AgTech
  •         Energy
  •         Health industries
  •         Defence, Advanced Manufacturing and Space
  •         Circular economy
  •         DigiTech
  •         Infrastructure and tourism
  •         Financial services and FinTech
  •         Education​


Recently passed out PhD and Research Graduates are the target group of the Global Talent program. Some of the key features of the GTI program over the Subclass 189:

  •         Skills assessment not required
  •         Minimum points threshold not required
  •         State/Territory Nomination / Employer Sponsorship is not required
  •         Age can be 55 years (or even older) if exceptional economic benefit to Australia can be demonstrated
  •         No Occupation list for this program
  •         Recent PhD graduates in the above target sectors are eligible and in demand to apply


Basic differences between the 189 and GTI visas:



Skilled Independent 189 Global Talent


Expression of Interest Yes Yes
Points Tested Yes No
Skills Assessment Yes No
English Requirement Competent English Functional English (or payment of 2nd VAC-see below)
Occupation List MLTSSL No
Target Sectors No Yes
Age Limit 45 55 (or even more in exceptional cases)
Australian Nominator No Yes
Visa Application Charge – VAC (Main Applicant) $4,045 $4,110
2021-2022 Planned levels 6,500 15,000


The above table is for comparison, and not an exhaustive list of visa requirements.


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