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What the Global Talent Scheme means for Australian startups

What the Global Talent Scheme means for startups

In a time of significant advancement and change, startups need the ability to access a global talent pool to thrive and grow.


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The introduction of the Temporary Skilled Shortage (TSS) visa by the Australian Government in March 2018 tightened the requirements for individuals to obtain an employer sponsored work visa to Australia. The reduced list of eligible occupations combined with stricter English language requirements has left Australian businesses, particularly startups, with a resourcing dilemma: how does a business attract and retain the best and brightest international talent?

The solution – the Global Talent Scheme (GTS)

The GTS is a pilot program introduced under the TSS visa program which will run for 12 months from 1 July 2018 and touted as a solution to the restrictive nature of the TSS visa. The GTS has been positioned as benefiting Australia and Australian workers as it is only for employers who need to fill highly skilled positions that cannot be filled from the domestic labour market and through the other visa programs on offer, particularly the short-term and medium-term streams of the TSS visa program.

The GTS is made up of two distinct streams: the Established business stream and the Start-up stream.

Established business stream requirements

  • Companies must be publicly-listed or have an annual turnover of at least AUD$2 million for each of the past 2 years.
  • Employers must be accredited sponsors with the Department of Home Affairs ('Home Affairs').
  • They will need to be able to demonstrate that they already prioritise the employment of Australians and have a track record of hiring and training Australians.
  • They must not have any breaches of workplace or immigration law.
  • The grant of the visa will result in a transfer of skills to their Australian workforce.
  • The nominated position must be labour market tested and annual earnings offered for the role must be at least AUD$180,000.

Start-up stream requirements

  • The startup business must be technology-based or STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) related, and recognised by a 'startup advisory panel' as appointed by the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs.
  • Either the startup has received an investment of at least AUD$50,000 from an investment fund registered as an Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnership or the startup has received an Accelerating Commercialisation Grant at any time.
  • They will need to be able to demonstrate that the GTS will support job opportunities and skills transfer to Australians.
  • They must not have any breaches of workplace or immigration law.
  • The nominated position must be labour market tested and annual earnings offered for the role must be at the market salary rate.

Businesses can utilise the GTS by registering their interest with Home Affairs noting the occupations that are desired under the program. This involves an initial self-assessment against the eligibility criteria outlined above. If eligible, Home Affairs will forward the application for completion and will make their assessment of the application within 6-11 days. If successful, the GTS agreement will be forwarded to the business for signature to enable access to the GTS.

How is the scheme of benefit to businesses?

The key benefit of both streams of the Global Talent Scheme is that it provides businesses with highly skilled foreign individuals an opportunity to offer employment for a 4-year temporary visa (where this may not be available under the TSS scheme) and affords them a pathway to Australian permanent residence after 3 years of employment in Australia.

This is a significant drawcard for startup employers in the technology space seeking to attract talent in roles that did not exist even 5 years ago. Roles such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) Developer, Augmented Reality Developer, Virtual Reality Developer and Internet of Things Engineers and Developers are emerging and we simply do not have a large talent pool here in Australia for businesses to draw on. We know that startups are driven by curiosity and innovation and entrepreneurs need access to a scheme that is flexible enough to grow as their business grows.

Contact us

Our immigration team can assist your business by helping to navigate the complexities of this emergent scheme. Please contact us with any queries.

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