The Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 visa is a great option for international students who have completed studies in Australia.
The 485 gives you full work rights in Australia for between 18 months and 4 years, depending on the course you complete.
However, the 485 is more complex than it initially appears – this article acts as partial guide, it is NOT full advice. If you need fuller advice please contact us for a consultation
To apply for a Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 visa, you must lodge your application within 6 months of course completion. The “completion date” is the date you are notified of your final results. Many students get confused thinking the date of graduation is the critical date. This is not the case.
Most students will need to apply between the date of completion and the expiry of their student visa, but there are exceptions. Depending on when you complete, you might only have a couple of weeks to lodge your application. It’s critical that you lodge a complete application, otherwise your application could be refused.
Another important thing to check is how many weeks your course is registered for on CRICOS (the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students). You will need to have completed a course which is registered for at least 92 weeks on CRICOS to qualify for a 485.
This could be an issue if you have completed your course early (eg due to exemptions or studying during Summer semesters), or if you have spent a lot of time overseas during your studies.
We would recommend carefully checking how many days you were in Australia before lodging an application.
Unless you have a passport from the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada or New Zealand, you will need to complete an English test prior to lodging your 485 application.
It is very important not to leave this to the last minute, as there can be long waits for a testing date. Many students also find they don’t get the score they expect the first time they sit the test, so it’s a good idea to give yourself time to sit the test again if necessary before expiry of your student visa.
If you don’t provide a passing score in a test which you have sat for prior to lodging your 485 application, your application will be refused even if you later pass the English test. Even the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) will not be able to change this outcome, as English is a time of application requirement.
There are two different application pathways or “streams” – the Graduate Work Stream (GWS) and the Post Study Work Stream (PSWV).
Generally the PSWV is more favourable because of the following considerations:
- Validity: the PSWV is valid for 2-4 years, depending on the qualification you completed. The GWS is only valid for 18 months
- Skills Assessment: skills assessment is required for GWS but not for PSWV
- Occupations List: you will need an occupation on the correct list for the GWS, whereas there is no restriction on occupations for the PSWV.
However, you may not be eligible for the PSWV if:
- First Student Visa: if you’ve held a student visa which you applied for prior to 5 November 2011, you will not be eligible for a PSWV.
- Qualification Type: You have not completed qualifications at the Bachelor, Masters or PhD level in Australia, you won’t be eligible for a PSWV.
There are a number of other pitfalls which need to be avoided, which can be resolved during a consultation
Too often, students who lodge their own 485 visa miss a critical requirement and so lose their opportunity to access the 485 program. There is little room for error, and once the mistake is made, often it is not possible to remedy it, even if you are willing to appeal to the AAT.
If you would like advice on the requirements and your eligibility for a 485 visa, please book a consultation with us.