The Subclass 858 Global Talent Visa is designed for applicants who have an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in an eligible area, or who have provided specialised assistance to the Australian Government on security matters.

It is a permanent residence visa which may be applied for either onshore or from outside Australia.

The Subclass 858 Global Talent visa consists of the following pathways:

  • The streamlined Global Talent Visa Program pathway – for applicants with skills in identified priority sectors who have submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI); and
  • The Distinguished Talent pathway – for applicants working in other sectors.

In the current 2021-2022 Migration program year, there are 15,000 places available for the global talent pathway, and 200 places allocated to the distinguished talent pathway.

Also be aware that in addition to the Subclass 858 visa, which is an independent program, there is also an employer sponsored option available with the Global Talent Employer Sponsored Visa program. This enables businesses to sponsor highly-skilled and specialised overseas workers, where there are no suitable Australians available. It is designed to assist start-up businesses operating in a STEM-related field and established businesses to fill highly skilled, specialised and niche roles. You can learn more about this option in our Global Talent Employer Sponsored Visa and GTES Australia Visa Programme articles.

In this article, we take a closer look at the requirements for PhD students and graduates to qualify for a Global Talent Visa.

Prioritised Applications

Certain applications for the Subclass 858 visa are prioritised. This is based on two factors:

  1. the sector to which the application relates; and
  2. the current or future annual salary of the applicant.


Subclass 858 visa applications that relate to the following sectors are prioritised in the Distinguished Talent pathway:

  • AgTech (the application of technology to agriculture and food production);
  • FinTech (technology that seeks to improve and automate the delivery and use of financial services);
  • MedTech (medical technologies and pharmaceuticals);
  • Cyber Security (the protection of digital systems connected to the internet, including the prevention of technical exploitation and mitigating the risk of such exploitation occurring);
  • Quantum Information, Advanced Digital, Data Science and ICT (key digital capabilities including: data management and analysis; artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning; robotics; advanced mathematics and statistics);
  • Space and Advanced Manufacturing (the area of industry dedicated to space technology and manufacturing; and the entire value chain of advanced manufacturing from research, design, logistics to after-sales service of manufacturing products); and
  • Energy and Mining Technology (the development and improvement of energy and mining technologies).

For the Global Talent Visa Program pathway, the below sectors are prioritised:

  • Resources;
  • Agri-food and AgTech;
  • Energy;
  • Health industries;
  • Defence, Advanced Manufacturing and Space;
  • Circular Economy;
  • DigiTech;
  • Infrastructure and Tourism
  • Financial Services and FinTech;
  • Education.

Annual Salary

Applicants who provide evidence of their current or future annual salary being equal to or higher than the Fair Work High Income Threshold (FWHIT) will be given priority processing of their Distinguished Talent visa application.

Importantly, to be prioritised, the application must meet both of the above, i.e. it must relate to a priority sector and have a salary at or above the FWHIT.

What Is The FWHIT?

The FWHIT is indexed each year on 1 July and covers the period to 30 June. The amount changes every year. The current FWHIT (for the period from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022) is $158,500.

Why Are Certain Applications Prioritised?

The Government is seeking to attract applicants who posses skills, and who are paid a high salary, in a sector which have been identified by the Australian Government as being a priority for future industry growth, as well as to take advantage of emerging opportunities for the economy.

How Can A Graduate Qualify For a Global Talent Visa?

A PhD student or graduate can qualify for a global talent visa in certain circumstances.

To qualify for visa grant, visa applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • have an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in one of the following areas:
  1. a profession (a vocation requiring knowledge of some department of learning or science);
  2. a sport (an activity pursued for exercise or pleasure, usually requiring some degree of physical prowess);
  3. the arts (‘‘the theoretical or physical expression of creativity found in human cultures and societies. Major constituents of the arts include visual arts, literature, and performance arts);
  4. academia and research (scholarly and systematic inquiry into a subject to discover facts or principles);
  • still be prominent in one of the above areas;
  • would be an asset to the Australian community;
  • would have no difficulty in obtaining employment, or in becoming established independently, in Australia in the area;
  • complete a Form 1000 (this form outlines the applicant’s record of achievement in one of the above areas as attested to by an approved individual or organisation who has a national reputation in relation to the area); and
  • if the applicant is aged under 18 or is 55 years of age or older at the time of application, the evidence demonstrates that they would be of ‘exceptional benefit’ to the Australian community.

Alternatively, the Minister for Immigration (‘the Minister’), must have determined that, based on the advice of a Minister responsible for an intelligence or security agency, or the Director-General of Security, the Global Talent Australian visa applicant has provided specialised assistance to the Australian Government in security matters.

In addition, to meet visa grant requirements, if at the time of application, the applicant either:

the applicant must have held that visa for a period of at least 3 years at the time of application.

Health and character requirements also apply.

Lets now take a look at some of the above requirements in more detail and how they apply to PhD graduates and students.

