485 - PSWV - Post Study Work Stream

The Post Study Work stream of the 485 subclass visa or PSWV is a temporary work visa. Students need to complete studies at the Bachelor, Masters or Doctorate level which take at least 2 academic years.

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.

Validity Period

The duration of the visa depends on which studies have been completed as follows:
  • PhD: 4 years
  • Masters by Research: 3 years
  • Masters by Coursework or Bachelor Degree: 2 years

Immigration has announced that from 16 November 2019, international students who complete their studies at regional universities will be eligible for longer 485 visas. The additional time will depend on where the studies were undertaken, as defined by postcode:

  • 1 additional year: Study completed in Regional cities and major regional centres
  • 2 additional years: Study completed in Regional centres and other regional areas

What does the Visa Allow Me to Do?

The visa 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 First Student Visa Requirement

You can only qualify for a Post Study Work Visa if you have applied for and been granted your first student visa on or after 5 November 2011.

If you held a student visa applied for prior to 5 November 2011, then you are not eligible. This would include situations where you have studied and returned to your home country, have held a visa to study non-award courses or English courses, or even if you held a student visa as a dependent.

Even if you hold a student visa which you did apply for on or after 5 November 2011, you will still be ineligible if you have ever held a student visa prior to this date.

Note that it is the date you applied for the visa which is critical, not the date of grant.

If you made a student visa application prior to 5 November 2011 but it was not approved (e.g. due to refusal or because you withdrew your application), then you may still be eligible.

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:

  • Only studies at the Bachelor, Masters or Doctorate level count towards the 2 years requirement
  • The studies must be registered on CRICOS (see http://cricos.education.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

Which Occupations Can I Choose From?

There is NO occupations list for the Post Study Work Visa - the area of specialisation is not relevant providing your studies are at the right level.

Do I Need My Skills Assessed?

Skills assessment is NOT required for the post study work visa.

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 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.

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 (e.g. 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.


The Post Study 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 post study work visa, please book a consultation with one of our advisors to discuss further.

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