Home » New Visa Pilot Under the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (AUKFTA) Announced
Europe News United Kingdom

New Visa Pilot Under the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (AUKFTA) Announced

Within the framework of the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (AUKFTA), the Innovation and Early Careers Skills Exchange Pilot (IECSEP) introduces fresh prospects for British nationals seeking employment in Australia. The IECSEP seeks to enhance the existing ties between Australia and the United Kingdom by establishing an efficient channel for early-career professionals and proven innovators from the UK to work in Australia.

There are two primary categories available to UK citizens within the IECSEP:

  1. Early Careers Skills Stream: This category permits participants to engage in short-term placements, secondments, or intra-corporate transfers in Australia for up to one year. These opportunities align with their field of expertise within their home organization.
  2. Innovation Stream: This stream is designed for individuals who have made significant contributions to innovation. It allows individuals to explore work opportunities in Australia for a period of up to three years.

Initially, the program offers a limited allocation of 1,000 visas during its first-year pilot phase, with plans to double this to 2,000 visas in the second year. A comprehensive review will take place during the second year of operation. The inaugural IECSEP application round is scheduled to commence at 9AM (BST) on Monday, September 25, 2023 (6PM AEST). To qualify for either program stream, applicants must meet the following criteria:

Early Careers Skills Stream: Applicants must be UK citizens aged between 21 and 45 at the time of application. They should possess tertiary qualifications and have completed a minimum of three months of work within their home organization, including roles such as graduate trainees.

Innovation Stream: This category is open to highly experienced and skilled UK citizens from various sectors, regardless of age, who have a demonstrated track record of contributing to innovation. This can encompass areas such as Research and Development, Renewable Energy, Artificial Intelligence, Medical Technology, FinTech, AgriTech, and Audio-visual and Cultural industries.

Applicants in both categories will be required to have a formal letter of offer or an employment contract from an Australian organisation. Successful applicants will receive a Letter of Support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which they must include in their visa application to the Department of Home Affairs. Our team can guide applicants through the process of applying to the Department of Home Affairs for a Temporary Work (International Relations) visa (subclass 403).

How Can Employers and Businesses Benefit?

The IECSEP recognizes the significance of innovation and skills mobility to the economies of Australia and the United Kingdom. This initiative offers Australian employers a chance to tap into the expertise of innovative early-career professionals from the UK through a streamlined temporary mobility pathway. It’s important to note that while this pilot program doesn’t directly lead to Australian Permanent Residence, it may contribute to eligibility for other programs.

The Innovation stream provides a unique opportunity for highly experienced and skilled UK innovators to collaborate with Australian organizations for up to three years, including intra-corporate transfers. Meanwhile, the Early Careers stream allows Australian organizations to participate in 12-month secondments, placements, or intra-corporate transfers of early-career UK professionals with tertiary qualifications.

Further Information & Assistance

If you’re an Australian organisation interested in exploring this pilot or a UK national interested in this opportunity please do not hesitate to contact our office on 1300 083 843 or submit an online enquiry.