Faster way to PR with the Global Talent Independent (GTI) program

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On 6 October 2020, the Australian Government announced major changes to its migration program. The annual limit will remain at 160,000 places. 

However, within those 160,000 places there will be a much higher allocation to certain visa categories, as follows.

  1. 1. Global Talent Independent – tripled to 15,000 places
  2. 2. Business Innovation and Investment Program (BIIP) – doubled to 13,500; and
  3. 3. Family Stream – increase from 47,732 in 2019-20 to 77,300 for the 2020-21 Migration Program year.

Key points:

  • ‘Global Talent Independent’ program is the fastest way of getting immediate permanent residency in Australia
  • Designed for highly-skilled professionals in 1 of 7 Target Sectors
  • No age limit
  • Must have a nominator

What is the Global Talent Independent program?

The GTI program is not a new program.  It was first introduced in November 2019 to compete against other countries with similar programs, i.e. to US, UK and Canada. This is a permanent visa with priority processing to attract highly skilled professionals to live and work in Australia. 

Australia has tripled the number of places available for the 2020-21 Migration Program year.  Australia must believe that its handling of Covid-19 crisis will put it amongst the top destinations for talented individuals.

The GTI program introduces a two-step approach to applying for the Distinguished Talent Visa. 

In effect, the GTI program includes a marketing side and a processing side.

Marketing is co-ordinated around the world by country offices who have a “Global Talent Officer”.  Processing is carried out by a team in the GTI office of the Department of Home Affairs.

The GTI office has the power to provide priority processing to successful applicants for two visas:

  1. 1. 124 – Distinguished Talent Visa (applied for outside Australia); or
  2. 2. 858 – Distinguished Talent Visa (applied for inside Australia).

Priority processing is assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

If successful, the applicant will receive an Invite to Apply for the 124 or 858 visa – for priority processing of that visa.

In theory, an application submitted for either the 124 or 858 Distinguished Talent Visa that has received an Invite from the GTI program should be faster than an application for the 124 or 858 visa without the invite.  However, there is no data available from the Department of Home Affairs on the processing times with/ without the invite from GTI program.

To be clear, it is possible to apply for the 124 or 858 without first obtaining an invite from the GTI program.  And to make it further clear, just because an applicant receives an invite from the GTI program, does not mean they will be successful for the 124 or 858 visa.  (However, one would hope that there would be a low refusal rate having already been through one round of application scrutiny by the GTI office).

The GTI team at the Department of Home Affairs will consider giving a “priority processing invite” (to the 124 or 858 Distinguished Talent visa) for candidates who work in 1 of 7 of the Target Sectors listed below.


  • – Agriculture Technology (“AgTech”)
  • – Space and Advanced Manufacturing
  • – Financial Technology (“FinTech”)
  • – Energy and Mining Technology
  • – Medical Technology (“MedTech”)
  • – Cyber Security
  • – Quantum Information, Advanced Digital, Data Science and Information Communication & Technology (“ICT”)

Distinguished Talent Visa

As mentioned above, the GTI only provides priority processing to the Distinguished Talent visa (124 or 858 visa). 

Applicants can either apply to GTI and receive an invite to apply (which should provide priority processing of their application) or they can apply directly for the 124 or 858 visa. 

All applicants who apply for the 124 or 858 visa, whether via GTI or direct application, must:

  • – prove they are internationally recognised with evidence of outstanding achievements
  • – still be prominent in their field of expertise
  • – provide evidence that they would be an asset to Australia, in their area of expertise
  • – have no difficulty obtaining employment in Australia or becoming established in their field
  • – have a recognised organisation or individual in Australia endorse them as global talent, in the same field as the applicant

Candidates must meet a high standard and show an exceptional track record of professional achievement. This may include senior roles, patents, professional awards and international publications and memberships.

Places are also available to students who can demonstrate their exceptional talent and international recognition.

GTI Application

To apply for priority processing under the GTI program you must:

  1. 1. Submit an Expression of Interest to the GTI program
  2. 2. Be successful (i.e. skilled in 1 of 7 Target Sectors) and therefore receive an invite to apply for the 124 or 858 visa;
  3. 3. Apply for the 124 or 858 visa – which assumes you have the support of a Nominator.


The applicant for the 124 or 858 visa will need to have a nominator.  

NOTE: The Nominator is not the Global Talent Officer in the Marketing teams around the world.

The nominator must have a national reputation in the same field as the applicant and is either:

  • – an eligible Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • – eligible New Zealand citizen
  • – an Australian organisation.

Depending on the industry you are in, your nominator could be your university, your employer, your industry body, or your industry peers.

A number of factors may be assessed to determine the nominator’s national reputation.

For example, the Department may look at the nominator’s:

  • – record of achievements
  • – leadership in the industry
  • – professional associations with leading organisations and industry bodies
  • – employment history
  • – contribution to international journals
  • – participation in local and international conferences


If you would like to have an initial assessment of your potential to meet the eligibility for the 124 or 858 visa, please contact JADE.

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