Global Talent Scheme visa pilot begins

The Federal Government have been focussing on new visa programmes to attract enterprising and entrepreneurial talent. This includes awarding extra points for masters and doctorate degrees in STEM fields, and a dedicated entrepreneurial business stream for those who have sourced relevant funding.

There is now one more under the Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa: the Global Talent Scheme (GTS). The GTS is designed for highly skilled and niche positions that cannot be filled by Australian workers or through other visa programmes.

The Department of Home Affairs (Home Affairs) will be taking applications for the next 12 months, the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural affairs recently announced.

The GTS has two streams: one for established businesses who will have access to up to 20 positions per year, and another for start-ups who will have up to 5 positions per year. Both will require labour market testing to ensure no local worker can be adequately sourced, and with an emphasis on local job creation and skill transfer, among other requirements. Visa holders under the GTS will have a pathway to a permanent visa after working for their sponsoring business for at least three years.

Home Affairs have provided a fact sheet for those wanting to consider accessing this visa, with more details on their website.

There are some interesting observations to this pilot, namely:

  • It appears to operate similar to a labour agreement – There are no regulations stipulating any criteria for approval other than what is listed in policy. Similar to the scant regulations for labour agreements, access to the GTS is presumably at the discretion of Home Affairs. Indeed, as visa criteria for the GTS is designed to be flexible, it appears that any 482 visa application would be under the Labour Agreement stream;
  • It is supposed to operate when standard business sponsorship and labour agreements are inappropriate – It stands to be said that if Australia was attempting to attract global, high-skilled talent, is this not the purpose of a 482 visa through a standard business sponsorship anyway? It seems implausible for the relevant occupation lists to not be geared towards STEM and entrepreneurial niche occupations.

In addition to the GTS, there will also be another pilot to support innovation for South Australia, as previously promised by the Minister for Home Affairs. Details for this programme have yet to be released other than it will be implemented in 2019.

One must wonder after the mixed results of previous attempts to innovate the Australian businesses landscape through immigration, whether the results of the GTS will prove fruitful.