A rather niche visa, the Distinguished Talent visa (subclass 124) is for those who do not fit into any other visa category but would make substantial contributions to the Australian community. Do you have what it takes? We will cover the following:

  • Between 18 years and 55 years of age
  • Internationally recognised achievement
  • Must still be prominent
  • Asset to Australia
  • Employability
  • Nomination
  • Exemptions to age


Internationally recognised achievement

This refers to the applicant having exceptional and outstanding achievement in a profession, a sport, the arts or academic and research. The Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) considers ‘exceptional’ as applicants who are able to demonstrate extraordinary and remarkable abilities and are superior to the peers in their field, and ‘Exceptional and outstanding’ refer to applicants who are internationally recognised as leaders in their particular field.

‘Internationally recognised’ means where the applicant’s achievements have or would be acclaimed as exceptional and outstanding in any country where their relevant field is practiced. Applicants who are considered as outstanding locally are not eligible. In other words, any achievement by the applicant that is taken as exceptional and outstanding nationally, must other countries, also be taken to be exceptional and outstanding. Further to this, the field in which the applicant has sustained exceptional and outstanding achievement in must be one that is recognized in Australia and internationally.

It is also important that the applicant has a sustained record of achievement. A single achievement is not sufficient for an applicant to be considered for the purposes of the Distinguished Talent 124 visa.

The DOHA will consider the following factors when making an assessment on this requirement:

  • The international standing of the country where the applicant’s achievements were realised, in respect of the particular field
  • The standing of the achievement in relation to Australian standards
  • The standing of the achievement in relation to international standards

Again we must emphasize that there are two requirements that must be fulfilled here; the field that the applicant is accomplished is is recognized in a number of countries include Australia and the achievement would be similarly recognized in international and Australian standards in that field.

Examples of evidence that an applicant can provide to support this include:

  • Information provided by the nominator, who should provide a full account of why they believe the applicant has an exceptional and outstanding record of achievement
  • Supporting statement and material provided by the applicant detailing relevant aspects of their background including their qualifications, achievements and positions held. This should include information relating to any achievements in Australia
  • Supporting statements from internationally recognised individuals or organisations in the field who can pass comment on the applicant’s achievements and the applicant’s reputation within the field
  • Awards or higher qualifications received from internationally recognised institutions or organisations
  • Details and supporting material on sporting achievements, including:
    • national and international rankings and
    • results in competitions or tournaments and
    • statements from international sporting bodies and
    • sporting scholarships received and
    • newspaper and magazine articles attesting to achievements.
  • Details and supporting material on achievements in the arts, including:
    • books published and
    • national and internationals sales achieved and
    • awards and commissions received and
    • galleries in which works are displayed and
    • scale and audience of displays held and
    • recognition by peers and
    • honours and accolades (for example, an Academy Award, or a Nobel Prize in Literature) and
    • academic qualifications associated with the applicant’s area of the arts and
    • statements from international artistic bodies and
    • newspaper and magazine articles attesting to achievements.
  • Details and supporting material on academic and research achievements, including:
    • reports commissioned and
    • books published and
    • articles appearing in professional journals, magazines and newspapers and
    • awards received and
    • recognition by peers and
    • statements of achievement from government, professional, scientific or other relevant bodies and
    • honours and accolades (for example, a Nobel Prize in Medicine) and
    • professional designation such as PhD, P.Eng or M.D, whether this be purely honorary or symbolic, or associated with credentials attesting to specific competence, learning or skills and
    • membership to international groups and organisations associated with the area of learning and
    • evidence of government/private grants associated with the applicant’s area of research and
    • evidence of receiving a fellowship or honorary appointments such as Professor or Associate Professor in highly regarded educational institutions that specialise in the same field.
  • Details and supporting material on professional achievements including:
    • industry awards and accolades and
    • references from current and past employers and
    • statements from prominent industry peers and
    • academic degrees or professional designations associated with the applicant’s field of work and
    • personal/professional titles (such as CEO, Lord, Knight, Right Honourable) indicating an earned rank or position within a formal power structure.


Must still be prominent

Further emphasising on the applicant having sustained record of accomplishment, this requirement asks that the applicant not only have a sustained record, but that the applicant is currently still prominent on an international level in their field. An applicant who has not been active at a high level in their field for over two years would not be considered to still be prominent.


Asset to Australia

Being a benefit to Australia can be economical, social and/or cultural. The applicant having a history or achievement in an area or field that is not generally acceptable or is offensive to the Australian community will fail to meet this requirement.

The benefit that the applicant would bring to the community:

  • Should contribute to the betterment of the Australia community economically, socially or culturally, depending on the applicant’s intended field of activity, or raising Australia sporting, artistic or academic standards internationally
  • Must be clearly apparent and not simply conjecture on the part of the applicant or s65 delegate.



The applicant is required to demonstrate that they would suffer little difficult in gaining employment. Evidence would include:

  • Employment contracts or offers of employment related to the area of achievement. This may be evidenced by current and future employment opportunities from employers, employment/recruitment agencies, or organizations involved with the area of achievement at the national level
  • Evidence of self-employment or opportunities to establish a viable business within the area of achievement
  • Evidence of sponsorships, scholarships, grants or other payments intended to support the applicant while they are engaged in activities related to the area of achievement

Any income that is not related to the applicant’s area of achievement, such as personal savings, are not considered to fulfill this requirement, even if that only makes up a proportion of the means as to how they will support themselves in Australia. It may seem unfair, but an applicant who is distinguished to the degree that is required should not have difficulty in finding employment.



This visa is a sponsored one. The sponsor must be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or an eligible New Zealand citizen or an Australian organization that has a national reputation that is relevant to the applicant’s record of achievement.

Having a national reputation means being highly regarded throughout Australia. A reputation that is confined to one state or region is not considered national. Their reputation must also be in the same field as the applicants.

The nominator must have an in-depth personal knowledge of the applicant’s exceptional and outstanding achievements as well as their own knowledge and standing in that field.


Age exemptions

Should there be exceptional benefits to Australia, the age requirement of being between 18 years and 55 years of age may be waived.

To demonstrate exceptional benefits, the applicant must provide a submission that demonstrated that approval of their application would result in exceptional benefit to the Australian community exceeding that normally required of a successful distinguished talent applicant. It is expected that the benefit would elevate the international standing of that particular field in Australia.

If the applicant is under 18, the applicant is likely to be in the field of sports. The applicant should be ranked in the top 5 internationally for their age group and the sport must be one that is:

  • Played in Australia and internationally and
  • Included in regular international competitions such as the Olympics

To gain the waiver of the age requirement, the applicant must also be able to show ongoing benefit to the Australian community. Applicants who are over 55 years of age will need to show that they will not be ceasing their pursuit of the activity in the field in which they were accomplished within a few years of their move to Australia. A detailed statement should outline their intentions following their settlement in Australia.

Are you of distinguished talent? Book a consultation to speak one of our highly experienced migration specialists. Call +61 2 8054 2537, 0434 890 199 or book online.