The Global Talent Scheme – Opportunities for Employers

Global Talent Scheme

The Global Talent Scheme is the main initiative in the Government’s aim to create a more targeted migration program.

This article looks into the Global Talent Scheme and examines the benefits for businesses and individuals.

What is the Global Talent Scheme?

There are two parts to the Global Talent Scheme:

  1. Global Talent – Employer Sponsored (GTES)
  2. Global Talent – Independent (GTI)

Global Talent – Employer Sponsored (GTES)

The employer sponsored stream gives businesses preferential access to the Temporary Skills Shortage Subclass 482 Visa (TSS Visa), and also a pathway onto permanent employer sponsored ENS and RSMS visas.

Employers must negotiate a Labour Agreement with the Department of Home Affairs. This will then allow applications for TSS visas with concessions on certain requirements. For example:

  • Positions not on the usual occupations list can be nominated
  • The TSS visa can be valid for up to 4 years. TSS visas are usually valid for only 2 years for occupations on the STSOL (Short-term Skilled Occupation List)
  • Permanent employer sponsored ENS and RSMS options are available. In general, the occupation must be on the MLTSSL (Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List) for ENS or Regional List for RSMS options. Age concessions are also available for GTES sponsors – generally the maximum age for ENS and RSMS is 44 years
  • Priority processing of the TSS visa – processing within 5 business days for visas and nominations versus 32 on average for the TSS program. Indicative processing time for the labour agreement is 6-11 days, which is much shorter than the usual processing time for labour agreements.

There are two different streams depending on the status of the employer:

  1. Startup Stream – for technology or STEM startup businesses.
  2. Established Business Stream – businesses which are listed or which have at least AUD 4 million turnover for the last 2 years and are accredited TSS sponsors

To be approved, employers must conduct labour market testing and show that the skills required are not available in Australia, and cannot be secured by other visa programs. Employers also need to show that sponsorship will result in skills transfer and job opportunities for Australians.

The number of places available is quite limited – up to 5 for each startup and 20 for established businesses.

Higher minimum salary requirements apply for the GTES program – $80,000 for the Startup Stream and $ 148,700 for the Established Business Stream (the Fair Work High Income Threshold). Usually, he position must have a salary of at least $53,900 for the TSS Stream, though this is higher for certain occupations.

Benefits of the GTES

The main benefits of the GTES are as follows:

  • Range of occupations: for occupations not on the usual occupations list, the GTES is a great way to get access to these for TSS visas. This is particularly important for industries which are developing quickly and do not fit traditional occupations
  • Processing Time: where employers need to move quickly to secure talent, the GTES also gives an advantage. In particular, labour agreements generally take a long time to finalise, and it appears that the GTES has a faster, streamlined process for approval.
  • Employee Continuity: the longer validity period (4 years) and access to permanent pathways allows employers to secure the services of highly skilled staff for longer

Track Record of the GTES Program

The GTES program was launched on 1 July 2018 as a 12 month pilot. As of 18 June 2019, there were 18 agreements. 13 of these have been for established businesses, and only 5 for startup businesses.

So far, the main beneficiaries have been established businesses and most articles indicate that usage by start-up businesses is lower than expected.

Nevertheless, the Government announced in August 2019 that the pilot had been successful and that the GTES will continue to be available.

Global Talent Independent Program

The Global Talent Independent Program was announced in December 2018. This involves the setting aside of 5,000 places in the migration program for candidates identified by the Department of Home Affairs as being the best of the best in targeted high growth industries. Note that these are not additional places, but places which are already in the 160,000 migration program cap.

Identified candidates would then apply for either:

  • General Skilled Migration; or
  • Distinguished Talent

General Skilled Migration

This is a relatively large migration program (68,111 places in 2017-18). However, it has been much more difficult in 2018-19 to apply for this program.

To apply for General Skilled Migration, you must first be invited to apply through SkillSelect. These invitations have been very difficult to obtain in the last 12 months. If the GTI stream results in an automatic invitation, this would be a huge benefit – it could possibly operate on a similar basis to the current State Nomination system.

This program requires a skills assessment in an occupation on the approved list – this can be quite restrictive for certain industries which are developing quickly and do not correspond to recognised occupations. Many STEM occupations are not on the MLTSSL list for the Skilled Independent stream – examples include R&D Manager, Mathematician, and many IT specialisations. If a wider list is available to GTI stream applicants, that would be highly beneficial.

Distinguished Talent

This is currently a very small program with only 200 places allocated each year. The criteria are very difficult to meet. Applicants need to be outstanding in their field – generally a particular occupation, sport or the arts. This is a very subjective criterion, and most refusals are on the basis that the person is not sufficiently outstanding.

Applicants need to be nominated by someone who is recognised as exceptional in the same field in Australia. They also need to show that they are able to establish themselves in Australia and to be of benefit to the Australian community.

At this stage, it is not clear if being identified through the GTI stream will lead to some or all of these criteria being relaxed or modified.


Whilst the Global Talent Scheme is relatively new, it does certainly have some potential to attract the “best and brightest”.

The Employer Sponsored Stream has useful concessions on occupation, better processing times and allows employers to secure staff for longer.

Details are more scant on the Independent Program. If there is to be streamlining of the requirements for General Skilled Migration and Distinguished Talent for identified candidates, this program could be quite beneficial also.