To attract the brightest female Asians, the country’s Global Talent Visa has already helped 6,000 talents chase their startup dreams.

In South-east Asia, the gender gap at technology firms has exacerbated the broader problems that women face in all industries: they make up more than 50% of university graduates but less than 15% make it to CEO and board-level positions.

To balance the disparity, one country has announced an initiative to secure and nurture female talent and provide more professional opportunities for the Asian workforce to support innovation and grow the Asia Pacific region’s (APAC) tech-startup landscape.

The Australian Government’s Global Business and Talent Attraction Taskforce has announced a partnership with a talent management consultancy firm to provide a supportive and empowering environment for the best and brightest Asian female talent, founders and entrepreneurs in Australia.

A VISA for female talent

Via the program, eligible individuals and firms will be offered a streamlined pathway to permanent residency with Australia’s Global Talent Visa. More than 6,000 talented individuals have received a Global Talent visa to Australia over the past two years. Of these, more than 30% are in the technology sector, including experts in quantum computing, blockchain and long-range Wi-Fi. One quarter are researchers and entrepreneurs in the health and life sciences industry. 

A further 20% of visa recipients are pioneers in resources and clean energy, while the remainder works across fields such as biotechnology and the development of advanced manufacturing materials.

Female talent across APAC who work in pioneering industries are encouraged to participate in the scheme, including those from advanced manufacturing; health and life sciences; financial services (including fintech); energy; renewables and resources; the circular economy; agrifood; cybersecurity; defence; and space and infrastructure. 

According to Peter Verwer AO, the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Global Business and Talent, bold and ambitious women with creative energy and technical expertise need to be given the opportunity to fill critical positions in future-facing industries. “Innovators in Australia can access some of the world’s best laboratories, research facilities, professional networks and government support” to plan their next career progression and build a global career.

Priming more female-led tech startups

Said Sarah Liu, founder and Managing Director of talent management firm involved in the partnership, The Dream Collective: “The APAC economy has demonstrated incredible resilience over the past 18 months and is fast becoming a global destination of innovation and growth. Australia is now ranked the fifth most startup-friendly country in the world, gaining strong momentum year on year. Its support for female-led businesses is also reflected in the investment ecosystem backing female founders, with a raft of grants and economic statements that female business leaders can access, making it an attractive destination to start, join and scale businesses.”

According to Liu, by 2025, an estimated 1m jobs are expected to be created by the technology industry alone. “I would encourage women across the world to consider and look into the incredible opportunities Australia can offer them both on a professional and personal level,” Liu suggested.

One quantum computing expert who relocated from Taiwan to Sydney as a beneficiary of the program, Yu-Ling Hsueh, said: “Getting an Australian Global Talent visa was surprisingly quick. One of the stand-out features about living in Australia is seeing how people from different backgrounds all work and live with each other in harmony. I love the work-life balance, the easy access to beaches, mountains, city culture, and of course, the amazing food.”