Distinguished Talent Visa

Applicants who are exceptionally talented with an internationally recognized record of achievement in their profession, the arts, academia and research or sport and nominated by an Australian citizen or permanent resident or nationally recognized Australian organization may apply for permanent residence.

There are two distinct stages to a Distinguished Talent Permanent Residence Visa Application.

First, an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, eligible New Zealand citizen or an Australian organisation with a national reputation in the relevant area nominates the applicant testifying to the applicant’s standing and achievement in the relevant area.

Second, the applicant lodges a Permanent Residence Visa Application to the Department of Home Affairs demonstrating they:

  1. have an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in a profession, a sport, the arts, or academia and research;
  2. are still prominent in the relevant area; and
  3. would be an asset to the Australian community; and
  4. would have no difficulty in obtaining employment, or in becoming established independently, in Australia in the relevant area.

While these two applications are separate, nonetheless they are inextricably bound up with each other, and usually lodged with the Department of Home Affairs contemporaneously.

Testimony provided as part of the nomination should be comprehensive and reflect the nominator’s personal knowledge of the applicant’s exceptional and outstanding achievements in the relevant area. Additionally, the nominator should address the standing the applicant has in their field, particularly their standing internationally. The nomination should also include a resume of the nominator’s own standing in that field.

The Distinguished Talent Nomination and Visa Applications are both lodged and processed in Australia by the Department of Home Affairs irrespective of whether the visa applicant is onshore or offshore.

Nomination Application

To be eligible the nominator must demonstrate:

  • their standing in the relevant area having a national reputation in the same relevant area as the applicant;
  • their personal knowledge of the applicant’s exceptional and outstanding achievements and their standing in the relevant area;
National Reputation

'National reputation' means highly regarded throughout Australia. A reputation confined to one state or region would not be considered national. The reputation must be in the same field as the applicant's. It is also expected that the nominator's testimony be representative and recognised as such, of all Australian participants in the relevant field.

In assessing the status or standing of the nominator, consideration should be given to factors similar to those used in determining the standing of the applicant. Regardless of whether the nominator is an individual or an Australian organisation, consultation with the relevant peak body is recommended, particularly if there is any doubt as to the standing of the nominator. Care should be taken in such circumstances to ensure the privacy of the parties involved. In the absence of an Australian peak body, an appropriate international body may be consulted.

Permanent Residence Visa Application

The Distinguished Talent Nomination involves much more intensive preparation than a temporary work visa application and therefore a longer lead time both in preparation and, usually though not always, in processing of a visa application.  Where the visa applicant is in Australia and holds an acceptable temporary visa, the permanent visa application will be lodged and decided, and the permanent visa issued, all whilst the applicant remains in Australia. 

A non-exhaustive summary of some typical documents and requirements for visa applicants is as follows:

  • Certified or notarised copy of qualifications, awards and certificates;
  • Certified or notarised copy of marriage certificate (if applicable), and if divorced or separated from a partner, documentation may be required to evidence this;
  • Certified or notarised copy of unabridged birth certificates; unabridged birth certificates show the full particulars of the parents of a person, not merely the person's name and date and place of birth;
  • Health examination results. These examinations are much more intensive than for temporary residence. Physical examinations, x-rays and blood tests are usually required.  (Prescribed processes and time frames apply – do not proceed without advice);
  • Police clearance certificates from each country in which the applicant has lived during the past ten years, where stay in the country was for 12 or more months cumulatively.  Police clearances can take time to procure, in some cases many months. Military discharge certificates will be required for any applicant who has served in the military or para-military services of any country.  (Prescribed processes and time frames apply – do not proceed without advice);
  • Nomination approval from the Department of Home Affairs;
  • Other supporting documents may be required, e.g. proof of de facto spouse relationship; custody documents in respect of children (the Department of Home Affairs need to be satisfied about custody and guardianship of biological or adopted children and there are no legal impediments to them migrating and travelling out of their country of residence); previous employment references;
  • Curriculum vitae must current at the time of lodgement of the permanent residence visa application.

