If you are an international student interested in living and working in the country once you have completed your studies, you may be eligible to apply for a temporary graduate visa, subclass 485. Learn about the criteria to apply for Australia’s 485 visa below. Or get in touch with the team at HCM Legal—Brisbane’s leading immigration law experts—to find out more.
Do You Already Hold a Student Visa?
The subclass 485 visa Australia is a temporary graduate visa that allows foreign students who have completed at least 2 years of study in Australia to remain after finishing their studies. The length of stay granted is between 18 months and 4 years—depending on which stream you apply for.
Who is Eligible to Apply for a Temporary Graduate Visa?
Unlike other general skilled migration visas in Australia, 485 visa applications are not by invitation only and applicants do not need to submit an expression of interest. However, international students applying under the 485 visa graduate or post study work streams do have to meet certain requirements to make their visa application. This includes being less than 50 years old and older than 18 when they apply as well as:
- Having a recent qualification from an Australian education provider in a CRICOS-registered course
- Meeting the 2-year study requirement
- Meeting the general Skilled Migration basic requirements
What is a CRICOS-registered?
CRICOS is the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students. Training providers must be approved on CRICOS in Australia before they can teach overseas students.
What is the 2 year study requirement for the 485 visa in Australia?
To meet the full Australian study requirements of 2 years or more:
- Applicants must receive a recognised degree, trade qualification or diploma from a course registered with CRICOS.
- Students must receive their qualification within 6 months of making their application
- The course must be taught in English
- Students must have a valid Australian student visa throughout the duration of their studies
What are the General Skilled Migration Requirements?
All applicants applying for a 485 visa in Australia must meet the general skilled migration requirements on language, health and character before they make their visa application.
You and any family members travelling with you must have a valid passport. When you apply for a visa, once it is granted it corresponds with your passport. Therefore, you need to make sure that you don’t change passports before you travel, else your visa will not be valid. Furthermore, you should make sure there are at least 6 months left on your passport before it expires when you arrive in Australia.
English Language Requirement
Unless your home country is the UK, the USA, Canada, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland you must prove your English proficiency. You may have to take an IELTS test or provide evidence of your English proficiency by demonstrating you have, in the last 3 years, achieved the required score in an English test, such as IELTS.
The Australian government has stringent regulations to protect public health. Migrants will not be permitted entry if they pose a risk, for example if they:
- have tuberculosis
- are likely to give birth in Australia
- may incur health-related costs exceeding AUD49,000
Australian visa applications are strict and prevent people with criminal convictions from entering the country and you may be subject to a police check. Thus, you will not be allowed entry to Australia if you
- are a fugitive
- have been given a prison sentence of more than 12 months (whether served, or not)
- are, or have been involved with criminal organisations or persons
- have been involved with slavery, trafficking, genocide, smuggling or terrorism
- are in debt to the Australian government
- do not have enough funds for your return trip
What are the Australia 485 Visa Temporary Graduate Visa Streams for International Students?
Foreign students may be eligible to apply for the subclass 485 visa in Australia under the Graduate Work stream or the Post-Study Work stream.
485 Visa Australia - Graduate Work Stream
The Graduate Work Stream is for students who have completed at least two years of study in Australia and whose study is closely related to a nominated occupation on the Australian Skilled Occupation List (SOL). This temporary graduate visa is valid for 18 months (or up to 5 years for Hong Kong passport holders) and costs from AUD1,680.
485 Visa Australia - Post Study Work Stream
The Post Study Work Stream is a temporary visa that allows international students with an eligible qualification, such as a bachelor’s or higher degree received from a CRICOS-registered course, stay in Australia for up to 4 years (5 years for Hong Kong passport holders). The eligibility criteria for this student visa differs from the temporary graduate visa because applicants in this visa stream do not need to nominate an occupation on the SOL.
It costs AUD1,680 and the duration of a post-study work visa varies, depending on your qualification. Thus:
- Bachelor or taught master’s degrees – 2 years
- Research-based master’s degree – 3 years
- PhD – 4 years
Australia’s 485 visa is a temporary graduate working visa bestowing full-time rights to live, work, study and travel in and out of Australia while it is valid.
485 Visa Australia - Second Post Study Work Stream
The Second Post Study Work Stream is a student visa for holders of the temporary graduate visa in the post-study work stream. It allows a stay of between 1 and 2 years and costs AUD660.
What Entitlements Does the 485 Visa Australia Provide?
Australia’s 485 visa is a temporary graduate working visa bestowing full-time rights to live, work, study and travel in and out of Australia while it is valid. The visa also allows for certain family members to be included in your visa application, such as your partner, you or your partner’s dependent child or a dependent relative of you or your partner.
Staying in Australia After your Visa Expires
The 485 visa Australia is temporary and if you want to continue to stay in the country after your visa has expired, you will need to apply for a new visa in a different subclass. Our expert immigration lawyers in Brisbane will offer you assistance as to what visa application will meet your specific requirements.
Is Overseas Student Health Cover required?
If you already hold a valid student visa, Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is a condition, and you will already be covered, but you will need to provide evidence with your visa application of your existing OSHC.
If your student visa expires while you are waiting for the 485 visa to be processed and you are issued with a bridging visa, the OSHC will also expire. Therefore, you must get a new compliant health insurance policy so that your 485 visa application can be finalised. After the grant of your 485 visa, you must ensure you have adequate health insurance cover for the duration of your stay in Australia.
Advantages of Applying for the Graduate Visa (Subclass 485)
As the subclass 485 visa is not points tested, does not require employer sponsorship, relative sponsorship or a nominating territory/state, it is typically one of the easiest and least expensive ways of acquiring a work visa in Australia. However, it is important to think carefully about whether to apply through the Graduate Work Scheme or the Post Study Work Scheme as once you have submitted your application to one stream you cannot change it.
If you are serious about applying for a permanent visa, the temporary graduate visa gives you time to work towards acquiring the requirements and skills that are necessary for a successful application. You may apply for a permanent visa at any time while your temporary graduate visa is valid.
Need Expert Help with Your 485 Visa Australia Application?
Applying for an Australian visa can be tricky. The different pathways may be confusing, and they are not always straightforward depending on your own specific circumstances. Australia offers a wide range of options for international students and with the expert help of one of our lawyers with expert knowledge of the Australian 485 Visa process, we can guide you on your journey. Give yourself the best chance of ensuring your application is approved and contact HCM Legal today for further information and advice.