Subclass 858: Distinguished Talent Visa Australia

Subclass 858 Distinguished Talent Visa provides permanent residency to globally renowned individuals with a proven and continuing record of outstanding achievement in an eligible field. Relevant disciplines considered for Distinguished Talent Visa include sports, arts, professions, academia and research. Only highly prominent, accomplished and renowned individuals qualify for such visas. Distinguished Talent visa 858 are used for the Global Talent Independent program which is also known as the Global Talent Independent Program.  The recent amendment simplified the Distinguished Talent visa framework, repealing Subclass 124 and amending Subclass 858 whereby:
  • The application may be lodged and granted regardless of the applicants’ location
  • Holders or former holders of certain temporary and visitor visas are no longer barred from applying onshore
  • PIC 4005 health criteria are replaced with PIC 4007 which allows discretionary health waivers for the applicants and their family members
  • Family violence provisions are in place for onshore Subclass 858 applications only. The provisions are not extended to the offshore applicants

Global Talent Program

The Australian Government is competing with other developed nations to attract the best and brightest migrants from all over the world. Their commitment is evident in their decision to triple the number of intake for the Global Talent Independent Program to 15,000 for 2020-21 whilst maintaining the annual immigration quota at 160,000. It is interesting to note that since the introduction of this scheme, it has come to comprise the majority of allocated Distinguished Talent visa places. For comparison, 15,000 Global Talent visa places have been allocated, whereas only 200 were allocated for a distinguished talent visa applied for outside of the Global Talent visa scheme. The key advantages in choosing Australia is that it is a lifestyle destination, and one of the most prosperous, safe and culturally diverse countries in the world. Australia offers opportunities for innovation, with strong trading links and a business-friendly regulatory approach. Through the program, talented individuals will be given permanent residency to make their new lives in Australia. Nevertheless, the threshold for eligibility is highly stringent. Distinguished Talent visa Australia and Global Talent visa (or exceptional talent visa) open gateways of opportunities for people who are looking to start life afresh.

Target Sector

The candidates applying for talent visa must be highly skilled in one of the 7 target sectors:

  • Agricultural Technology
  • Space and Advanced Manufacturing
  • Financial Technology
  • Energy and Mining Technology
  • Medical Technology
  • Cyber Security
  • Quantum Information, Advanced Digital, Data Science and ICT

Income Threshold

Secondly, candidates applying for the Global Talent visa must meet the Fair Work high-income threshold which is currently set at $153,600 AUD and show a track record of exceptional professional achievements. The track record encompasses senior roles, patents, professional awards and international publications and memberships. Masters and PhD students may be successful candidates if they can demonstrate their exceptional talent and international recognition across the target sectors when they apply for their talent visa. In the assessment process, candidates will have to submit:
  • Current salary – to be shown through payslips or an employment contract
  • Future job offers outlining remuneration
  • Recent PhD or Masters graduates in the target sectors

Application Procedure For Global Talent Visa Australia

Application processes under the Global Talent Scheme operates in two (2) stages. 
  • The first stage involves lodgement of an Expression of Interest, upon which an applicant must await provision of an invitation prior to progressing to the second stage
  • The second stage involves the submission of an application for a Distinguished Talent visa, under Subclass 858

Expression of Interest

Prior to submitting an application pursuant to the Global Talent Scheme, applicants must lodge an Expression of Interest via an online contact form. This application will outline a prospective applicant’s satisfaction with the scheme’s criteria, including their background in an eligible sector and their satisfaction of the applicable minimum salary threshold. Successful applicants will be issued an invitation, with each invitee being provided with a unique identifier.  Note, however, that issuance of an invitation is not a guarantee of a visa outcome. The EoI process considers Global Talent Scheme specific criteria only, however, applicants must additionally satisfy general criteria for the Distinguished Talent visa 858. Invitees who fail to satisfy the Distinguished Talent visa criteria will be at risk of visa refusal.

Visa Application

Those invited under the Global Talent Scheme may lodge a priority Distinguished Talent visa application. All criteria applicable to the Distinguished Talent visa must be satisfied by Global Talent applicants, including criteria relating to sponsorship, and records of achievements.

Please see the below discussion of general Distinguished Talent visa criteria.

Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce

In addition to accepting expressions of interest, the Australian Government has implemented a comprehensive taskforce to actively identify and facilitate the migration of exceptionally talented individuals under this scheme. Only individuals identified by the task force will be offered a bespoke migration facilitation process. It is not possible to apply for consideration by this body. Currently, individuals and businesses involved in advanced manufacturing, health and fintech are prioritised by this task force. Global Talent officers are located in cities around the world, such as London, Shanghai, Singapore, and Washington DC, with the aim to promote the program by engaging with prospective applicants, business and industry in the foreign nations.

General Distinguished Visa

In contrast with 15,000 spots for global talent visas for this financial year, the Department announced to allow 200 intakes for generally distinguished visas outside the target sectors. To qualify, candidates must:
  • Be nominated by an Australian citizen, permanent resident or organisation with an international reputation in the same field as the global talent visa applicant
  • Have an exceptional ongoing record of achievements in their field
  • Prove that they are of benefit to the Australian community, whether economic, social, cultural, academic, artistic or sports
  • Prove that they are able to establish themselves in Australia
  • Be aged between 18 and 54 years inclusive, unless exemptions apply
  • Have functional English skills

Nomination

The person or organisation providing the nomination must have a national-level reputation in the same field as the candidate. When in doubt, the credentials of the nominator will be investigated by the Department, often via consultation with a peak national body associated within the area of achievement.

Record of Achievement

Relevant fields may be broad to include sports, arts, professions, academia and research. To be exceptional, candidates must be ranked at the top internationally and recognised in a number of countries, including Australia. Moreover, their level of achievement must continue to be sustained and pure reliance on past achievements is insufficient for these visas to be granted. For this reason, retirees, particularly in relation to sports, would not qualify for Distinguished talent visa. The Department, when evaluating the application of a sportsperson, will consider various factors, including but not limited to:
  • National and international rankings
  • Competition and tournament results
  • Statements from international sporting bodies
  • Sporting scholarships received
  • Media articles attesting to the applicant’s achievements
In addition to the above, candidates may qualify for such distinguished talent visa wherein they have aided Australia in matters of intelligence and national security. This requires a recommendation by senior intelligence officials of the Australian Security and Intelligence Office.

The Benefit to the Australian community

Your presence in Australia must be likely to benefit Australia as a whole. These benefits may be economic, social or cultural. This also means that if your field is of a nature that is not generally acceptable in Australia, your application is most likely to fail on this ground.

The benefit to Australia must be real and not purely based on conjecture. The precise nature of the benefit will be dependent on your field of expertise. For example, a sportsperson might be expected to raise the standard of competition domestically, or a prominent academic may increase Australia’s reputation within a particular field of study.

Able to Establish Oneself

The Department must be satisfied that candidates will be able to find work and become independently established in the relevant field in Australia. This requires a detailed plan as to how they intend to continue in the area of achievement once the global talent visa or the distinguished talent visa has been granted and will support themselves through the related activities.

Income from work outside the area of achievement cannot be included in the application for this visa.

Age Requirements

In most cases, candidates applying for global talent visa or a distinguished talent visa must be between 18 and 54 years of age. There are exemptions under limited circumstances whereby people below the age of 18 or above the age of 54 may be eligible for these visas.

Under 18 Years Old

If the candidate is under 18 years of age, they would face significant difficulty in demonstrating a sustained level of exceptional achievement in their field.

In the case of a sportsperson, candidates should be ranked in the top 5 for the same age group internationally. Other situations may be arguable, but the threshold for minor candidates is quite stringent. 

In any case, the exceptional benefit must be demonstrated to exist beyond the Australian community to be eligible for a Distinguished Talent visa.

Over 55 Years Old

If the candidate is 55 years old or more, they would also need to prove continuing exceptional benefit to the Australian community beyond the benefit generally required of other Distinguished Talent visa applicants in the eligible age group. 

This benefit must be immediately realised as well as be ongoing. Retired or retiring persons would not be suitable applicants for this subclass.

Application Charges

Base application charge: $4,110

Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is at least 18 years of age: $2,055

Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is less than 18 years of age: $1,030

Global Talent Visa Program and Distinguished Talent Assistance

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