Australian Distinguished Talent Visa

What is an Australian Distinguished Talent Visa?

The Distinguished Talent Visa is part of the Global Talent Independent program that was launched on 4 November 2019. This program has been designed to provide exceptionally talented individuals with a fast-tracked pathway to permanent residency. 

There are two visa subclasses available under the program:

The main point of difference between these two visa subclasses is:

  1. You cannot apply for the subclass 858 visa if you are outside Australia at the time of lodging your visa application.

  2. If you are applying for a subclass 858 visa, the last Australian visa that you held, or currently hold, cannot be a:

    1. Electronic Travel Authority visa;
    2. Maritime Crew Temporary visa;
    3. Sponsored Visitor visa;
    4. Superyacht Crew Temporary visa; 
    5. Temporary Work Short Stay Specialist visa;
    6. Tourist visa;
    7. Visitor visa;
    8. Special Purpose visa; or
    9. Business Short Stay visa

The Department of Home Affairs has deployed ‘Global Talent Officers’ to Berlin, Dubai, New Delhi, Santiago, Shanghai, Singapore and Washington D.C to attract candidates for the program and assist them with their applications. 

Individuals who wish to apply for a distinguished talent visa can submit an expression of interest to these officers to have their visa applications processed on a high priority basis.

Priority processing is available for any applicants that are a highly graded recent PhD or Masters Graduate, or who are highly skilled in one of the sectors listed below and can command a salary that meets the high-income threshold (currently $148,700 AUD).

The relevant sectors are:

  1. AgTech
  2. Space and Advanced Manufacturing 
  3. FinTech
  4. Energy and Mining Technology
  5. MedTech
  6. Cyber Security 
  7. Quantum Information, Advanced Digital, Data Science and ICT

The Two-Step Australian Distinguished Talent Visa Application Process

Step One

Submit your expression of interest.

Step Two

Submit your visa application.

After submitting your expression of interest, a global talent officer will review this information. They will then likely arrange a time with you to discuss your skills, experience, and interest in applying for a distinguished talent visa. 

If the officer believes that you meet the parameters for the program, then they will provide you with a unique identifier, which provides priority processing for your application. 

Once you have received your unique identifier, you should then prepare your visa application and supporting documents to demonstrate that you meet the visa criteria below. 

Australian Distinguished Talent Visa Criteria

To be eligible to receive a subclass 858 or 124 distinguished talent visa, you will need to demonstrate that one of the following circumstances applies:

  1. You have an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in one of the following fields:

    1. A profession;
    2. A sport;
    3. The arts;
    4. Academia and research; or

  2. You have provided specialised assistance to the Australian Government in matters of security. 

If you believe that you fall into the first category above, then you will also need to meet these additional criteria: 

  1. You must still be prominent in your nominated field;
  2. You would be an asset to the Australian community;
  3. You would have no difficulty in obtaining employment, or in becoming established independently, in Australia in your field; and
  4. You have been nominated by an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand resident who has a national reputation in your field.

Those who are under 18 or over 55 will also need to demonstrate that they will be of exceptional benefit to the Australian community. 

Distinguished talent visa applicants must also demonstrate that they meet the relevant public interest and special return criteria. If they are including family members in their visa application, they will also have to satisfy these criteria.  

*Please note that the information and visa requirements stated on this page is not an exhaustive list, and other requirements will need to be met to be eligible for the visas listed above. Furthermore, migration laws and policies can be changed at any time without prior notice. Therefore, the contents of this page cannot be relied upon as being completely accurate after the date of publication.