Skilled tech migrants eased onto residency 'fast-track'

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Skilled tech migrants eased onto residency 'fast-track'

A newly established permanent migration scheme for highly-skilled technologists will target seven “future-focused fields”, including cyber security, fintech and quantum computing, in a bid to maintain Australia’s competitiveness.

The ‘Global Talent Independent Program’ (GTIP), which was first flagged in June to attract the best talent from around the world, was launched by Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman on Monday.

The program aims to lure up to 5000 high-income earners working “at the top of their field” to Australia between July 2019 and June 2020 with the offer of a “fasttracked process to permanent residency”.

It sits separately to the ‘global talent – employer sponsored program’ (GTES), which was made permanent in August after a 12-month pilot.

Only migrants working in one of seven “future-focused fields”, who are likely to earn more than $149,000 per year in Australia, are eligible to for permanent residency under GTIP.

The fields are AgTech, space and advanced manufacturing, fintech, energy and mining technology, medtech, cyber security, and quantum information/advanced digital/data science and ICT.

Normal character, security and integrity checks undertaken for any migration will also apply.

However, instead of waiting for migrants to apply, GTIP intends to actively seek out talent using ‘Global Talent Officers’ from the Department of Home Affairs.

These officers – which have already been deployed in Berlin, Washington DC, Singapore, Shanghai, Santiago, Dubai and New Delhi, and will work across countries in their regions – will guide applicants through the application process.

The Australian Financial Review has reported Coleman as saying this fast-tracked process would take "weeks, not months". 

Migrants will also be able to access the program with a referral from “an organisation or an individual with a national reputation in the same field as the candidate”, according to Home Affairs.

Coleman said the GTIP was deliberately targeting the “world’s most highly-skilled migrants” in order to best position Australia for competiveness.

“We want to position Australia at the forefront of major growth trends in the world economy. By enabling local businesses to access the world’s best talent, we will help to grow high growth industries in Australia,” he said.

“Over time, the Global Talent program has the potential to have a transformative impact on the Australian economy.”

While the program is focused on bringing in external talent, Home Affairs expects the scheme will also, by extension, create “opportunities for Australians by transferring skills, promoting innovation and creating job opportunities”.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said local job creation, in addition to the 5000 GTIP placements, would “drive growth in the Australian technology industry”.

 “For our domestic tech industry to grow, businesses need to be able to hire skilled Australian workers as well as access the capabilities of specialists from across the world,” she said.

“We can create high-paying local jobs by making Australia a global technology hub and the global talent program is a signal to tech companies that we’re open for business.”

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