New changes to the visa system will make it easier for bright minds to make their mark in Australia. The two changes to the Australian migration programme offer entrepreneurs and postgraduate research students new visa options.

These changes are part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda launched in late 2015 by the Australian government, recognising the importance of fostering talent and skill in this area.

Firstly, from November 2016 entrepreneurs with innovative ideas will be able to apply for a provisional Entrepreneur visa, giving entrepreneurs a chance to launch their new idea to the Australian market.

The government has sought consultation as to the precise eligibility criteria that is to be required, but have pitched this visa at innovators with a fresh idea and financial backing from an approved investor. This will allow an individual to develop their idea in Australia with the support of their capital investor and the government.

It is expected that once the idea becomes an established business the entrepreneur will also be eligible for permanent residency, benefiting both the Australian economy and the individual.

This visa will be a new stream within the Provisional (subclass 188) and Permanent (subclass 888) Business Innovation and Investment visa that currently exists. It is expected there will be no cap on the number of this visa that can be granted.

Secondly, from December 2016, high achieving foreign students from postgraduate research degrees will be able to stay in Australia after gaining a Doctorate-level or Masters-by-research level qualification from an Australian institution.

After graduating, many post-graduates do not meet the points required for a General Skilled Migration visa due to a lack of practical work experience.

Those who gain a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) or ICT (Information and Communications Technology) graduate qualification, will receive extra points to help meet the requirements of these skilled visas.

It is hoped these academic achievers will fill a skills gap that currently exists in the STEM and ICT sectors.


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The Australian visa process can be complex and confusing; our lawyers work with you to guide you through every step of the way.

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