Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement to Go into Force

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.

Erickson Insights

Erickson Immigration Group will continue to share updates as more news is available. If you have questions about anything we’re reporting or case-specific questions, please contact your employer or EIG attorney.

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