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Innovation and Early Careers Skills Exchange Pilot

Innovation and Early Careers Skills Exchange Pilot


As part of the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (“A-UKFTA”), the Innovation and Early Careers Skills Exchange Pilot (“IECSEP”) provides new opportunities for eligible citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (“UK”) with a temporary visa to pursue the next phase of their careers in Australia.

The IECSEP is comprised of two streams:

  • the Early Careers Skills stream – under this stream, participants are allowed to undertake a short-term placement, secondment, or intra-corporate transfer for up to one year in Australia; and
  • the Innovation stream – pursuant to this stream, highly skilled and experienced participants, with a demonstrated contribution to innovation, are allowed to undertake opportunities for up to three years in Australia.

Applicants for the IECSEP will have to first apply to and be issued with a letter of support from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (“DFAT”). They must then provide that document to the Department of Home Affairs when they make an application for a Temporary Work (International Relations) (subclass 403) visa in the Government Agreement stream.

Application rounds

Both streams are currently open for applications. In this regard, the current round for the Early Careers stream was extended and will close at 11.59pm (GMT) on 30 April 2024, and round two for the Innovation stream will also close at 11.59pm (GMT) on Tuesday 30 April 2024.

However, DFAT may close application rounds on a date prior to those mentioned above. If so, they will provide seven days’ notice on their website prior to closure.


Regardless of stream, all applicants must be able to demonstrate citizenship of the UK, and that they have adequate financial means to support themselves for the duration of their stay in Australia.

To satisfy the requirements for the Early Careers stream, applicants must:

  • be aged between 21 and 45 at the time of application;
  • hold tertiary qualifications;
  • have worked for at least three months in their current role, and the prospective employment in Australia must be relevant to the applicant’s field of work in their current role; and
  • have prospective employment in Australia in an occupation defined at the ANZSCO Skill Levels 1, 2 or 3.

In contrast, applicants for the Innovation stream must:

  • have a demonstrated contribution to innovation;
  • be highly skilled;
  • be highly experienced; and
  • have prospective employment in Australia in an occupation defined at the ANZSCO Skill Level.

Applicants must also satisfy the requirements for the grant of a Temporary Work (International Relations) subclass 403 visa Government Agreement stream (including health and character).

For all things immigration, feel free to contact us or phone (03 9063 3340).


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