The Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA) contains commercially significant commitments to strengthen diversification and COVID-19 recovery for both countries, including export opportunities and jobs. Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced May 31 as the date of entry into force of the A-UKFTA, following the expected completion of UK domestic processes.
- Introduction of the Innovation and Early Careers Skills Exchange Pilot (IECSEP), providing new opportunities for UK citizens to work in Australia.
- Within two years of entry into force, Australians will be able to apply for working holidays in the UK to the age of 35, up from 30, and stay for a maximum of three years instead of two.
- Tariffs will be eliminated on over 99% of Australian goods exports to the UK. For some agricultural products like beef, sheep meat, dairy, and sugar, Australia will have access to expanding tariff quota volumes – within 10 years, these tariff quotas will be eliminated completely.
- Tariffs on imports from the UK are eliminated. After five years, all UK imports will enter Australia duty-free.
Understanding the IECSEP
There are two categories available for UK citizens:
- The Early Careers Skills stream will allow participants to undertake a short-term placement, secondment, or intra-corporate transfer for up to one year in Australia in a position relevant to their field of work in the sending organization
- The innovation stream will allow participants with a demonstrated contribution to innovation to undertake opportunities for up to three years in Australia.
- The 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.
- To be eligible for the IECSEP, applicants must be UK citizens aged between 21 and 45 of age at the time of application, hold tertiary qualifications, and have worked for a minimum of three months in the sending organization (including as graduate trainees).
For both categories, applicants must have a letter of offer or contract of employment and provide other supporting documentation as required. 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.
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