The above list is not conclusive, furthermore, no two applicants have the same factual situation and therefore no two visa applications are the same.  

Permanent Residence Visa applicants need to satisfy the following eligibility criteria:

  1. has an internationally recognised record of exceptional and outstanding achievement in a profession, a sport, the arts, or academia and research;
  2. is still prominent in the relevant area; and
  3. would be an asset to the Australian community; and
  4. would have no difficulty in obtaining employment, or in becoming established independently, in Australia in the relevant area.

1. International Achievement

What is Exceptional?

Applicants should be very eminent in the top echelons of their field. They should demonstrate extraordinary and remarkable abilities and be superior to others in their field.

‘Internationally recognised’ in this context means that a person’s achievements have or would be acclaimed as exceptional and outstanding in any country where the relevant field is practiced.

‘Exceptional’ and ‘outstanding’ should be accorded ordinary dictionary meaning within context.

Claims of an “excellent” level of performance in a job, particularly where the benefits of such performance may only be realised locally, would not be regarded as exceptional and outstanding achievement.

A single achievement by the applicant, particularly where it appears to be the only significant achievement, would not be regraded as ‘exceptional and outstanding’ achievement. It is anticipated that an applicant would have a record of sustained achievement that is unlikely to diminish in the future.

An achievement that may attract national acclaim would not be considered as ‘international recognised’ unless that achievement is in a field practised in other countries (including Australia) and has or would attract similar acclaim in those countries.

Given the ordinary dictionary meanings, in order to have a ‘record of exceptional and outstanding achievement’ an applicant would be expected to have achievements remarkable in relation to that field and in relation to other participants in that field. An applicant should be at the very top of their field.

In demonstanting the applicant’s record of achievement, the following may be considered:

  • information provided by the nominator, who should provide a full account of why they believe the applicant has an exceptional and outstanding record of achievement
  • supporting statement and material provided by the applicant detailing relevant aspects of their background including their qualifications, achievements and positions held. This should include information relating to any achievements in Australia
  • awards or higher qualifications received from internationally recognised institutions or organisations
  • details and supporting material on sporting achievements including national and international rankings, results in competitions or tournaments, statements from international sporting bodies, sporting scholarships received and newspaper and magazine articles attesting to achievements
  • details and supporting material on achievements in the arts including books published, national and internationals sales achieved, awards and commissions received, galleries in which works are displayed, scale and audience of displays held, recognition by peers, statements from international artistic bodies and newspaper and magazine articles attesting to achievements
  • details and supporting material on academic and research achievements including reports commissioned, books published, articles appearing in professional journals, magazines and newspapers, awards received, recognition by peers and statements of achievement from government, professional, scientific or other relevant bodies.

The internet is an important source of additional material and a method of confirming the accuracy of any claims made. Any adverse or conflicting information obtained from this source should be put to the applicant for comment.

International Recognition Required

Achievement in a profession, a sport, the arts or academia and research that has not or would not be recognised at an international level would not be regarded as exceptional and outstanding.

It is expected that an applicant’s achievements have or would be acclaimed as exceptional and outstanding in any country where the relevant field is practised. The field would also need to have recognition and acceptance in Australia as well as international standing. In determining the international standing of the applicant, the following may be considered:

  • international standing of the country, where the applicant’s achievements were realised, in respect of the particular field
  • standing of the achievement in relation to Australian standards and
  • standing of the achievement in relation to international standards.

For example, an applicant rated at or near the top of their field in their home country would be expected to have an international record of exceptional and outstanding achievement if the:

  • field is undertaken and recognised in a number of countries including Australia and
  • achievement would be similarly recognised in relation to international and Australian standards for that field.

2. Current Prominence

‘Prominent’ should be accorded ordinary dictionary meaning within context; appropriate synonyms are conspicuous and important.

It is essential for the integrity of the distinguished talent program that successful applicants not be assessed on past performance only but require current prominence in their area.

