Innovative companies need specialised talent to convert their ideas and innovations into reality – but sometimes, people with niche or emerging skillsets are more well-developed in overseas countries and need to be brought to Australia to easily facilitate the transfer of new skills aren’t conveniently located down the street.
This was the challenge for a national urban design firm. Like many Australian companies expanding domestically and competing internationally, they had scores of projects throughout Australia, years of experience and a strong national foothold, but saw an opportunity to expand its talent base and attract people with international experience and niche skills under the new Global Talent Employer Sponsored (GTES) program.
How the new Global Talent Employer Sponsored program works
Australia has long-standing visa programs for employers to sponsor workers who fall under certain categories for skilled labour. In order to successfully sponsor a worker, employers have to demonstrate that there isn’t someone local who can fill the position, and the candidate has to meet certain requirements to be eligible for sponsorship.
While this program has benefited many businesses over time, the skilled visa categories haven’t been updated in many years. Currently, they don’t capture the full scope of skilled occupations particularly “new economy” skills that are emerging every day.
Australia introduced the GTES program to address this deficiency and to support innovation. Designed for workers who don’t fit into the traditional skill categories, the GTES program visa is available for established businesses and start-ups, and the visas pave the way for workers to obtain permanent residence in Australia.
The challenge: Creating a new occupation category under GTES
The Migration Agency (TMA) helped navigate the negotiation of a GTES Agreement with the Department of Home Affairs. Originally, the urban design firm was exploring long term visa options for an executive and considered the GTES, which evolved into a much larger project.
The company had previously sought to sponsor top talent with international experience in urban design projects, as urban designers. However, the Australian system of classifying roles under an ANZSCO occupation dictionary meant that the Australian immigration authorities only recognised more traditional skillsets such as architects or urban planners. Therefore, when a candidate with new or niche urban design qualifications or experience presented themselves, they didn’t neatly under one of the existing occupation categories. And in some cases, it precluded the company from being able to sponsor international talent.
This prompted TMA to undertake a more detailed assessment and exploration of alternatives for the company to secure the talent they needed. One option was to enter into a bespoke arrangement with the Department of Home Affairs to sponsor workers with this skillset, under the Global Talent Scheme.
Additionally, as we worked to understand the client’s business objectives it was apparent that they were looking to expand internationally and compete for international projects. This was a huge opportunity for an Australian company to export it’s services internationally, and made it critical for them to have staff with international project experience, to increase their capability to pitch for international work.
Accessing international skills was a major driver to export their services to clients abroad and open up access to new markets and customers.
Designing the immigration solution
The first step involved seeking a bespoke Global Talent (GTES) Labour Agreement with the Department of Home Affairs. The Migration Agency developed a strong business case for the sponsoring of foreign employees in the role of “Urban Designer” based on our industry insights and understanding of our client’s business.
Applying to effectively create a new category of skilled worker involved extensive documentation and negotiation with the Departments of Home Affairs, which TMA handled on behalf of the client.]
To make their case, our client had to demonstrate a compelling business need for urban designers, and differentiate the role from similar existing positions, like architects and urban planners. They also had to show why it was necessary to bring in foreign talent for the newly created role.
TMA managed the negotiation of the GTES agreement end to end. We started with a strategy meeting to understand the client’s needs and future business plans. Next, our corporate immigration experts created a bespoke solution with various considerations, including the company’s existing immigration program, global trends and availability of skills in urban design, as well as long-term business goals.
This crucial period of collaboration helped us present the government with the strongest possible case for skilled workforce needs.
After the application was submitted, we managed negotiations with the Department, gathered additional documentation evidence, and saw communication through to the end when the client was granted it’s Global Talent Agreement.
Our client remained in the loop at each point of the process, but they didn’t have to worry about the vast details of the GTES application, providing a seamless service experience and simplifying the process to minimise the input required from HR and business leaders.
The result: A new TSS visa occupation category
Ultimately, the company was approved for the new occupation category of Urban Designer for a 4 year visa and pathway to permanent residence under the 186 Temporary Residence Transition Stream after three years. Now that the company has an agreement in place, it has additional occupations in its sights. This means that as they find qualified people abroad with a range of design qualifications and experience relevant for the role, they can employ and move them to Australia under the GTES program – and provide a pathway for permanent residency to retain these skilled workers for the long term.
This TMA-led project has wider implications as it helps facilitate the transfer of skills to Australian workforce, benefits the training and development of more junior team members, expands the firm’s capability and enables them to compete for international projects.
This bespoke agreement also provides the company a competitive advantage in terms of being able to attract top talent than other firms who haven’t considered the GTES.
We worked closely with our client to create the new category, and this success will continue to benefit the company for years to come as they recruit internationally for this highly specialised position. Additionally, the national urban design firm now has a platform in the immigration sphere which can lead to creating other skilled work categories for the business in the future. Many Australian businesses need to find workers for niche positions, and are unaware of the benefits of the GTES option. Contact TMA’s immigration experts at today to see how GTES can benefit your business specifically.