In March 2018, the Federal Government announced two new Global Talent Scheme (GTS) visa categories. One category is for established businesses and the other is the Australian startup visa. Both streams fall under the Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) visa subclass. The initiative aims to attract high-tech skills and global talent to assist Australian businesses to grow. It will commence with a pilot period from July 2018 to June 2019. This article answers frequently asked questions regarding the new Australian startup visa and the eligibility requirements both for businesses and individuals.

1. What is the Australian Startup Visa?

The startup stream is designed to attract top quality global talent in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries. The program allows Australian startups to have faster access to overseas talent.

Therefore, Australian startups can compete more effectively globally. In particular, the visa aims to attract senior software engineers, digital growth specialists, data scientists and those with experience in blockchain and telematics.

2. What are the Eligibility Requirements for Australian Businesses?

For an Australian business to be eligible to employ someone via the startup visa, the business must operate in a STEM-related field and prioritise Australian workers.

Businesses must also pay current employees either through an enterprise agreement or an internal salary table, reflecting current market salary rates. Further, an expert group must also vet and endorse the business for it to be eligible.

3. What is the Vetting Process?

An expert group working closely with the startup community will conduct the vetting process. The Government is yet to confirm who exactly is in the expert group, but the group will include individuals from influential incubators and accelerators. The Government will consult with stakeholders and industry leaders in STEM fields and will then choose the expert group.

4. What Additional Requirements Must the Overseas Individual Satisfy?

The individual from overseas must meet health, character and security requirements prescribed by the Department of Home Affairs. Additionally, the applicant must have:

  • no familial relationship with the directors or shareholders;
  • qualifications that reflect the highly-skilled role;
  • at least three years’ relevant work experience; and
  • capacity to pass on skills and develop Australian workers and businesses.

If the individual does not meet the above requirements, they may not be eligible for the startup visa.

5. What are the Key Features of the Visa?

The startup visa falls under the TSS Visa. Therefore, if an overseas individual is eligible under the GTS, they will receive a TSS visa. The TSS visa lasts for four years and the individual can apply for permanent residence after three years. The TSS visa provides a simpler application process and faster processing than previous visas.

However, if the position of the individual with the TSS visa no longer exists or the startup ceases trading, the visa holder has 60 days to find a new startup as a sponsor and a new visa. If the visa holder fails to find a new sponsor and visa within 60 days, they will need to depart Australia.

Key Takeaways

The GTS is set to start in July 2018 and legislative provisions are yet to be passed. It aims to promote the immigration of highly qualified individuals with STEM backgrounds to assist the shortfall of talent in Australia’s startup sphere. Further, it allows Australian startups to compete on a global level. However, it is important to keep in mind that there are necessary requirements that both overseas individuals and businesses looking to hire from overseas must meet.

If you have any questions about visa applications or eligibility under the new Australian startup visa, get in touch with LegalVision’s immigration lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

Allison Hendriks
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