A total of 265 highly-skilled Indian nationals were invited to apply for permanent residency under the Global Talent Independent Program (GTI) between 1 January and 9 September this year.
Indians emerged as the third highest recipients of the 2,685 invitations issued for applicants for a Distinguished Talent visa under GTI program, just behind Iranian and Bangladeshi nationals who received 539 and 384 invites respectively.
Distinguished Talent visa is part of the Global Talent Independent Program, a high priority permanent residency pathway aimed at attracting the world’s brightest migrants at the top of their fields to Australia.
Former senior Immigration Department official Abul Rizvi said it would not be wrong to assume that a large portion of successful applicants under the program were onshore and most likely are international students currently pursuing post-graduate research degrees in Australia.
“Around 70% of Iranian students are currently doing a post-graduate research degree. By comparison, around 1.5% of Indian students are doing a post-graduate research degree. There may be some universities/hospitals that are proposing these research post-grads as a means of retaining them as they complete their courses,” he explained.
What is the GTI program?
The GTI program was launched in November 2019 with an aim to attract talented and highly skilled technologists working in one of the seven designated ‘future-focused’ sectors: ag-tech, med-tech, space, fin-tech, energy and mining technology, cybersecurity, and data science to live and work in Australia permanently.
To be eligible, the applicants must demonstrate the potential to earn a salary at or above the income threshold of $153,600 each year and have their application supported by a nominator of national reputation in the same field.
Applicants who believe they meet the program parameters are required to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) using the Global Talent Form and are also required to secure a nominator.
If the EOI is successful, the applicant receives a unique identifier and will be able to lodge an application online under the Distinguished Talent visa (Subclass 124) for those outside Australia and Distinguished Talent visa (Subclass 858) for those inside the country at the time of lodgement.
‘Fastest way to get permanent residency in Australia’
GTI is currently the fastest pathway to permanent residency in Australia. While the processing times for the program are not categorically available on the Department’s website, the latest data indicates that a majority of the decisions being made to send out an invite or not to invite applicants were made within 14 days from the date of lodgement of EOI. Others took between 14 days and more than three months.
Melbourne-based migration agent Ranbir Singh said the fast processing times are an attractive bait for prospective migrants looking to live in Australia permanently especially in a COVID environment, they must not forget the selection criteria for this visa category is “very stringent.”
“It is important to note that although the prospective applicants of this visa are able to secure an invite in a few weeks, the selection criteria are very stringent where the applicants need to prove international recognition of their achievements and prominence in their field of expertise.
“The Department’s aim is to attract the best and the brightest professionals across the globe and hence has set some very high standards in the eligibility criteria,” said Mr Singh.
In what is being viewed as a sign of things to come in a post-pandemic Australia, the government has tripled the allocation for the GTI program from 5,000 in the program year 2019-20 to 15,000 in the current year.
Rupert Grayston, the director of standards and accreditation services at the Australian Computer Society (ACS) which provides nominations for GTI applicants in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector had earlier stated that this is quite a significant increase for the fledgling program that is currently only in its second year.
“This is a substantial increase for a program in its second year, particularly during a time of ongoing border restrictions. Awareness of the GTI program seems to be growing, and ACS is increasingly seeing evidence of a significant pool of candidates.
“It nevertheless remains to be seen whether such growth can be realized,” said Mr. Grayston.
Mr. Rizvi said the increased allocation would mean the Department will be under pressure to widen their talent pool from countries including India, UK, and China in months to come.
“I think because they have allocated 15,000 places, there is no way that they can fill them all with Iranian postgraduates only. They have to now start looking more broadly and they will look predominantly onshore, for they will have to reduce the criteria and that will mean applicants from India, China, and the UK will grow,” he said.