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Updates to the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa - 2024

Article Updated April 2024

The Australian Government has announced changes that will take effect in 2024 which will affect the Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa.

Some of the recent announcements include:

  1. English language requirements for student and graduate visas have

    increased. For the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa, the IELTS requirement has increased from 6 to 6.5.

  2. The Government seeks to stop 'visa hopping' and they are considering restricting 485 visa holders and other temporary visa holders from applying for student visas onshore. There will be further announcements early in 2024.

  3. The Government is looking to restructure graduate visas in mid-2024 which will help align post-study work rights with actual career prospects. As such, international higher education graduates will no longer be able to apply for the extension, based on the qualification list from mid-2024.

The changes below should take effect from 1 July 2024, subject to the passage of legislative amendments:

Graduate Work stream

The Graduate Work stream will be renamed to the Post-Vocational Education Work stream.

Maximum eligible age:

  • The maximum eligible age for Post-Vocational Education Work stream applicants will reduce to 35 years of age or under.

  • Applicants no longer eligible for the Post-Vocational Education Work stream due to the age reduction may be eligible for a number of other visas

Qualifications:

  • Applicants must hold an associate degree, diploma or trade qualification, closely related to their nominated occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).

  • Applicants with a degree level qualification or higher will no longer be eligible for this stream. If an applicant holds one of these qualifications, they must apply through the Post-Higher Education Work stream.

Length of stay:

  • Applicants may continue to stay for up to 18 months.

Hong Kong or British National Overseas passport holders:

  • They may be able to stay for up to 5 years.

  • They will continue to be eligible provided they are under 50 years of age.

Post-Study Work stream

The Post-Study Work stream will be renamed to the Post-Higher Education Work stream.

Maximum eligible age:

  • The maximum eligible age for Post-Higher Education Work stream applicants will reduce to 35 years of age or under.

  • Applicants no longer eligible for the Post-Higher Education Work stream due to the age reduction may be eligible for a number of other visas.

The ‘select degree’ 2 year extension will cease.

Stay periods will change to the following:

  • Bachelor degree (including honours) – up to 2 years

  • Masters (coursework and extended) – up to 2 years

  • Masters (research) and doctoral degree (PhD) – up to 3 years.

Hong Kong and British National Overseas passport holders:

  • They may be able to stay for up to 5 years.

  • They will continue to be eligible provided they are under 50 years of age.

Stay periods for Indian nationals, as agreed in the Australian Indian – Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA), remain as:

  • Bachelor degree (including honours) – up to 2 years

  • Bachelor degree (with first class honours in STEM, including ICT) – up to 3 years

  • Masters (coursework, extended and research) – up to 3 years

  • Doctoral degrees (PhD) – up to 4 years.

Second Post-Study Work stream

The Second Post-Study Work stream will be renamed the Second Post-Higher Education Work stream. There are no other changes to this stream.

Replacement stream

The Replacement stream will cease.

Read more about these changes on the Department of Home Affairs website

International students may need to consider regional study options more than ever, given the continued availability of the regional extension for the Temporary Graduate 485 visa, not to mention the unique opportunities offered by the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) 491 visa, which is exclusively available in regional areas. -- Alice Guan (MARN1909953) , IDP registered MARA agent

Changes to international student work hours

From 1 July 2023, the working hour cap for international students will be increased from 40 to 48 hours per fortnight.

Read more about this announcement on the Department of Education's website

We will continue to update this page with official Department of Home Affairs announcements related to the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa.

Do you want to work in Australia after graduating?

Congratulations! If you're graduating soon or have just graduated, you might be wondering what’s next for you. Want to gain work experience and develop your skills? You can apply for the Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485). It’s important to note that the 485 visa has three different streams:

  • Graduate Work stream

  • Post-Study Work stream, and

  • Second Post-Study Work stream

The cost of the visa and the length of your stay will depend on which stream you apply for. To help you discover more about the 485 visa, processing time, eligibility, and estimated fees, here’s an overview of each stream, an international students’ post study journey in Australia and answers to some frequently asked questions.

Book IELTS for migration

Post-Study Work stream

Overview

If you have recently graduated with a degree from an Australian institution, you can work and live in Australia temporarily with this visa. You can include members of the family unit in your application when you apply.

Stay

This visa allows you to stay in Australia usually for 18 months - 6 years, depending on your qualifications and streams.

You can travel outside Australia and return as many times as you want while the visa is valid and the time you spend outside Australia does not extend the visa. Current and future temporary graduate visa holders from Hong Kong will also have a pathway to permanent residency after 5 years.

For other applicants, you might be eligible for other skilled work visas. Try the Australian Department of Home Affairs’ visa finder to find out options for work.

Cost and processing times

The visa costs AUD $1895 for the main applicant but there is also a charge for each family member who applies for the visa with you. You might also have to pay other costs for health checks, police certificates and biometrics. To work out what your visa will cost use the Visa Pricing Estimator. Processing time is approximately 8- 10 months.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply for the temporary graduate visa (subclass 485) - Post-Study Work stream you must:

  • be under 50 years of age

  • have applied for and been granted your first student visa on or after 5 November 2011

  • hold an eligible visa

  • have held a student visa in the last 6 months

  • have a recent degree in a CRICOS-registered course

  • provide evidence of adequate health insurance for all applicants when you apply

  • provide evidence you have applied for an AFP check when you apply

  • provide evidence of the required level of English with the application

For more details about the stream, click here.

