The Australian Government announced that the planning level for the 2023-24 permanent Migration Program will be set at 190,000 places, with 52,500 places allocated to the Skill stream, of which the Global Talent visa program belongs. We had previously speculated that there may be a reduction in the quota for the GTI (Independent) visa stream, but it’s good to see that it remains at 5,000 places for the 2023-24 program year (01 Jul to 30 Jun). In contrast, the Distinguished Talent visa stream is allocated only 300 places.
The main difference between the Global Talent and Distinguished Talent stream (both of which are classified as Class BX, Subclass 858, visas) is Direction 89. This ministerial direction gives the highest priority to Subclass 858 visa applications made in relation to target sectors (or related sectors) where:
- There is written communication from an Australian employer offering employment in Australia, with an annual salary equivalent to or higher than the Fair Work High Income Threshold (FWHIT); or
- The primary applicant’s current earnings are an amount equal to or greater than the FWHIT; or
- There is evidence the primary applicant is likely to attract a salary that is equal to or greater than the FWHIT.
Applications that fall into the above purview (i.e. the Global Talent Independent stream) will be given priority processing under Direction 89. Applications that are not made under the target sectors, without evidence of current or future earnings equal to or above the FWHIT, will not receive priority processing. With the invitation, applications can be made only in the Distinguished Talent Stream, and the processing time usually exceed 12 months.
What is not mentioned in Direction 89 is that, to receive priority processing, applications for the Global Talent stream would also require an invitation, from the Department of Home Affairs after applicants submit an online Expression of Interest. The EOI process is subject to heightened competition due the attractiveness and popularity of the programme. Only candidates of the highest calibre, who meet (and even exceed) all eligibility requirements, will be invited to apply under the Global Talent stream. Without the invitation code – and regardless of whether applicants are in the target sector and meet the FWHIT – their application would not be prioritised under Direction 89.
At one stage in 2022, we had advice from the Department that a Distinguished Talent Visa Stream application may be converted to a Global Talent Stream application, if the visa applicant later submits an EOI and receives an invitation. However, the practicality of this process seems uncertain and the process is subject to policy changes.
Why apply under the Distinguished Talent Stream
- If the candidate’s achievements can not be aligned with a target sector, but in other areas such as arts, sports, academia.
- If the candidate’s earnings is far under the FWHIT or they are not able to demonstrate capacity to achieve an earning above the FWHIT level.
Benefit of a Global Talent visa granted in the Distinguished Talent Stream
The main benefit for people holding a global talent visa granted in the Distinguished Talent Stream is that they are able to access the concession residence requirements for the purpose of qualifying for Australian citizenship.
Under current arrangements applicants for citizenship must meet the general residence requirement which provides that they have lived in Australia on a valid visa for the past 4 years and were absent for no more than 12 months in that time. They must also have been a permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen and absent from Australia for no more than 90 days during the 12 months before applying.
Currently, the special residence requirement, announced by the Department in 2021, may apply for a range of Global Talent visa holders in the Distinguished Talent Stream, who due to their work undertake significant international travel and where it is in the Australian national interest including Australian representative sportspeople, ships’ crew, senior businesspeople, research scientists, and distinguished artists.
The special / concessional residence requirement provides that an applicant has held a valid visa for the last four years, living in Australia for at least 480 days during that time, and must have been a permanent resident and in Australia for 120 days in the year immediately before applying. The concessional residence requirement will now also apply to past, present and future Distinguished Talent stream visa holders.
Global Talent stream visa holders continues to be subject to the general residence requirements for citizenship.
If you are thinking about, or are in the process of, submitting an EOI under the Global Talent stream, or if you need assistance in deciding the best stream to apply for the Global Talent visa, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +61279009570.