Can new visa scheme turn Australia into a 'start-up hotspot'?

A new visa aims to entice start-up talent to our shores from places like Silicon Valley.

A new visa aimed at attracting international talent to Australian start-ups has been hailed as a "game changer" by an industry expert.

The Turnbull government announced two new "Global Talent Scheme" visa categories on Monday - including one specifically aimed at bringing international talent to Australian start-ups.

The visa recipient must have at least three years work experience in a STEM-related field while the sponsor companies will need to demonstrate they tried to hire Australians first.


Chief executive of start-up advocacy group StartupAus Alex McCauley told SBS News the new visa will mean Australian start-ups can now "attract talent from around the world".

Previously, he said, start-ups were often unable to qualify to be an accredited visa sponsor. And when they did, many professions that start-ups needed were not on the visa occupation lists.

"It was either too difficult for a lot of start-ups or simply there was no mechanism for getting the right staff in," he said.

Mr McCauley said there were several key positions that start-ups will now likely try and lure from overseas.

"The biggest one we hear that start-ups need is digital product manager... Someone who is in charge of putting the vision together for that product, understanding the product's customers, designing the whole thing and managing it."

He said other professions Australian start-ups will recruit from overseas are senior software engineers, digital growth specialists, UX and UI designers and data scientists.

He said Australian start-ups will look to draw talent from "places where they've really been doing this for a while".

"So that means the big start-up hotspots (like) Silicon Valley, Austin in Texas, Tel Aviv in Israel and London."

"I think this could be a gamechanger for a lot of young companies."

"We keep telling these businesses we want them to compete on the global stage. But to do that, they need to access the best talent in the world. Now they can get that."

2 min read
Published 19 March 2018 at 9:26pm
By Nick Baker