IELTS Requirement

You need an overall score of at least 6 with a minimum score of 5 for each of the 4 parts.

Note: In early 2024, the Government will increase English language requirements for the Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa. The IELTS requirement will increase from 6 to 6.5.

English language test for Australian visas

Second Post-Study Work stream

Overview

This visa is for holders of a first Temporary Graduate visa in the post-study work stream who graduated with a degree from an Australian institution located in a regional area. It lets you live, work and study in Australia, temporarily. You can include members of the family unit in your application when you apply. However, accompanying dependents must be in Australia to apply for a second Temporary Graduate post-study work stream visa.

Stay

The length of your stay in Australia will depend on:

  • where you studied and graduated from as the holder of a student visa and

  • where you live as the holder of your first Temporary Graduate visa in the post-study work stream. If you:

  • studied and live in Category 2 area (1 year)

  • studied and live in Category 3 area (2 years)

  • You can't stay in Australia longer by extending this visa. Additionally, you can travel outside Australia and return as many times as you want while your visa is valid.

Cost

The visa costs AUD $745 for the primary applicant but there is also a charge for each family member who applies for the visa with you. You might also have to pay other costs for health checks, police certificates and biometrics. To work out what your visa will cost use the Visa Pricing Estimator.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply for the temporary graduate visa (subclass 485) – Second Post-Study Work stream you must:

  • be under 50 years of age

  • be in Australia when you apply for this visa

  • hold a Temporary Graduate visa in the post-study work stream as the main applicant

  • have a recent degree in a CRICOS-registered course from an education institution based in an eligible designated regional area, that led to the grant of your first Temporary Graduate visa in the post-study work stream

  • have lived in an eligible designated regional area for at least 2 years before applying for the second Temporary Graduate visa in the post-study work stream

  • provide evidence of adequate health insurance for all applicants when you apply

For more details about the stream, click here.

Graduate Work stream

Overview

If you have recently graduated from a course relating to an occupation where there is a skill shortage in Australia. This visa allows international students to live, work and study in Australia and include members of the family unit in your application when you apply.

Stay

Temporarily increased to 24 months for visas granted from 1 December 2021. However, Hong Kong and British National Overseas passport holders may stay for 5 years. It’s granted with multiple entries so you can leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you want while the visa is valid. Important to note that the time you spend outside Australia does not extend the visa. Also, you can't stay in Australia longer by extending this visa. But, you might be eligible for other skilled work visas so use the Australian Department of Home Affairs’ visa finder to find out options for work.

Cost and processing times

The visa costs AUD $1,895 for the primary applicant but there is also a charge for each family member who applies for the visa with you. You might also have to pay other costs for health checks, police certificates and biometrics. To work out what your visa will cost use the Visa Pricing Estimator. Processing time is approximately 9 - 13 months

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible to apply for the temporary graduate visa (subclass 485) - Graduate Work stream you must:

  • be under 50 years of age

  • have an eligible visa

  • have held a student visa in the last 6 months

  • have a qualification relevant to an occupation on the skilled occupation list

  • have applied for a skills assessment in your nominated occupation on the skilled occupation list

  • provide evidence of adequate health insurance for all applicants when you apply

  • provide evidence you have applied for an AFP check when you apply

  • provide evidence of the required level of English with the application

For more details about the stream, click here.

IELTS Requirement

You need an overall score of at least 6 with a minimum score of 5 for each of the 4 parts.

Note: In early 2024, the Government will increase English language requirements for the Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa. The IELTS requirement will increase from 6 to 6.5.

Hear from a migration agent

We sat down with Alice Guan (MARN1909953), IDP's in-house migration agent to hear what she thinks of these changes:

Whenever there is a challenge, opportunities arise alongside it. International students may need to consider regional study options more than ever, given the continued availability of the regional extension for the Temporary Graduate 485 visa, not to mention the unique opportunities offered by the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) 491 visa, which is exclusively available in regional areas, "she advised.

She added, "I cannot emphasise the importance of employability enough, as the migration strategy indicates that the work experience requirement for a Temporary Skills Shortage 482 visa (and future Skills in Demand visa, employer-sponsored) will be changed to provide Temporary Graduate 485 visa holders with more opportunities to transition to a skilled visa. Proposed reforms to the points test will also offer graduates working in skilled jobs faster pathways to permanent residency.

If you’re an international student interested in migrating to Australia, get personalised visa advice from one of IDP's friendly and experienced Migration Services agents.

Get migration help

An international student's post study journey and FAQs

International student, Alex started her Australian journey back in 2018. She shares why she chose to move to Australia and describes her post study journey and job search.

We have also gathered all the answers to the questions we get asked the most about applying for the Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485). Click on the link below to discover more.

Read Alex's story and FAQs

Immigration and the law

Legislation about immigration changes frequently. For example, in June 2021 Australia added 22 new occupations to its priority migration list. So, it’s important to check the Australian Department of Home Affairs website for changes that may apply to you. And, if you are interested in Australian student visas, work visas, or looking to migrate permanently, you need to lodge an application with the Australian Government. You may want to consider getting support from a lawyer or migration agent.

About this Article

Published on February 24, 2023

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