Australia: New visa pathway
for UK citizens
17 October 2023
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has issued more information about the Innovation and Early Careers Skills Exchange Pilot (IECSEP), part of the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA).
IECSEP establishes a new, streamlined mobility pathway for early career professionals and demonstrated innovators from the United Kingdom.
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.
Total visas available under the IECSEP will be 1000 in the first year, and 2000 in the second year of operation, during which the program will be reviewed.
All IECSEP applicants must have a confirmed job in Australia to be eligible to participate in the IECSEP. Applicants will need to provide DFAT with either a letter of employment offer, or a copy of an employment contract, to prove their prospective employment in Australia when they submit their application. This document needs to contain specific information in order for DFAT to accept it.
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).
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
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.
How to apply
IECSEP is now open for applications. Application forms are available here. The current round will close at 11.59pm (GMT) on Monday 20 November 2023. DFAT may close this application round with respect of one or both IECSEP streams on a date before this advertised time. DFAT will provide seven days’ notice prior to closing a round before the advertised date.
An IECSEP guidebook is available here, with further details about the application process and assessment criteria.
Successful IECSEP applicants will need to apply to the Department of Home Affairs for a Temporary Work (International Relations) subclass 403 visa Government Agreement stream. DFAT will issue successful applicants with a Letter of Support, which must be presented to the Department of Home Affairs when applying for this visa.
Help with your visa application
If you are interested in applying for the IECSEP program and require support with the application process, Smith Stone Walters can help.
Our immigration experts can assess your eligibility and support you throughout the entire process. To find out more about our immigration services, please contact us today.