The Global Talent Scheme visa trial is expected to drive skilled workers into the nation’s growing defence industry.
On Monday, the federal government announced the new visa scheme, which is designed to attract “highly skilled global talent”, and will be piloted from 1 July this year.
Established businesses with an annual turnover of more than $4 million will be able to sponsor highly skilled and experienced individuals for positions with earnings above $180,000 into Australia.
Employers will need to be able to demonstrate that they prioritise the employment of Australians and that there will be a skills transfer to Australian workers as a result of the person being granted a visa.
The sponsoring business must have a track record of hiring and training Australians.
Technology-based and STEM-related start-up businesses will also be able to sponsor experienced people with specialised technology skills.
Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox told Defence Connect that the new global talent visa could be a good fit for defence companies, particularly those dealing with re-emerging skill shortages at the same time as the pipeline of work in the industry is heading for historic highs.
“The trial could be attractive to defence primes as a means of bringing talent into Australia from related projects overseas and transferring skills to the local workforce,” Willox said.
The Global Talent Scheme pilot is a niche program within the new Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) Visa, which has now replaced the former 457 visa program.
“The new TSS Visa has a narrower band of skilled occupations to access and higher language requirements and so defence companies with specialist skills requirements may face different hurdles than in the past,” he said.
The government will consult further on the details of the scheme over the next few months, before piloting it for 12 months, starting 1 July 2018. An industry advisory group will provide ongoing guidance for the pilot.
Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge said that the new scheme is a recognition that global talent is in high demand and that the government needs to provide pathways for Australian businesses to access this.
“We want to ensure that Australian businesses can access the best talent in the world, because this will underpin business growth, skills transfer and job creation,” Minister Tudge said.
“At all stages, Australians are prioritised for the jobs, but where the skills and experience are not available here, we want to be able to attract talent from overseas.
“This is part of the ongoing reforms to our skilled visa programs to ensure that Australians have priority for Australian jobs, but acknowledge that there are times when the skills are not available in the country.”
Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash said the new scheme will particularly help Australian employers in our growing innovation sector and help them to create more Australian jobs.
“Industry figures say globally mobile, highly skilled and experienced staff can act as ‘job multipliers’ in Australian businesses, helping them to hire more local staff and fill critical areas of need,” Minister Cash said.