The Federal Government has stepped up its pursuit of global talent by recently launching a new website, promoting Australia as the place to be for emerging tech and high-growth businesses.

The Subclass 858 – Global Talent (formerly known as the Distinguished Talent) visa has seen its allocation of permanent migration numbers balloon by 200 per cent to 15,000 places this program year. These places have been provided to assist with the government’s economic recovery program, centred around the creation of employment and including policies such as the JobMaker hiring credits.

The Global Talent visa recently added a special endorsement by the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Global Business and Talent Attraction, who is currently Peter Verwer, AO as an important criterion for an 858 visa grant.

The website aims to attract and facilitate internationals who wish to relocate their existing, successful business to Australia or who are exceptionally talented professionals with innovative and entrepreneurial flair. They also state they will connect successful applicants with local networks and peers

Both pathways’ primary outcome is to generate jobs in Australia for locals in cutting-edge industries

With Australia being successful in suppressing COVID-19, those in countries with enduring lockdowns and who appear to fit the criteria may see Australia as a popular destination in the medium and longer term.

Despite all the information available online, the program remains somewhat of a black box. Unlike visa applications, there are no substantive and objective criteria for endorsement, which may make the Global Taskforce’s job of processing expressions of interest difficult.

Furthermore, with Australia’s unemployment rate falling fast and international borders shut to skilled workers for all but a few critical sectors and skills, it may be difficult to realise well-intentioned plans if suitable local skilled workers cannot be found. A recent submission by KPMG on Australia’s current migration settings is critical of the lack of clarity in this program and who is exactly ‘distinguished’ and possess ‘international level’ talent. They also call for the need to be more flexible with salary expectations and target industries.