Internationally Recognised Record Of Exceptional And Outstanding Achievement

Under immigration policy, a PhD graduate must be able to demonstrate exceptional and outstanding achievement on the basis of their completed academic qualification to meet this criterion.

For a PhD student to be considered, they will need to provide evidence that they are close to completing their PhD. The requirement to have an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement will be met only in cases where the applicant has a prior record of exceptional and outstanding professional achievement in accordance with the eligibility criteria outlined above.

If the applicant’s qualification was obtained outside Australia from a non-Australian education provider, it must be equivalent to a PhD that would be completed in Australia.

The following factors are to be considered when assessing whether the achievements of a PhD graduate or student are exceptional and outstanding and are internationally recognised; if their research:

  • is of international interest and significance;
  • would be relevant to an international audience;
  • has been presented by the applicant at international forums;
  • could be used to inform academia, governments and industry overseas;
  • is relevant to Australian academia, governments and industry to advance Australia’s international competitiveness; and
  • highlights the potential for innovation and productivity increases for Australian organisations and industries operating in an international or globalised environment.

Information and evidence provided by a nominator would satisfy the above requirements, subject to that information being accepted as credible. This may require independent verification, enquiry or requests for further information.

Still Be Prominent In Academia And Research

A PhD graduate must have completed their studies in the last three years to satisfy the requirement to still be prominent in their area of academia and research at the time of application. The applicant should provide a full academic transcript and letter from their university which outlines the submission date of their thesis.

How is ‘Prominence’ Assessed?

For PhD graduates, the Department will consider whether the applicant has remained employed or academically engaged in their field (e.g. through accredited studies or research) if they have graduated 12 months or more before the time of application.

In the case of PhD students who are near completion of their qualifications, this would meet the prominence criterion as it is expected that they will have a conferral date close to the time that the visa application is finalised.

Would Be An Asset To The Australian Community

Immigration policy does not specifically provide guidance on how this criterion is to be applied to PhD students and graduates. It is also not defined in the migration provisions, and as such, the ordinary dictionary meaning of ‘asset’ is is applied when examining this criterion.

This means that a PhD student or graduate would be considered an asset to the Australian community if their settlement in Australia will be useful to, and benefit the Australian public. This is not limited to the applicant and/or their nominator, a prospective employer or their local community.

The term asset also does not only refer to economic benefit; it can also mean social and/or cultural benefit to the Australian community.

The general guidance in policy states that an applicant will be an asset to the Australian community if they:

  • raise Australia’s technical and/or academic standards internationally;
  • will introduce and/or transfer skills to Australia;
  • will elevate Australia’s competitiveness and reputation in sports and the arts; or
  • will make a significant positive social or cultural impact on the Australian community.

The following information/documentation may demonstrate they the applicant will be an ‘asset’ in this regard:

  • evidence that they have created a product/ technological advancement that is unique, and cutting edge in nature;
  • evidence demonstrating that the applicant’s research fills a significant knowledge gap and will be of benefit to industry, business or academia in Australia; or
  • evidence of their involvement in successfully establishing a start-up company, which is still operating.

On the contrary, an applicant would not be an asset to the Australian community if they were involved in an area that:

  • is outside the generally accepted social or cultural norms of most people in Australia;
  • is likely to be offensive to large segments of the Australian community; or
  • would otherwise cause controversy were the applicant to enter Australia as a distinguished talent.

Would Have No Difficulty In Obtaining Employment Or In Becoming Established Independently In Australia

The applicant must demonstrate that they would have no difficulty in obtaining employment, or in becoming established independently in Australia within their area of achievement to meet this criterion.

This is designed to ensure that the applicant will be economically independent in Australia, either from employment or becoming independently established in their area of talent, and not rely on social welfare. Be aware that both the ability to obtain employment or become established independently must be in the applicant’s area of achievement and take place in Australia. Therefore, employment which is not related to their area of achievement cannot satisfy this requirement.

In assessing this requirement for PhD students and graduates, policy states that the applicant should provide details of employment opportunities that they will undertake in their field after they have completed their PhD.

Details of employment opportunities that they will undertake in their field should include evidence that the student will be able to earn above the FWHIT in their nominated field. This may include:

  • the applicant’s employment history in their nominated field;
  • offers of employment for the applicant in their nominated field;
  • letters from organisations or individuals in the field detailing potential employment opportunities available that the applicant would qualify for;
  • median salary for the applicant’s likely employment position in the nominated field in Australia and, if this is below the FWHIT, an explanation for why the applicant is likely to earn above the FWHIT;
  • Australian market research on the hiring demand for individuals with similar qualifications.

Nomination Requirements

The applicant must submit a completed approved Form 1000 (Nomination for Distinguished Talent) at the time of application. The nomination cannot therefore not change after the time of application. This form outlines the applicant’s record of achievement which is attested to by a nominator who has a national reputation in relation to the area of achievement. The nominator must be:

  • an Australian citizen or permanent resident;
  • an eligible New Zealand citizen; or
  • an Australian organisation.

