International students who have completed their studies and wish to continue living in Australia, have the option of applying for a Temporary Graduate visa. This route can lead to working in Australia full-time and eventually permanent residency (PR) and Australian citizenship.
The Temporary Graduate visa (subclass (485)
The Temporary Graduate visa (Subclass 485) is a visa for international students in Australia who have completed their studies. You can apply for this visa if you want to stay in Australia after your Student visa has expired. The 485 visa enables you to complete a postgraduate professional year while gaining skilled work experience and improving your English. With this visa, you can temporarily live, study and work in Australia.
The Temporary Graduate visa is not a points-based visa nor does it require an employer sponsor.
While holding the Temporary Graduate visa, you can apply for another, permanent visa at any time.
Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) common requirements
- Be under 50 years of age
- Hold an eligible visa
- Have held a student visa in the last six months
- Have a recent qualification in a CRICOS-registered course
- Nominate one stream only – it is not possible to change visa streams after you apply
- Pass the English language requirements
- Attach specified evidence when you apply
See also: How to study abroad as a South African
Temporary Graduate visa streams
The Temporary Graduate visa has three streams:
- Graduate Work stream – This visa is for international students who have recently graduated with skills and qualifications (degree, diploma or trade qualification)) that are relevant to an occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).
- Post-Study Work stream – This visa is for international students who have recently graduated with a degree from an Australian institution.
- Second Post-Study Work stream – This visa is for holders who have already held a Post-Study Work stream visa, who graduated with a degree from an Australian institution located in a regional area.
This visa allows you to:
- Live, study and work in Australia.
- Bring your family with you.
- Travel outside Australia and return as many times as you want while the visa is valid. It’s important to note that time spent outside Australia does not extend the visa.
Graduate Work stream
The Graduate Work stream visa is suitable for students who did not study a bachelor level course, but still completed a course at the correct level for a job that is on the MLTSSL. Most trade courses would fit under this stream.
Graduate Work stream requirements
Applicants will need to:
- Have completed a course, in English, that resulted in a degree, diploma or trade qualification, as a result of at least two academic years (92 weeks) of study.
- Have been in Australia for at least 16 calendar months studying the course.
- Have a qualification relevant to an occupation on the MLTSSL. Have applied for a skills assessment in your nominated occupation on the skilled occupation list. You don’t actually have to have received the provisional skills assessment. You just need to have applied for it.
- Provide evidence of adequate health insurance for all applicants (you and your eligible family members) when you apply.
- Pass the good character requirement test.
- Provide evidence of the required level of English with your application.
To meet the academic year requirement, you may combine courses in some circumstances. For example, a student may complete two consecutive diploma-level courses and satisfy the Australian study requirement under the Graduate Work stream, provided the other components of the requirement are satisfied.
You can usually stay for up to 18 months on this visa, but this has temporarily been increased to 24 months for visas granted from 1 December 2021. Hong Kong and British National Overseas passport holders may stay for five years.
Post-Study Work stream
This visa is for international students who have recently graduated with a degree from an Australian institution. There’s no need to have a skills assessment nor have your studies relate to a relevant occupation.
Post-Study Work stream requirements
Applicants will need to:
- Have applied for and been granted your first student visa on or after 5 November 2011
- Completed the course work for an Australian bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degree
- Provide evidence of adequate health insurance for all applicants when you apply
- Pass the good character requirement test
- Provide evidence of the required level of English with the application
The duration of your visa depends on your qualification:
- Two years – Bachelor’s degree, bachelor with Honours,
- Three years – Masters by research and masters by coursework
- Four years – Doctorate
Hong Kong and British National Overseas passport holders may stay for five years.
Second Post-Study Work stream
This visa is for those who have already held a Post-Study Work stream visa and graduated with a degree from an Australian institution located in a regional area.
Second Post-Study Work stream requirements
Applicants will need to:
- Be in Australia when you apply for this visa
- Hold a Temporary Graduate visa in the Post-Study Work stream
- Have a recent degree in a CRICOS-registered course from an educational institution based in an eligible regional area. This degree should have led to the granting of your first Temporary Graduate visa in the Post-Study Work stream
- Have lived in an eligible designated regional area for at least two years before applying for the second Temporary Graduate visa in the post-study work stream
- Have evidence of adequate health insurance for all applicants when you apply
On this stream, you can stay for a further one to two years depending on:
- The regional location of the educational institution that you graduated from, that led to the grant of your first Temporary Graduate visa in the Post-Study Work stream.
- The regional area that you live in as the holder of your first Temporary Graduate visa post-study work stream.
Skilled-Recognised Graduate visa (subclass 476)
This visa allows recent engineering graduates to live, work and study in Australia for up to 18 months.
Skilled-Recognised Graduate visa requirements
Applicants will need to:
- Be under 31 years of age
- Have completed an engineering degree at a specified educational institution in the past two years
- Not have previously been the primary visa holder of a subclass 476 or 485 visa
You will also need to have had a major sequence of study, or a specialisation in:
- Civil engineering
- Structural engineering
- Chemical engineering
- Environmental engineering
- Electrical and electronics engineering
- Mechanical, production and plant engineering
- Mining and material engineering
You can't stay in Australia longer by extending this visa, as you can't be granted another Skilled-Recognised Graduate visa. If you wish to stay, you will need to apply for another visa.
How to use a graduate visa to become an Australian citizen
The Temporary Graduate visa can only be applied for once and, while you are not able to extend this visa, you may be eligible to apply for a permanent work visa after you have worked in Australia for a few years. Many Temporary Graduate visa holders use their time on the 485 visa to build up the skills and requirements necessary to apply for a permanent general skilled visa in Australia.
Working visas that you might qualify for after holding a subclass 485 or subclass 476 visa include:
- Temporary Skill Shortage visa (subclass 482) (temporary – two or four years depending on the stream)
- Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) (permanent)
- Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189) (permanent)
- Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190) (permanent)
- Skilled Work Regional visa (subclass 491) (temporary – five years)
Australian citizenship by conferral
You may be eligible for Australian citizenship through residency after four years of continuous residency on an eligible visa and after 12 months of permanent residency. This is also known as citizenship through conferral.
Graduates affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions are now able to apply for and be granted a Temporary Graduate visa outside Australia – they must hold or have held an eligible Student visa. Another concession that has been made because of COVID-19 is that the time you spend during online classes will be counted as a part of your study requirements.
To prove that you were affected by COVID-19, you must submit a completed Form 1545, which is to be completed by your education provider.
If you’d like assistance applying for your Australian visa, our registered migration agents are ready to make the whole process easier. Get in touch via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +613 (0) 8651 4500 (Australia) or +27 (0) 21 657 1526(South Africa) or +44 (0) 20 7759 5307 (UK) to discuss your options in more detail.
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