Australian High Commission
United Kingdom
Australia House, London

Innovation and Early Careers Skills Exchange Pilot

Innovation and Early Careers Skills Exchange Pilot

As part of the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA) the Innovation and Early Careers 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, by establishing a new and streamlined mobility pathway for early career professionals and demonstrated innovators from the UK.

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 for up to one year in Australia in a position relevant to their field of work in the sending organisation
  • 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.

The first IECSEP application round will open at 9am (BST) on Monday 25 September 2023. Both streams will be open for applications at that time.

DFAT will shortly release the first edition of the IECSEP Guidebook. This will provide more information about the IECSEP application and assessment processes. In the meantime, you can continue to view the introductory Guidelines for Applicants.

Innovation Stream

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for the program, applicants must be highly experienced and skilled UK citizens from any sector, with a demonstrated contribution to innovation in areas including:

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

How can I apply?

Applications for the opening round of IECSEP can be submitted online through this webpage from 9am (BST) on Monday 25 September 2023. Links to both application forms (Early Careers and Innovation) will go live from that time. These links will be made available on this webpage.

If you're think about applying for either stream of the IECSEP, you can register your interest.

Please read the Guidelines for Applicants for guidance on the application requirements.  You can also preview the Innovation Stream and Early Careers sample application forms.

For both categories, applicants must:

  • have a letter of offer or contract of employment
  • 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.

Be sure to monitor this page for updates about upcoming application rounds.

How can employers and businesses benefit?

The IECSEP recognises the importance of innovation and skills mobility to the economies of Australia and the United Kingdom. The IECSEP will provide Australian employers with an opportunity to access innovative and early-career professionals from the UK, through the pilot of a new and streamlined temporary mobility pathway from the UK to Australia. UK organisations will benefit from employee upskilling, as well as a way of providing key staff with an international career development opportunity.

The Innovation stream will provide a unique opportunity for highly experienced and skilled UK innovators to work in Australian organisations for up to three years, including through intra-corporate transfers.

The Early Careers stream will give Australian organisations the opportunity to participate in 12-month secondments, placements, or intra-corporate transfers of tertiary qualified UK professionals who are early in their career.

If the IECSEP sounds right for your Australian organisation, talk about possible staffing opportunities under the IECSEP with your UK partners, or with suitably qualified potential applicants in the UK. Likewise, UK organisations looking to develop staff through IECSEP should reach out to Australian partners. Applicants will need to be ready to provide DFAT with a letter of employment offer, or a contract of employment from an Australian employer, at the time of application.

Contact us

For further information, please email [email protected].