You’ve finished your studies in Australia, and your Student Visa is about to expire. What next? A Graduate 485 Visa is a great way to stay temporarily in Australia after your graduation, while you start your working life, and gain the experience you need for a permanent work visa.
Graduate Visa Requirements
Not every person in Australia on a Student visa is eligible for a Graduate Visa.
To access this visa, your qualification must meet one of two requirements. It must either:
relate to an occupation on the skilled occupation list
be a higher education degree conferred by an organization registered on the Commonwealth Register of Courses and Institutions for Overseas Students (CRICOS).
On top of the requirements above, your qualification must have consisted of at least 2 academic years of study (92 weeks), completed by you over a minimum of 16 calendar months.
The Graduate visa has two different streams, depending on the nature of your qualification.
If your qualification relates to an occupation on the skilled occupation list, you can apply for a Graduate Visa under the Graduate Work stream. If you have a higher education degree, you can apply for a Graduate Visa under the Post-Study Work Stream.
Qualifications that relate to an occupation on the skilled occupation list
To be eligible for a Graduate Visa under the Graduate Work Stream, your qualification must relate to an occupation on the Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List (the MLTSSL). You can find a full list of occupations included in the MLTSSL here.
Sometimes, the relationship between your qualification and a listed occupation may be fairly obvious. If, for example, you have Certificate III in Bricklaying/Blocklaying, then the Bricklayer occupation may be a clear selection. Other times, a relationship can be harder to establish. We recommend you talk to a migration agent who will be able to let you know which occupation best matches your degree.
Recognized Prior Learning and the Minimum Time Requirements
Recognized prior learning can reduce the time it takes for you to complete your degree. But if prior learning reduces your study time, will you still meet the minimum time requirements?
The answer is that credit granted on the basis of study undertaken in Australia in a course registered with CRICOS may contribute towards meeting the Australian study requirement, but only once.
The credited units cannot be counted towards meeting the Australian study requirement if they are already being used to meet the requirement as part of another course or if they were granted on the basis of study undertaken either overseas or within Australia in a non-CRICOS registered course.
When to apply for a Graduate Visa
You must apply for a Graduate visa within 6 months of the date of course completion. You cannot apply for your visa before your course is completed.
You can apply for a Graduate visa either while you are still on your Student Visa, or within six months of its expiration. If you apply for a Graduate visa after your Student Visa expires, you must currently hold a Bridging Visa A or B, or another substantive visa.
How long does a Graduate Visa last?
The length of your Graduate visa depends on the qualification you used to obtain it.
For those applying through the Graduate Work Stream, your Graduate 485 visa will be valid for 18 months.
For those applying through the Post-Study Stream, the length of your Graduate visa depends on the kind of qualification completed.
If you completed a Bachelor Degree, Bachelor Degree with Honours, Masters by Coursework Degree or Masters (extended) Degree, your visa will be valid for two years
If you completed a Masters by Research Degree, your visa will be valid for three years
If you completed a Doctoral Degree, your visa will be valid for four years.
Need help applying for your Graduate Visa? Our friendly Sydney Migration Agents and Immigration Lawyers can make the visa process straightforward for you.