New visa scheme to attract foreign talent launches July 1st

| March 20, 2018

A new visa scheme to attract highly skilled global talent and deliver innovation to Australia will be piloted from 1 July of this year.

The Government recognises there is fierce competition globally for high-tech skills and talent, and that attracting these people helps to transfer skills to Australian workers and grow Australian-based businesses.

The Global Talent Scheme will consist of two components. Established businesses with an annual turnover of more than $4 million will be able to sponsor highly skilled and experienced individuals for positions with earnings above $180,000 into Australia.

The employers will need to be able to demonstrate that they prioritise the employment of Australians and that there will be skills transfer to Australian workers as a result of the person being granted a visa.

The sponsoring business must have a track record of hiring and training Australians.

Technology-based and STEM-related start-up businesses will also be able to sponsor experienced people with specialised technology skills.

Start-ups will need to be recognised by a start-up authority and demonstrate that they prioritise the employment of Australians.

In the both instances, a four year Temporary Skill Shortage visa will be issued with permanent residence applications available after three years.

The Government will consult further on the details of the scheme over the next few months, before piloting it for 12 months, starting 1 July 2018. An industry advisory group will provide ongoing guidance for the pilot.

Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge said that the new scheme is recognition that global talent is in high demand and we need to provide pathways for Australian businesses to access this.

“We want to ensure that Australian businesses can access the best talent in the world, because this will underpin business growth, skills transfer and job creation,” Minister Tudge said.

“At all stages, Australians are prioritised for the jobs, but where the skills and experience are not available here, we want to be able to attract talent from overseas.

“This is part of the ongoing reforms to our skilled visa programs to ensure that Australians have priority for Australian jobs, but acknowledge that there are times when the skills are not available in the country.”

Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash said the new scheme will particularly help Australian employers in our growing innovation sector and help them to create more Australian jobs.

“Industry figures say globally mobile, highly skilled and experienced staff can act as ‘job multipliers’ in Australian businesses, helping them to hire more local staff and fill critical areas of need,” Minister Cash said.

Start-up Aus reaction

Australia’s peak national startup group, StartupAUS, welcomed the Federal Government’s proactive approach to helping startups access international talent through the Global Talent Scheme and CEO Alex McCauley hailed the changes as a breakthrough for high growth tech companies.

“Being able to access the right kind of talent quickly is the core challenge for fast-growing technology companies and startups in Australia. A little while ago the Government flagged it wanted to do more to help trusted businesses access visas quickly and easily.

“Typically in Australia that would mean big, established businesses. Thanks to input from StartupAUS and others, there’s now a ‘startup stream’ which will help genuine startups access these new favourable arrangements too. That’s a real win for the sector and for companies looking to hire top quality global talent to help them grow. It’s encouraging to see the Government has really listened on this”, he said.

“These changes should help young Australian tech businesses compete more effectively on the global stage. That will allow them to grow quickly and hire more Australians across the business. It’s a good bet that everyone hired on one of these visas will be a net job creator for Australians.”

Mr McCauley added that including equity in salary considerations for startups was a step forward, saying “we’ve been making the case for a long time that startups need to be treated a bit differently in situations like this.”

“When you’re looking at how much startups are prepared to pay people, you have to take equity into account. Just about every startup in the world uses equity as a lever to help attract top talent, so you can’t ignore it. The Government has listened to us on that one, which is a very positive sign.”

Mr McCauley also noted that it would be important for government and industry to work closely together to identify startups which qualify for the scheme.

“As part of the vetting process for this and future pilot schemes, startups will need to be identified by an expert group, which is working closely with the startup community. The important thing is that there remains close industry collaboration and consultation.”

According to LinkedIn data, prepared for TechSydney and StartupAUS for submission to the visa consultation, high-tech and finance companies accounted for 44 per cent of hires from January to August 2017; followed by manufacturing at 9 per cent, education at 7 per cent and government at 6 per cent.

New Entrepreneur visa announced
The federal government has also announced plans to pilot a new entrepreneur visa that would allow entrepreneurs with an ‘innovative idea and a supporting business plan’ to apply for a temporary visa to build their venture in Australia.

The initiative will be piloted in SA before a national rollout and does not require applicants to demonstrate capital backing of at least $200,000, unlike the current visa.

Instead, applicants can be nominated by local incubators and accelerators and will be reviewed by state or federal government entities.

Speaking to, StartupAUS COO Alex Gruszka commended the new visa pilot saying it was a step in the right direction.

‘Removing the onerous funding requirement creates a much more realistic chance of attracting entrepreneurs to start businesses in Australia and create local jobs.’

As part of the initiative, applicants who are successful in establishing their business in Australia would be eligible for permanent residence to expand the venture.