An applicant claiming distinguished talent in a particular area, but who has not been active in that area for more than 2 years, would not be regarded as retaining prominence in that area.

The information listed in “1” above is also relevant to the assessment of this criterion. However, it would be expected that the evidence provided is current and demonstrates current eminence. 

3. Asset to Australia

The applicant’s settlement in Australia is to benefit the Australian community, not just the applicant and/or nominator (or prospective employer). The reference to the Australian community is to be interpreted in terms of Australia as a whole and not just a local community in geographic terms or a particular social, cultural or business community in Australia.

Policy reflects that the applicant’s settlement in Australia will benefit the Australian community, not just the applicant and/or nominator (or prospective employer). The reference to the Australian community is to be interpreted in terms of Australia as a whole and not just a local community in geographic terms or a particular social, cultural or business community in Australia.

‘Asset’ does not only refer to economic benefit. It could also refer to social and/or cultural benefit to the Australian community.

An applicant should not have a history of achievement in an area that is, of its nature, not generally acceptable to Australia.

The benefit that the applicant would bring to the community:

should contribute to the betterment of the Australian community economically, socially or culturally (that is, depending on the applicant’s intended field of activity) or raising Australia sporting, artistic or academic standards internationally

  • must be clearly apparent and not simply conjecture on the part of the applicant or decision maker.
  • The fact that the applicant might introduce and/or transfer skills to Australia would not alone be sufficient to satisfy this criterion.

This criterion would not be considered satisfied if the applicant was involved in an area that is:

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

4. Employability

The applicant must demonstrate why they would have no difficulty in obtaining employment, or how they expect to support themselves, in Australia within their area of achievement. The following may be when assessing this criterion:

  • employment contracts or offers of employment related to the area of achievement. This may be evidenced by current and future employment opportunities from employers, employment/recruitment agencies, or organisations involved with the area of achievement at the national level.
  • evidence of self employment or opportunities to establish a viable business within the area of achievement.
  • evidence of sponsorships, scholarships, grants or other payments intended to support the applicant while they are engaged in activities related to the area of achievement.

Should the abovementioned points be applicable please provide appropriate documentation to supply financial support.

Income from employment which is not related to the area of achievement cannot satisfy this criteria even if this only comprises part of the overall income for the applicant.

Preparation, lodgement and processing

Preparation of the Distinguished Talent Nomination and Permanent Residence Visa applications may take up to a month including health and character checking. The Department of Home Affairs may take up to 3-9 months to process the applications.

Professional Consultation

We recommend a professional consultation to discuss the abovementioned information and to review your eligibility.

A professional consultation will enable us to explain the process comprehensively, appropriate options and strategies, timelines and costs and your prospects of success.

Please refer to consultation page.

Testimonials

“I cannot recommend the folks at Strategic Migration highly enough. Philip Summerbell, Maria Rodriguez and Tony Tan have shown patience, diligence and determination in all my dealings with them. We have sought to bring operatic artists of distinguished talent to Australia; Philip and his team have successfully secured Permanent Residency for each and every one of them.”

Patrick Togher
Founder of Patrick Togher Artists' Management providing personal management in Australia, New Zealand and Asia for leading opera and concert singers, conductors and instrumentalists.


"Strategic Migration provided invaluable assistance and advice with our successful application for permanent residency. They are thorough, professional and we would highly recommend their service.""

Tim Kelsey
a Distinguished Talent in the fields of national digital health services and systems, with a focus on engagement, innovation and clinical quality and safety. Tim is the incumbent and current chief executive of the Australian Federal Government's new Australian Digital Health Agency.

Immigration News

For news of the Distinguished Talent Visa and other news about Australian Migration, please refer to the Immigration News page.

Disclaimer: This website contains information relating to some of the abovementioned visa categories and has been sanctioned by a Registered Migration Agent. The information is for general guidance only and readers should obtain appropriate professional advice relevant to their personal circumstances before taking any action. Strategic Migration expressly disclaims any liability should the reader act without a professional engagement with Strategic Migration under which you have.