ACS, Australia’s professional association for the ICT, has welcomed the announcement of a new skilled visa scheme to enable Australian businesses address growing shortages of high tech professionals.

The Global Talent Scheme has been developed by the Australian Government in response to increased competition globally for high-tech skills and talent. It seeks to attract experienced professionals from the global talent pool to help transfer skills to Australian workers and grow Australian-based businesses.

The scheme will consist of two components.

Established businesses with an annual turnover of more than $4 million will be able to sponsor highly skilled and experienced individuals for positions with earnings above $180,000 into Australia. The employers will need to be able to demonstrate that they prioritise the employment of Australians and that there will be skills transfer to Australian workers as a result of the person being granted a visa.

Technology-based and STEM-related start-up businesses will also be able to sponsor experienced people with specialised technology skills. Start-ups will need to be recognised by a start-up authority and demonstrate that they prioritise the employment of Australians.

In the both instances, a four-year Temporary Skill Shortage visa will be issued with permanent residence applications available after three years.

ACS President, Yohan Ramasundara said the new scheme is a critical measure to promote the creation of new high growth tech companies and industries.

“It is no secret that there is a skills shortage in Australia’s technology sector. The ACS Digital Pulse 2017 reported that there will be a shortfall of 81,000 workers in the ICT sector over next 4 years. This pilot scheme will help innovative and agile organisations get the highly skilled workers they need, along with meeting the requirement to develop the skills base of our local workforce,” said Ramasundara.

“The future for our economy will involve organisations in fast-paced high-tech industries and employers often need to fill specialised positions and sometimes are unable to find Australian workers for the position. As we continue to push for greater development of our local skilled workforce, we cannot afford to let growth stagnate. Therefore, a sensible approach to skilled migration in the technology sector is crucial.”

Ramasundara said that under the new approach, larger organisations will have clarity as they seek to innovate and evolve, while start-ups will have access to new methods of enticing talent here from overseas.

“While it is only about to enter the pilot phase, this program looks to be a very positive step for our profession. I look forward to seeing the growth that will come from the best global talent coming to Australia and helping to build the local digital economy,” he said.

The Australian Government will consult further on the details of the scheme over the next few months before piloting it for 12 months, beginning on 1 July 2018. An industry advisory group will provide ongoing guidance for the pilot.