The Fourth Industrial Revolution 

Technology – a simple 10 letter word with millions of case in points, and counting.  Alongside how we communicate, connect, work and learn, technology has changed the way we consume services – think AirBnB, Uber and Mobile banking. Each sit as an app on our phones or as a tab on our favourite’s page and each enables informative immediate consumption, instant gratification or on the spot confirmation of certainty that our up and coming holiday has stepped further away from a rough plan to an active itinerary. There is no standing in queues waiting to transfer bulks of cash, no lucky dip waiting for a taxi cab on a busy street with the afterthought of how much it will all cost and how long it will take, and an increasing field of more unconventional options as to where to stay in a country you may have never seen before.

This is only our present. As we revel in the now, technology and the tech world is revving up for the future. There is a clear shift in attitude – there is no longer a desire to replicate the nuances of real life into the digital world. Instead we are working towards reshaping the physical world to map the digital. In the near years, cutting edge technology curbing the greenhouse footprint may be embedded into your own home with high – tech thermostats, eco – friendly smart appliances and home automation lighting. A new and budding intersection between fashion and technology means that soon your boots will be able to charge your iPhone and cyclists will be equipped with their own airbags via a collar.

Along such lines, technology has brewed and paved new pathways for entrepreneurship opportunities to the everyday man;

“Personally owned assets, from cars to spare bedrooms, will expand entrepreneurship, diversifying revenue streams.  It’s no fluke that within three years of trading, home – sharing platform Airbnb offers more rooms than some of the biggest hotel chains.”

Niall Dunne, Polymateria Limited

With our real world becoming the digital landscape, startups are handed untapped opportunities for fast growth and global reach. Critically however, all startups face the single initial challenge of sourcing the right skilled talent. There is thus an inherent imbalance in supply and demand for digital and tech talent both in Australia and the global community. As such, for the purposes of Australian economic prosperity, we have been dealt with the need to recruit talent from overseas.

The new Global Talent Visa pilot, which is to commence on 1 July 2018 lasting 12 months, works to break the barrier and provide startups with an opportunity to thrive in the digital market place. Further, it is a policy intention that the result of any visa grants will be a skills transfer from employee to employee and the Australian community in general.

The Global Talent Visa pilot has two streams.

Startup Stream

One stream is related to startup businesses. In this sphere, the visa is specific to technology-based and STEM-related startup businesses (e.g. digital, biomedical, agtech) and to be eligible the startup must:

  • Demonstrate that their recruitment policy gives first preference to Australian workers;
  • Labour market testing for the specific position;
  • That they are a good corporate citizen; Be endorsed by a ‘startup authority’ (further consultation between now and July will determine who or what will be considered a ‘startup authority’).

Eligible STEM-related start-up businesses will be able to sponsor up to 5 highly skilled and experienced individuals for positions earning a minimum market salary rate per annum (with no less than an AU$53,900 cash component) per year.

Established Business Stream

The other stream is related to established businesses who will need to:

  • Demonstrate an annual turnover of $4million dollars OR be publicly listed;
  • Demonstrate that their recruitment policy gives first preference to Australian workers;
  • Labour market testing for specific positions;
  • Must be a good corporate citizen;

Eligible established businesses will be able to sponsor up to 20 highly skilled and experienced individuals for positions earning a minimum of AU$180,000 per year.

The visa subclass utilized will be the Temporary Skills Shortage Subclass 482 and permanent residency will be an option after three (3) years employment on that visa.

This is definitively a gamechanger for Australian startups following the changes in the 457-visa program last year. The Government will consult further on the details of the scheme between now and July 2018.

Watch this space.