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How is ‘high income’ assessed for the Global Talent Visa?

The Australian Government announced that it will close the Global Talent Visa in late 2024 and replace it with the new National Innovation Visa. Follow this link for more details about the National Innovation Visa.

We have assisted (and currently assisting) a number of successful Global Talent Visa (GTV) applicants, and we get a lot of enquiries about it. One of the most frequently asked questions related to their income, i.e, they receive a basic salary and gets awarded company shares or bonuses, or they own the business and receive a minimum salary but receive dividends. Would their salary be assessed as equivalent to or higher than Australia’s Fair Work High Income Threshold (FWHIT)?

This issue was, previously, made more confusing when the Global Talent Visa EOI webform states that "Income includes salary, commissions, allowances, bonuses, investment dividends and other sources of personal income. For foreign income, calculate the Australian dollar amount using current exchange rates."   This has now been changed.

When submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) for the Global Talent Visa it is important to address that the applicant meets the salary requirement otherwise the EOI will most likely not be successful.

For those not familiar with the Global Talent Visa (subclass 858), it is a visa designed to attract high-performing, highly skilled and talented individuals working in particularly target sectors of Digitech, FinTech, Agri-food and AgTech, Health Industries, Defence, advanced manufacturing and space, Circular Economy, Resources, Energy, Infrastructure and tourism and Education.


Read more about the Global Talent Visa



Ministerial Direction 89, give directions in relation to the processing of the Global Talent visa and gives the highest priority to applications submitted in relation to the above-mentioned sectors and where the primary applicant’s current earnings are an amount equal to or greater than the FWHIT or the applicant has received a job offer from and Australian employer with an annual salary equivalent to or higher than the FWHIT or there is evidence that the applicant is likely to attract a salary equal to or higher than FWHIT.


Australian money


FWHIT is assessed with reference to ‘earnings’ as defined by section 332 of the Fair Work Act 2009 which states:

  (1)  An employee’s earnings include:

                     (a)  the employee’s wages; and

                     (b)  amounts applied or dealt with in any way on the employee’s behalf or as the employee directs; and

                     (c)  the agreed money value of non‑monetary benefits; and

                     (d)  amounts or benefits prescribed by the regulations.


             (2)  However, an employee’s earnings do not include the following:

                     (a)  payments the amount of which cannot be determined in advance;

                     (b)  reimbursements;

                     (c)  contributions to a superannuation fund to the extent that they are contributions to which subsection (4) applies;

                     (d)  amounts prescribed by the regulations.

Note:          Some examples of payments covered by paragraph (a) are commissions, incentive‑based payments and bonuses, and overtime (unless the overtime is guaranteed).


             (3)  Non‑monetary benefits are benefits other than an entitlement to a payment of money:

                     (a)  to which the employee is entitled in return for the performance of work; and

                     (b)  for which a reasonable money value has been agreed by the employee and the employer;

but does not include a benefit prescribed by the regulations.


             (4)  This subsection applies to contributions that the employer makes to a superannuation fund to the extent that one or more of the following applies:

                     (a)  the employer would have been liable to pay superannuation guarantee charge under the Superannuation Guarantee Charge Act 1992 in relation to the person if the amounts had not been so contributed;

                     (b)  the employer is required to contribute to the fund for the employee’s benefit in relation to a defined benefit interest (within the meaning of section 291‑175 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997) of the employee;

                     (c)  the employer is required to contribute to the fund for the employee’s benefit under a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory.


From the above definition, income such as commissions, dividends, bonuses, non-guaranteed payments an overtime would not be counted towards the assessment of salary or earning to the FWHIT. Income received by a business owner which is not drawn as a salary or wage would also not be considered.

The Department to ensure that their webform is consistent with the above policy now changed the wording to, “Earnings include salary, but do not include payments where the amount cannot be determined in advance such as, commissions, incentive-based payments, bonuses, overtime (except for guaranteed overtime), reimbursements and superannuation.”

If you are interested in applying for the Global Talent Visa or if you want to check if you meet the criteria for the Global Talent Visa, you can take our free GTV assessment here.

Read more about the Global Talent Visa

How can Work Visa Lawyers help?

Work Visa Lawyers is highly experienced in all parts of the Global Talent visa application process. We are able to assist with all aspects of the application, and can also provide advice in relation to:

  • your eligibility for a Global Talent Visa
  • documents to demonstrate your skills and ability to attract salary

Work Visa Lawyers will provide an eligibility assessment before advising you to proceed with a visa application.

Our team of experienced Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents look forward to assisting you with your Australian visa or appeal.

Based in Adelaide South Australia, we provide Australian Immigration advice to people and businesses from all over the world.



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Tuesday, 25 June 2024

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