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The MATES Program: A New Chapter in India-Australia Relations

The Australian Federal Budget papers have announced 1 November 2024 as the start date for the Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early-professionals Scheme (MATES) for citizens of India. This innovative initiative is set to strengthen bilateral ties and offer significant benefits to both nations.

Strengthening Bilateral Relations through MATES

The MATES program, established under the Migration and Mobility Partnership Arrangement (MMPA), marks a significant milestone in the India-Australia relationship. The MMPA is a comprehensive bilateral framework designed to foster two-way migration, enhance cooperation, and address common challenges for mutual benefit.

MATES underscores the commitment of India and Australia to collaborate on strategic interests, from economic growth to technological innovation. This initiative highlights the shared dedication to creating mutually beneficial outcomes.

Supporting Statements

Ms. Ravneet Pawha, Vice President (Global Alliances) and CEO of Deakin University, South Asia, expressed strong support for MATES:

"As an immersive partner in India’s growth story for three decades and a crucial pioneer of India-Australia knowledge cooperation, Deakin University is thrilled to support this key initiative. MATES will not only strengthen the bond between Australia and India but also foster an environment where young professionals can thrive, share knowledge, and drive forward the frontiers of technology and innovation. We look forward to supporting and witnessing talented individuals bring positive impact to our community and industries.”

Key Benefits of MATES

Enhanced Skill Exchange: MATES facilitates the temporary mobility of Indian graduates and early career professionals to Australia, promoting a dynamic exchange of skills and knowledge. It targets critical sectors such as renewable energy, engineering, ICT, AI, FinTech, and AgriTech, thereby driving innovation and economic growth.

Strengthening Academic and Professional Ties: The program will reinforce academic and professional connections between the two nations. Australian universities and institutions will benefit from an influx of bright, motivated students and professionals, while Indian participants will gain access to world-class education and training.

Promoting Cultural Understanding: MATES promotes cultural exchange and understanding between India and Australia. This cultural diplomacy can enhance people-to-people connections and deepen the overall relationship between the two countries.

Addressing Global Challenges Together: By collaborating, India and Australia can tackle critical global issues such as climate change, technological advancements, and sustainable development. The combined knowledge and expertise will contribute to global innovation and excellence.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for MATES, applicants must:

● Be Indian nationals aged 30 or younger at the time of application.

● Have proficient English language skills (IELTS score of at least 6, with a minimum of 5 in each part).

● Have graduated within the last two years from an eligible educational institution.

● Hold a qualification (Bachelor’s degree or higher) in fields such as renewable energy, mining, engineering, ICT, AI, FinTech, or AgriTech.

Key Features of the MATES Program

No Employer Sponsorship Required: Applicants can apply directly for a visa without the need for an Australian employer’s sponsorship.

Flexible Work Opportunities: Participants can work in various sectors, expanding their skills and professional networks.

Family Inclusion: Participants can bring dependents (spouses and children), who will also have work rights in Australia.

Multiple Entry Visa: Visa holders can enter and exit Australia multiple times within the 24-month validity period.

Pilot Program and Future Outlook

Starting as a pilot program, MATES will offer 3,000 places annually for primary applicants. Visa holders will have the opportunity to extend their stay by applying for another visa that allows temporary or permanent residence, provided they meet the eligibility criteria.

Launch Date and Application Details

MATES is set to open for applications in late 2024. Detailed information regarding visa subclass, application fees, and other related information will be available soon on wider circulation platforms.


MATES is a crucial initiative that both nations will welcome. It enhances India-Australia cooperation across various domains and lays a strong foundation for a vibrant and enduring partnership between the two nations.

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