Five Key Considerations for a Successful GTI Application

As stated in the Australian Federal Government 2020-2021 Budget (see our blog here for details), the Australian Government has firmly established its intention to attract international talent to Australia by tripling the visa quota under the Global Talent Independent Program (GTI).

A GTI program is a pathway for highly skilled professionals to obtain a Distinguished Talent visa to live and work in Australia permanently. However, not all highly professionals will successfully qualify under the program. We take you through five key points to consider and address for a successful GTI application.

1. Areas of talent

Under the GTI program, candidates must have an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in one of the following areas:

  • AgTech;
  • Space and Advanced Manufacturing;
  • FinTech;
  • Energy and Mining Technology;
  • MedTech;
  • Cyber Security; or
  • Quantum Information, Advanced Digital, Data Science and ICT.

The program includes opportunities for PhD Graduates and Students in the above sectors. Students in this cohort can start the GTI process as soon as they know that they will submit their thesis in the next 6 months.

It is important to note that from 20 January 2021, Masters and Bachelor with Honours graduates are no longer eligible for invitation to the GTI program on the basis of their qualifications alone. Any candidates in this cohort who have received an invitation reference identifier will still be eligible to continue with a visa application. Those who have not received an invitation reference identifier will need to consider alternative pathways.

2. Exceptional and Outstanding

A GTI candidate must have an exceptional and outstanding achievement. This indicates that they should be considered at or near the top of their field in the area of the achievement. Applicant need to demonstrate a strong record of outstanding achievements, and that they are still prominent in their field of expertise.

This would include evidence of awards, patents, publications, memberships, and senior roles in the nominated field. Details of projects, research, and other professional recognition should also be provided.

In addition, the applicant must be nominated by a recognised organisation or individual in Australia who is in the same field as the applicant. The nominator must have a national reputation in their industry or field (that is, they are recognised in Australia for their work in the nominated field), and must be able to provide details on the GTI candidate's background and achievements.

3. Internationally Recognised

Exceptional and outstanding achievements must be internationally recognised. Generally, this means providing evidence of recognition in countries other than the applicant's home country.

Under certain circumstances, recognition in the home country may be considered at the international level. This could include significant achievement in major international projects. This requirement is assessed by Immigration on a case-by-case basis, so there is some flexibility here.

4. Asset to Australia

GTI applicants need to show how their skills and achievements would be an asset to Australia. They must demonstrate how their knowledge and experience will positively impact Australia's economy, add to project development and research, give Australia a competitive advantage, or introduce new skills to the Australian community.

Applicants must also demonstrate that there should be no difficulty for them to secure employment or become established in their field in Australia. Evidence of job opportunities in the nominated field should be provided, and in some cases, statements setting out how the skills and work experience of the applicant align with the job/s on offer.

Applicants of this calibre are expected to attract a salary at or above the Fair Work High Income Threshold (FWHIT), which is currently AU$153,600. The FWHIT increases each year on 1 July, so applicants who currently just meet the threshold should consider the timing of their application carefully.

5. Processing Priorities

The Minister for Immigration has made a formal direction that sets out the processing priority for applications in the GTI program. Highest priority is given to applicants who:

  • Have made an application in relation to one of the following sectors (within the target areas):
    • Resources;
    • Agri-food and AgTech;
    • Energy;
    • Health industries;
    • Defence, advanced manufacturing and space;
    • Circular economy;
    • Digitech;
    • Infrastructure and tourism;
    • Financial services and FinTech;
    • Education;
  • Currently earn above the Fair Work High Income Threshold (FWHIT) i.e. over AU$153,600 per annum; or
  • have a job offer from an Australian employer with a salary equivalent or greater to the FWHIT; or
  • provide evidence that they are likely to attract a salary equal or greater to the FWHIT.

Applicants who do not fall into one of the higher priority categories will still be processed, but are likely to take more time than those above.

Looking for Assistance?

The GTI program offers a streamlined permanent pathway that may be an attractive alternative for highly skilled professionals and employers looking to entice significant talent. The Acacia team has a wealth of experience with GTI cases, so for advice and assistance, please contact us today.

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