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Updates to Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa settings

Changes to the 485 visa settings announced in November 2021 will provide students with some much-needed relief as Australia’s borders are set to reopen.

The new settings will extend measures to protect the post-study work rights of international students as well as extend the temporary graduate visa from two to three years for masters by coursework graduates.

What are the new visa settings:

  • Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders who have been unable to travel to Australia as a result of COVID-19 international border restrictions will be able to apply for a replacement visa.

  • This will allow current and former Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders whose visas expired on or after 1 February 2020 to re-apply for a new subclass 485 visa of the same duration as their original visa.

  • The length of stay on the Temporary Graduate visa will increase from two to three years for Masters by coursework graduates, matching that of Masters by research graduates. Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector graduates will also receive a two-year Temporary Graduate visa.

The new visa settings will also extend existing measures for students and temporary graduates to recognise time spent offshore studying online to count towards qualifying for a temporary graduate visa.

These measures will support the implementation of the soon-to-be-released Australian Strategy for International Education.

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.

Migrating to Australia

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 studentsexternal icon to live, work and study in Australia and include members of the family unit in your application when you apply. 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. See the COVID-19 and the borderexternal icon website.

Stay

This visa allows you to usually stay in the country for up to 18 months. However, Hong Kongexternal icon 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 workexternal icon.

Cost and processing times

The visa costs AUD $1,680 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 listexternal icon

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

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

  • provide evidence you have applied for an AFP checkexternal icon when you apply

  • provide evidence of the required level of Englishexternal icon with the application

For more details about the stream, click hereexternal icon.

IELTS Requirement

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

Book IELTS for Migration

While searching for a job, I applied for my 485 visa. It was the easiest visa I had ever applied for.

Read Alex's story here

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. 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. See the COVID-19 and the borderexternal icon website.

Stay

This visa allows you to stay in Australia between 2 – 4 years based on the level of your Australian study qualification. 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.

  • bachelor degree (including honours): 2 years

  • masters by coursework: 2 years

  • masters by research: 3 years

  • doctoral degree: 4 years

  • Hong Kongexternal icon and British National Overseas passport holders who successfully complete a bachelor, masters or doctoral degree: 5 years

Like the Graduate Work stream, you can't stay in Australia longer by extending this visa. However, you may be eligible to apply for a second Post Study Work stream visaexternal icon. To do this, you must live, work and/or study in a regional area while holding your first post-study work visa. That visa must have been granted based on a degree or higher from an Australian institution located in a regional area. 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 workexternal icon.

Cost and processing times

The visa costs AUD $1680 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 Estimatorexternal icon. 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 courseexternal icon

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

  • provide evidence you have applied for an AFP checkexternal icon when you apply

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

For more details about the stream, click hereexternal icon.

IELTS Requirement

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

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 2external icon area (1 year)

  • studied and live in Category 3external icon 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 $660 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 Estimatorexternal icon.

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 courseexternal icon 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 insuranceexternal icon for all applicants when you apply

For more details about the stream, click hereexternal icon.

An international student's post study journey and FAQs

International student, Alex started her Australian journey four years ago. 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 Affairsexternal icon 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.