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2020 saw a major shift in focus in the Australian Migration Program away from Skilled Visas towards the Global Talent Independent program (GTI), a streamlined visa pathway that uses the Distinguished Talent (Subclass 858) visa to provide priority access to Australian permanent residency.

The quota for Global Talent visas increased in the 2020-21 migration program year from 5,000 to 15,000 available places and remained the same for the 2021-22 program.

There are 8,438 spots available in the 2022-2023 Skilled Migration program.

This significant quota increase has of course taken a toll on other skilled visas such as the Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visa. Subclass 189 has always been highly sought by skilled applicants because it provides permanent residence without the need for State nomination or employer sponsorship. However, the visa process has become increasingly competitive over the years, with consistently high numbers of applicants lodging Expressions of Interest in SkillSelect and raising the bar even higher.

As a result of the significant decline of places allocated to the Skilled Migration program and the ever-growing pool of applicants, the GTI program is now becoming a real alternative for skilled migrants.

An alternative to applying for subclass 189?

At first glance, the GTI program may have fewer requirements than the 189 Skilled Independent visa, after all, it does not require applicants to obtain a positive Skills Assessment or meet the minimum points threshold. This is true however, the GTI program aims to attract highly skilled individuals who are at the top of their field and who can be job multipliers in the Australian economy. Applicants must have an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in specific sectors, in other words, applicants must demonstrate that they are “talents”.

The GTI program is also an attractive option for eligible Graduates in the fields of

  • Resources
  • Agri-food and AgTech
  • Energy
  • Health industries
  • Defence, advanced manufacturing and space
  • Circular economy
  • DigiTech
  • Infrastructure and tourism
  • Financial services and FinTech
  • Education​

As a matter of fact, recent PhD and Research Graduates are a target group of the Global Talent program.

In summary, some of the key features of the GTI program over subclass 189 include:

  • Does not require a skills assessment.
  • Candidates are not required to meet the minimum points threshold.
  • State/Territory nomination or employer sponsorship is not required.
  • Candidates may be up to 55 years of age or older if they can demonstrate exceptional economic benefit to Australia.
  • Recent PhD graduates in one of the 7 target sectors may be able to apply.

Also, unlike the skilled independent visa, there is no occupation list for the Global Talent Visa.

189 vs GTI: Key Requirements



Skilled Independent 189 Global Talent
Expression of Interest Yes Yes
Points Tested Yes No
Skills Assessment Yes No
English Requirement Competent English Functional English (or payment of 2nd VAC)
Occupation List MLTSSL No
Target Sectors No Yes
Age Limit 45 55 (unless exceptional value to Australia)
Australian Nominator No Yes
Visa Application Charge (main applicant) $4,115 $4,305
2022-2023 Planned levels $16,652 $8,448

Note: the above table is to be used for comparison only and does not represent an exhaustive list of visa requirements.

Eligibility assessment

Applicants need to make sure their EOI application makes an impact and properly demonstrates their achievements to be considered.

Contact us today or complete our Global Talent Independent eligibility questionnaire.

Eligibility Assessment

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