How To Apply For a Subclass 858 Visa

To lodge a valid application for the Global Talent visa, the applicant may be in or outside Australia.

If the applicant is in Australia, they must hold one of the following visas:

  • a substantive visa;
  • a Subclass 010 Bridging A visa (BVA);
  • a Subclass 020 Bridging B visa (BVB); or
  • a Subclass 030 Bridging C visa (BVC).

A substantive visa is any visa excluding a bridging visa, criminal justice or enforcement visa.

bridging visa is a temporary visa which allows you to lawfully remain in Australia whilst your immigration status is decided.

Are Family Members Also Eligible For a Global Talent Visa?

Yes, eligible members of the applicant’s family unit may also qualify for the subclass 858 visa as secondary applicants, subject to meeting specified requirements, including health and character criteria.

They can apply for the Global Talent Visa by making a combined application with the primary visa applicant. They can also be added to the application at any time before a decision is made by the Department.

What Is The Cost To Apply For a Subclass 858 Visa?

The first instalment of the Visa Application Charge (VAC) payable at time of application is currently set at $4,180. Please note that this is subject to change.

Any accompanying dependent family members are also subject to a VAC, with an additional applicant charge of $2,095 payable for an applicant who is aged at least 18 at time of application lodgement. The fee payable for an additional applicant who is under 18 at time of application lodgement is $1,045.

Grant of A Subclass 858 Visa

The applicant may be in or outside Australia when the visa is granted.

If the applicant is outside Australia when the visa is granted, their first entry must be made before the date specified by the Minister.

The Subclass 858 visa is a permanent visa permitting the holder to travel to and enter Australia for a period of five years from the date of grant.

Also be aware that where an applicant is at least 18 years of age at the time of application does not have Functional English, a second instalment of the visa application charge of $4,890 is payable before grant of the visa.

Your dependent/s will need to achieve a functional level of English, which can be demonstrated by meeting one of the following:

  1. Hold a valid passport issued by the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland and you are a citizen of that country
  2. Completed at least five years of secondary education in an institution in or outside Australia conducted in English
  3. Completed at least one year of full-time study or equivalent part-time study towards a degree, higher degree, diploma, or associate diploma in an institution in Australia and conducted in English
  4. Completed a degree, a higher degree, a diploma or a trade certificate that required at least two years of full-time study or training in an institution in or outside Australia and conducted in English.
  5. Completed all years of primary education and at least three years of secondary education in an educational institution in or outside Australia and conducted in English
  6. An assessment of functional English from a service provider of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) for eligible visa holders in Australia
  7. Complete an English test and attain the specified minimum results as listed below
English Test Minimum Result required
International English Language Testing System (IELT​​S Academic or General Training​​) Achieve an average band score of at least 4.5 based on the four test components of speaking, reading, listening and writing
Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT) Achieve a total band score of at least 32 based on the four test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) Achieve an overall band score of at least 30 based on the four test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening
Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Achieve an overall band score of at least 147 based on the four test components of speaking, reading, writing and listening


The English language test must have been completed within 12 months of lodging your application.

Note that some testing centres are providing versions of their tests that can be taken at home during COVID-19, such as TOEFL iBT – Special Home Edition, OET@Home and IELTS Indicator. The Department does not currently accept these tests.

Get More Information

To learn more about the Global Talent Visa, please see our Global Talent Independent Visa article.

If you are interested in the Global Talent Employer Sponsored programme (GTES), which enables employers to sponsor overseas workers for highly-skilled niche positions that cannot be filled by Australian workers through other standard visa programs, please refer to our articles on the Global Talent Employer Sponsored Visa and GTES Australia Visa Programme.

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Contact us to book a no-obligation consultation to find out more about the global talent independent permanent residence visa and how you can qualify.

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Australia’s migration laws are complex, and each case is different. We recommend that you seek professional advice if you are interested in the global talent visa program, as being fully informed will give you the best chance of achieving a successful outcome on your case. A migration professional can help you to do this.

For up to date advice on the Subclass 858 Global Talent visa, book your confidential consultation with a migration agent in Adelaide. PAX Migration Australia is a leading immigration advice.



Australian Government – Department of Home Affairs – Immigration and Citizenship – Migration program planning levels

Fair Work Commission – Hearings & decisions – High income threshold

Australian Government – Fair Work Ombudsman – Award & agreement free wages & conditions – High income employees

Australian Government – Department of Home Affairs – Immigration and citizenship – Settling in Australia – Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) – ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​About the program


ETS – TOEFL – Test Takers – TOEFL iBT – About the TOEFL iBT Test

Pearson PTE – The English Language Test – PTE Academic

Cambridge Assessment English – Cambridge English – Exams and tests – C1 Advanced

Australian Government – Department of Home Affairs – Immigration and citizenship – Help and support – Meeting our requirements – English language
Functional English