On 14 November 2020, the Department of Home Affairs made a number of changes to the subclass 858 visa (Distinguished Talent Visa). The subclass 858 visa is used by the successful Global Talent Visa Program, also known as the Global Talent Independent Program (GTIP), for applicants to obtain permanent residence in Australia. The changes are significant for those considering expressing interest in the GTIP and include:
- Removal of the subclass 124 visa. Allowing applicants both inside and outside of Australia to apply for the subclass 858 visa.
- Widening the visas on which an applicant can lodge a subclass 858 visa application
- Changing the health criteria to allow applicants with significant health conditions to be granted a subclass 858 visa.
Below is a detailed review each change.
Repeal of the subclass 124 visa
Prior to 14 November 2020, those wishing to apply for a Distinguished Talent Visa had to choose a visa subclass based on their location; a subclass 124 visa for people outside of Australia and a subclass 858 visa for those applying while inside Australia.
On 14 November 2020, the subclass 124 visa was repealed and the subclass 858 visa opened up to allow applicants to be in any location when applying. This change simplifies the application process and ensures applicants do not mistakenly apply for the wrong visa subclass. It is also a godsend for applicants whose families have been separated due to the pandemic. It no longer matters where your family members are located in the world. You can all be included on one visa application.
Lodgment of 858 visa from a wider range of visas
Unlike the old subclass 858 visa, the new version allows Bridging Visa A, B, and C holders to apply while in Australia. It also removes a bar on visa holders on the following visas applying for the 858 visa:
- Electronic Travel Authority (ETA)
- The visitor (sponsored and unsponsored) including subclass 600;
- Subclass 400 visa (Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist);
- Subclass 456 (Business (Short Stay)).
- Maritime Crew (Temporary);
- Superyacht Crew (Temporary);
- Special purpose visa;
This change brings the subclass 858 visa into line with most other skilled migration visas and removes hurdles to eligibility for potential applicants.
Changing the health criteria
From 14 November 2020, the health criteria for the subclass 858 visa has moved from Public Interest Criteria (PIC) 4005 to PIC4007. This is significant as the previously used, PIC4005, does not allow applicants to be granted a visa where:
- The health care and community services they (or that of a dependent) require is a significant cost [ significant cost is currently assessed at AUD$49,000 over a lifetime]; or
- They would prejudice Australians accessing health care or community services.
There is no waiver of these requirements under PIC4005, meaning that if you or your family member does not meet one of the above none of your family would be granted a subclass 858 visa.
The substitution of PIC4007 into the subclass 858 visa allows the above health criteria to be waived if the applicant can show the costs are not undue in all the circumstances.
PIC4007 is used in very few permanent visas to Australia. Its inclusion in the subclass 858 visa is a signal that the Department of Home Affairs considers applicants for this visa to be job creators who can mitigate much of the potential medical costs they or their family members may incur in the future.
While the above change is beneficial for all applicants, if you or your family have a medical condition we recommend you seek the advice of a Migration Agent/Lawyer prior to lodging your visa application. Please arrange a consultation with one of your Migration Agents/Lawyers via the below link if you would like assistance with this.
The above changes are very positive for those seeking approval to lodge a subclass 858 visa through the Global Talent Independent Program. They reduce red tape, waiting times, and improve eligibility for those applicants (or family members) who have medical conditions.