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IECSEP June 2024

As part of the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA), the Australian Government has introduced a pilot program, the Innovation and Early Careers Skills Exchange Pilot (IECSEP). This program provides opportunities for UK citizens to live and work in Australia for up to 3 years. By providing this new and streamlined mobility pathway for early career professionals and demonstrated innovators, the IECSEP aims to build on the existing relationships between Australia and the UK. There are two streams as part of the IECSEP- the Early Careers Skills stream, and the Innovation stream.

The Early Careers Skills stream allows participants to undertake a short-term placement, secondment or intra-corporate transfer for up to one year in Australia. To be eligible for this stream, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • be aged between 21 and 45 (inclusive) at the time of application
  • hold tertiary qualifications
  • have worked for at least 3 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
  • have prospective employment in Australia in an occupation defined at the ANZSCO Skill Levels 1, 2 or 3
The Innovation stream allows highly skilled and experienced participants to undertake opportunities for up to three years in Australia. To be eligible for this stream, applicants must meet the following criteria:
  • have a demonstrated contribution to innovation
  • be highly skilled
  • be highly experienced
  • have prospective employment in Australia in an occupation defined at the ANZSCO Skill Level 1
For the IECSEP, innovation broadly refers to ‘the development or implementation of a new or improved product, process, or organisational method, or a combination’ of the above. The IECSEP recognises that innovation drives efficiency and productivity growth in all industries, and that innovators work across a broad and diverse range of occupations, so Innovation stream applications are welcome from applicants working across all sectors, including service-based industries, and academia. The merit criteria used to assess these applications are the applicant’s contribution to innovation, whether they are highly experienced, and whether they are highly skilled.
All IECSEP applicants need to have a confirmed job in Australia to be eligible to participate. To prove their prospective employment in Australia, applicants will be required to provide the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) with a letter of employment offer or a copy of an employment contract when submitting their application.
All IECSEP applicants must also demonstrate UK citizenship, and that they have adequate financial means to support themselves for the duration of their stay in Australia. This would be $5000 plus the fare to where the applicant is going to after Australia.
IECSEP applicants who are successful will then need to apply for a Temporary Work (International Relations) subclass 403 visa Government Agreement stream and the DFAT will provide successful applicants with a Letter of Support to be presented to the Department of Home Affairs when applying for the visa. The cost of the visa is from $355.00.
In the first year (8 June 2023 to 7 June 2024), 1,000 visas will be available under the IECSEP, and 2,000 will be available in the second year (8 June 2024 to 7 June 2025).
The IECSEP is currently open for applications. The current round is for the Early Careers stream, and it has been extended to close at 11:59pm (BST) on Sunday 30 June 2024. Round 2, for the Innovation stream, will also close at 11:59pm (BST) on Sunday 30 June 2024.

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