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New Visa for UK Citizens: Innovation & Early Careers Skill Exchange Pilot

By 28 May 2024No Comments

As we get close to the first anniversary of the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA) the Australian government is piloting a new Australian visa program for UK nationals. The Innovation and Early Careers Skills Exchange Pilot (IECSEP) provides new opportunities for UK citizens to come to Australia for 1 to 3 years. This pilot is currently open and will run until 30 June 2025 with 2000 spots being available from 1 July.

There are two streams under IECSEP:

  • the Early Careers Skills stream, which will allow participants to undertake a short-term placement, secondment, or intra-corporate transfer for up to one year in Australia.
  • the Innovation stream, which will allow highly skilled and experienced participants, with a demonstrated contribution to innovation, to undertake opportunities for up to three years in Australia.

All IECSEP applicants must be able to demonstrate UK citizenship, and that they have adequate financial means to support themselves for the duration of their stay in Australia ($5000 plus the fare to where the applicant is going to after Australia).

Early Careers Skills Stream
To be eligible for the Early Careers stream applicants must:

  • be aged between 21 and 45 (inclusive) at the time of application
  • hold tertiary qualifications
  • have worked for at least 3 months in their current role, and the prospective employment in Australia must be relevant to the applicant’s field of work in their current role
  • have prospective employment in Australia in an occupation defined at the ANZSCO Skill Levels 1, 2 or 3

The government has already announced that from 23 November 2024, it will reduce the work experience requirement for the Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa from two years to one year for all applicants. This stream of the program will be attractive for those under 45 looking to get 1 year of experience in Australia before potentially moving to a TSS visa.

Innovation Stream
To be eligible for the Innovation stream applicants must:

  • have a demonstrated contribution to innovation
  • be highly skilled
  • be highly experienced
  • have prospective employment in Australia in an occupation defined at the ANZSCO Skill Level 1

For IECSEP, innovation is broadly defined as the development or implementation of a new or improved product, process, or organisational method, or combination thereof. IECSEP recognises that innovation drives efficiency and productivity growth in all industries, and that innovators are working across a broad and diverse range of occupations. Innovation Stream applications are welcome from applicants working across all sectors, including service-based industries, and academia.

The process is 2 steps:

  1. An endorsement letter is obtained from, the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade – this will take 7 days under the Early Careers Stream.
  2. An application is then lodged with theDepartment of Home Affairs for a Temporary Work (International Relations) subclass 403 visa Government Agreement stream.

Business requirements
There is no sponsorship on the part of the business and no evidence of Labour Market Testing is required. Unlike the TSS work visa, there is also no minimum TSMIT requirement although the National Employment Standards must be complied with.  With no Training Levy payable, the visa lodgement fee is also a lot lower at $355.

For further information on this visa, please contact your Ajuria Lawyers advisor.

Author Ajuria

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