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Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement

Innovation and Early Career Skills Exchange Pilot

As part of the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA) the Innovation and Early Career Skills Exchange Pilot (IECSEP) provides new opportunities for UK citizens to work in Australia.

The IECSEP aims to build on the existing connections between Australia and the UK through exchanging knowledge and deepening cultural understandings, by facilitating early career mobility, and mobility for those involved in innovation.

Under the IECSEP, there are two categories available for UK citizens:

  • the Early Careers Skills stream, which will allow participants to undertake a short-term placement, secondment, or intra-corporate transfer up to one year in Australia in a position relevant to their field of work in the sending organisation; and
  • the Innovation stream, which will allow participants with a demonstrated contribution to innovation to undertake opportunities for up to three years in Australia.

Total visas available under the IECSEP will be 1,000 in the first year, and 2,000 in the second year of operation, during which the program will be reviewed.

Early Careers Skills Stream

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for the program, applicants must be:

  • UK citizens aged between 21 and 45 of age at the time of application;
  • hold tertiary qualifications.
  • have worked for a minimum of three months in the sending organisation (including as graduate trainees);

Innovation Stream

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for the program, applicants must be:

  • highly experienced and UK skilled citizens; and
  • have a demonstrated contribution to innovation.

What work can be engaged in?

Exchanges can take place in the following sectors:

  • Research and Development;
  • Renewable Energy;
  • Artificial Intelligence;
  • Medical Technology;
  • FinTech;
  • AgriTech; and
  • Audio-visual and Cultural industries.

How can I apply?

For both categories, applicants must:

  • have a letter of offer or contract of employment; and
  • provide other supporting documentation as required.

Successful applicants will need to apply to the Australian Department of Home Affairs for a Temporary work (International relations) visa (subclass 403). The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will issue successful applicants with a Letter of Support, which must be presented to the Department of Home Affairs at the time of application. 

Applications are currently not being taken for the IECSEP. Further updates regarding the timing of upcoming application rounds will be advised here. Please ensure you monitor this page regularly.

Please email aukfta.iecsep@dfat.gov.au for further information.

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