485 - Graduate Work Stream
By Mark Webster
Wednesday, 04 March 2015
The Graduate Work stream of the 485 subclass visa is an 18 month visa available to international students who complete studies in Australia taking 2 academic years or more.
It is a great option for students who would like to extend their stay in Australia after their studies. It also helps those who are seeking to stay in Australia permanently - either through General Skilled Migration or employer sponsorship.
What does the Visa Allow Me to Do?
The visa is valid for 18 months from the date of grant. It has full work rights, and also full study rights. It allows you to travel freely to and from Australia during the validity of the Visa.
What is the Australian Study Requirement?
You must complete a course or series of courses in Australia which take at least 2 academic years. There are a number of requirements:
- You can count studies at the diploma level or higher, and also Certificate III courses in trade occupations. This would include diplomas, advanced diplomas, bachelor degrees, graduate diplomas, masters, and PhDs
- Your studies need to be "closely related" to your nominated occupation
- The studies must be registered on CRICOS (see http://cricos.deewr.gov.au), and the total registered study period according to CRICOS must be at least 92 weeks
- You can count more than one course, providing each course meets the above requirements and results in 2 academic years of study
- You can have a break in between studies and still meet the 2 year study requirement
Which Occupations Can I Choose From?
You must pass skills assessment in an occupation on the Independent or Family Sponsored Occupations List
to be granted a 485 Graduate Work Stream visa.
Do I Need My Skills Assessed?
You will need to pass skills assessment in your nominated occupation - this will depend on the occupation and will generally be based on your qualifications, English language ability and any registration requirements.
Many skills assessing authorities have lower requirements for 485 applicants - this includes the accounting bodies, VETASSESS, Trades Recognition Australia and the Australian Computer Society.
The skills assessment must be lodged prior to the 485 visa application, but need not be completed at lodgement. It is important to ensure that you are able to meet the skills assessment requirements for your occupation, otherwise, your visa application will be refused.
What is the English Language Requirement?
You will need to establish your English language ability when you lodge your 485 visa application.
You can show this in one of the following ways:
- Hold a passport from the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada or New Zealand; or
- IELTS (Academic or General Training): overall average of 6 and at least 5 in each band; or
- Occupational English Test (OET): B Pass in each band; or
- Pearson (PTE Academic): overall average of 50 with at least 36 in each band; or
- TOEFL iBT (Internet Based Test): total score of 64, with at least 4 in Listening and Reading, and at least 14 in Writing and Speaking; or
- Cambridge (CAE): 169 overall average with at least 154 in each band.
Note that from 18 April 2015, average band scores apply with lower minimum scores apply to most English tests for the purposes of 485 visas.
What are the Health Insurance Requirements?
You will need to show that you have adequate arrangements for health insurance when your 485 visa is granted. Whilst it is OK to have OSHC
(Overseas Student Health Cover) at the time of application, you will need Working Visa
cover for approval of your 485 visa.
You also need to maintain your Working Visa cover whilst you hold your 485 visa. If you do not maintain this level of cover, your 485 visa might be cancelled.
Do I need Health Checks?
You would generally need to do medicals for grant of a 485 visa. If you've recently applied for a student visa extension, you may be able to re-use these medicals.
Will I need Police Checks?
You will need an Australian Federal Police (AFP) Check for yourself and any members of your family aged 16 or over. You must apply for the AFP checks prior
to lodgement of your 485 visa.
Note that from February 2015, police checks for countries you have lived in outside Australia are no longer required.
Are There Time Limits in Applying?
You must apply for your 485 visa within 6 months of completion
of your Australian studies. You must either hold a student visa when you apply, or to have held a student visa within the last 6 months. You must also make sure that you apply prior to expiry of your student visa, or at least have applied for another visa and are on a bridging A or B visa when the 485 application is lodged.
Do I Get a Bridging Visa When I Lodge?
When you apply for your 485 visa, you would in general receive a Bridging A visa allowing you to remain in Australia during processing of your 485 visa application.
The Bridging A visa has full work rights. If you held a substantive visa (eg student visa) when you apply for your 485, the work rights on the bridging visa will come into effect when the substantive visa expires.
The Bridging A visa may cease if you depart Australia. If you wish to travel whilst waiting for a decision on your 485 visa, you may wish to apply for a Bridging B visa to facilitate your travel.
How Long Will it Take?
485 visas are currently taking 2-3 months
to process for a complete application.
The Graduate Work visa is an excellent option for international students who wish to remain in Australia after completion of their studies.
If you would like assistance in applying for a graduate work visa, please book a consultation with one of our advisors
to discuss further.