International students who have completed their studies and wish to continue living in Australia have the option to apply for a temporary graduate visa. This pathway can lead to full-time work in Australia and ultimately permanent residency (PR) and Australian citizenship, notes Sable International.
Sam Hopwood of Sable International reviews graduate visa details under:
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 wish to stay in Australia after your student visa expires.
The 485 visa allows you to complete a professional postgraduate year by gaining skilled work experience and improving your English. With this visa you can live, study and work temporarily in Australia.
The Temporary Graduate Visa is not a points visa nor does it require an employer sponsor.
While you are a temporary graduate visa holder, you can apply for another permanent visa at any time.
Common requirements for temporary graduate visa (subclass 485).
You have to:
- Be under the age of 50
- Possess an eligible visa
- I have had a student visa for the past six months
- Have a recent qualification in a CRICOS registered course
- Name only one flow: it is not possible to change visa flows after submitting the application
- Pass the English language requirements
- Attach specific evidence when applying
Visa flows for temporary graduates
The temporary graduate visa has three streams:
- Graduate Workflow – This visa is for international students who have recently graduated with skills and qualifications (undergraduate, diploma or business qualification)) relevant to an occupation in the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).
- Post-study workflow – This visa is for international students who have recently graduated with a degree from an Australian institution.
- Second Post-Study Workflow Visa – This visa is for holders who have already held a Post-Study Workflow Visa, who have graduated from an Australian institution located in a regional area.
This visa allows you to:
- Live, study and work in Australia.
- Take your family with you.
- Travel outside Australia and come back as many times as you like while your visa is valid. It is important to note that time spent outside Australia does not extend the visa.
The Graduate Work stream visa is suitable for students who have not studied a bachelor’s level course, but have still completed a course at the correct level for a job that is on the MLTSSL. Most commercial courses would fit this flow.
Graduate Workflow Requirements
- Having completed a course, taught in English, which led to the achievement of a degree, diploma or professional qualification, following at least two academic years (92 weeks) of study.
- I have been in Australia for at least 16 calendar months studying the course.
- Have a qualification relevant to an MLTSSL occupation.
- Have requested an assessment of competences in the profession named in the list of qualified professions. In reality, it is not necessary to have received the provisional skill rating. You just have to have applied.
- Provide proof of adequate health insurance for all applicants (you and your eligible family members) when you apply.
- Pass the good character requirements test.
- Provide proof of the required level of English with your application.
To meet the academic year requirement, it is possible in some circumstances to combine courses. For example, a student can complete two consecutive degree level courses and meet the Australian study requirement as part of the graduate workflow, provided the other components of the requirement are met.
You can usually stay for up to 18 months on this visa, but this has been temporarily increased to 24 months for visas granted from 1 December 2021. British and Hong Kong overseas national passport holders can stay for five years.
This visa is for international students who have recently graduated with a degree from an Australian institution. You don’t need to have a skills assessment nor do your studies relate to a relevant occupation.
- Have applied for and obtained the first student visa starting from 5 November 2011
- You have completed course work for an Australian undergraduate, masters or doctorate
- Provide proof of adequate health insurance for all applicants at the time of application
- Pass the good character requirements test
- Provide proof of the required level of English with the application
The duration of the visa depends on your qualification:
- Biennium: degree, degree with honors,
- Three years – Masters for research and masters for courses
- Four years – Doctorate
Hong Kong and British overseas national passport holders can stay for five years.
Second post-study workflow
This visa is for those who have already held a post-study workflow visa and have graduated from an Australian institution located in a regional area.
- Be in Australia when applying for this visa
- Hold a temporary graduate visa in the post-study workflow
- Have a recent degree in a CRICOS registered course from an educational institution based in an eligible regional area. This degree was supposed to lead to your first temporary graduate visa being granted in the post-study workflow
- 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 workflow
- Have proof of adequate health insurance for all applicants at the time of applying
On this stream, you can stay for another one or two years depending on:
- The regional location of the educational institution where you graduated led to the granting of your first temporary graduate visa in the post-study workflow.
- The regional area where you live as the holder of your first temporary graduate visa post-study workflow.
Qualified Graduate Visa (Subclass 476)
This visa allows recent engineering graduates to live, work and study in Australia for up to 18 months.
Visa Requirements for Qualified and Recognized Graduates
- Be under 31 years of age
- Have completed an engineering degree from a specific educational institution within the past two years
- Was not previously the primary visa holder of a 476 or 485 subclass visa
You will also need to have had an important sequence of studies or specialization in:
- Civil engineering
- Structural engineering
- chemical engineering
- Environmental engineering
- Electrical and electronic engineering
- Mechanics, production and plant engineering
- Mining and Materials Engineering
You cannot stay in Australia any longer by extending this visa, as you cannot be granted another Qualified 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 although you are unable to extend this visa, you may be eligible to apply for a permanent work visa after working in Australia for a few years. Many temporary graduate visa holders use their 485 visa time to develop the skills and requirements needed to apply for a permanent general qualified visa in Australia.
Work visas that you may qualify for after holding a subclass 485 or subclass 476 visa include:
- Skills shortage visa (subclass 482) (temporary – two or four years depending on the flow)
- Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186) (Permanent)
- Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189) (permanent)
- Qualified Qualified Visa (Subclass 190) (Permanent)
- Regional Skilled Work Visa (subclass 491) (temporary – five years)
Australian citizenship by bestowal
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 bestowal citizenship.