Tuesday, February 25, 2020

New Australian Work Visa Scheme Will Include Startup Stream

By Shona Yang | The Australian Federal Government will trial a new skill-based visa scheme this year to attract global talent and promote innovation. Set to pilot July 1, the Global Talent visa scheme will provide Australian-based businesses with the option to sponsor visas for skilled and experienced individuals.

Most notably, the scheme includes a ‘startup stream’ that provides tech-based and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-related startups with priority access to simplified visas every year.

Startups operating in a STEM-related field (digital, biomedical, AgTech, etc) can access up to five positions every year through simpler application processes. Established businesses with a turnover of more than A$4 million will have access to 20 positions every year. As part of the new scheme, all applicants will be issued with a four-year Temporary Skill Shortage visa with a transitional pathway to permanent residence after three years.

Some key achievements in the new visa arrangement include flexibility around minimum salary requirements for new hires (minimum A$180,000 for established businesses and A$53,900 for startups). Startups can progress quickly with an overseas hire with through a provision that considers equity as part of a salary.

CEO Alex McCauley of the national startup advocacy group StartupAUS hails the new visa scheme as a chance for Australia’s tech businesses to compete more effectively on the global stage.  

“These changes… will allow [young Australian tech businesses] to grow quickly and hire more Australians across the business. It’s a good bet that everyone hired on one of these visas will be a net job creator for Australians,” McCauley says.


The Global Talent Scheme is a clear response to mounting pressure and calls for reforms on the federal government’s visa programs. The scheme arrives after repeated submissions from industry groups such as StartupAUS and recent pressure from tech giant Atlassian, that Australia’s 457 visa may force the software company to relocate its headquarters overseas.

In a joint statement with the Minister for Jobs and Innovation, the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs Alan Tudge says the new scheme is part of ongoing reforms to skilled visa programs to fill skill gaps when Australian talent is unavailable.

“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,” Tudge says.

The Global Talent Scheme will be refined in consultation with key stakeholders in the coming months before it is launched as a pilot program on July 1.

Read the Global Talent Scheme factsheet here for more information.

About The Author

Shona Yang

Shona Yang is Jumpstart’s Journalist In Residence (JIR) in Sydney, Australia.

She is a freelance writer and blogger based in Sydney.

She writes for startups, enjoys traveling and is passionate about human rights in Southeast Asia. See what she’s up to at Shonasays.com.

You can reach her at [email protected]

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