Frequently Asked Questions - Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 Visas

webster By Mark Webster
Monday, 20 May 2013

The Temporary Graduate Subclass 485 visa is available for international students completing studies in Australia.

It allows students to remain in Australia for between 18 months and 4 years, depending on the student's circumstances. During this time, they have full work rights in Australia.

Below are some of the more frequently asked questions about Subclass 485 visas.

Q. What are the different types of Temporary Graduate Subclass 485 visa?

There are two "streams" for the Temporary Graduate Subclass 485 visa:
  • Post Study Work Stream: commonly referred to as the Post Study Work Visa (PSWV). This eligibility stream was introduced in March 2013 for students applying for their first student visa after 5 November 2011
  • The Graduate Work Stream: criteria are similar to the 485 Graduate Skilled visa as it was prior to March 2013

Q. How do I qualify for the Graduate Work Stream?

Main requirements for the Graduate Work Stream are:
  • Have completed 2 years of study in Australia
  • Have completed a trade certificate, diploma, bachelor degree, graduate diploma, masters or PhD within the last 6 months
  • Nominate an occupation on the Independent and Family Sponsored Occupations List and pass skills assessment in that occupation
  • Australian studies are "closely related" to the nominated occupation
  • Have held a student visa within the last 6 months, and hold a substantive visa, bridging A or B visa at time of application
  • English: if you hold a passport from UK, Ireland, USA, Canada or NZ, you will not need to undertake an English test. Otherwise, you must complete one of the recognised English tests: IELTS, OET, Pearson (PTE Academic), TOEFL iBT or Cambridge (CAE Advanced).
  • Aged under 50 at time of application

Q. How do I qualify for a PSWV (Post Study Work Stream)?

Main requirements for the PSWV or Post Study Work Stream are:
  • Applied for your first student visa on or after 5 November 2011
  • Have completed 2 years of study in Australia at the bachelor level or higher
  • Have completed a bachelor degree, masters or PhD within the last 6 months
  • Have held a student visa within the last 6 months, and hold a substantive visa, bridging A or B visa at time of application
  • English: if you hold a passport from UK, Ireland, USA, Canada or NZ, you will not need to undertake an English test. Otherwise, you must complete one of the recognised English tests: IELTS, OET, Pearson (PTE Academic), TOEFL iBT or Cambridge (CAE Advanced).
  • Aged under 50 at time of application

Q. How long is the Temporary Graduate Visa Valid for?

485 visas granted under the Graduate Work Stream are valid for 18 months from the date of grant.

Post Study Work Stream (PSWV) visas can be valid for between 2 and 4 years from the date of grant, depending on the type of qualification completed. Validity periods are as follows:
  • 2 years: completion of Bachelor Degree, Bachelor with Honours, Masters by Coursework or Masters (Extended)
  • 3 years: Masters by Research
  • 4 years: Doctorate

Q. What is the difference between the Graduate Work Stream and the PSWV (Post Study Work) Stream?

A wider range of Australian qualifications can be used to apply for the Graduate Work Stream. For instance, it is possible to complete a trade qualification, diploma, advanced diploma or graduate diploma and apply for a Graduate Work Stream visa. Note that the Australian studies must be closely related to the nominated occupation for the Graduate Work Stream, and that applicants must pass skills assessment in their nominated occupation.

For the PSWV (Post Study Work) stream, only studies at the bachelor level or higher can be used in meeting the 2 year study requirement. That is, studies at the diploma or trade level cannot be used for the Post Study Work stream. Applicants must have completed one of the specified qualifications within the last 6 months. The qualifications specified are:
  • Bachelor Degree
  • Bachelor with Honours
  • Masters by Coursework
  • Masters (Extended)
  • Masters by Research
  • Doctorate
Unlike the Graduate Work Stream, the Post Study Work stream does not require skills assessment, and applicants do not need to nominate an occupation on the Skilled Occupations List. There is no requirement to show that the studies are "closely related" to any nominated occupation.

However, students who applied for their first student visa prior to 5 November 2011 are not eligible for the PSWV (Post Study Work Stream).

Q. I held a student visa as a dependent prior to 5 November 2011. Can I apply under the Post Study Work Stream?

No - even if you held a student visa as a dependent prior to 5 November 2011, you cannot apply for the Post Study Work Stream.

Q. I held a student visa prior to 5 November 2011. Can I Qualify for the PSWV (Post Study Work Stream) if I apply for a new Student Visa?

No - if you hold a student visa which you applied for prior to 5 November 2011, you cannot qualify for the Post Study Work Stream, even if you make a new application after 5 November 2011.

Q. I applied for a student visa prior to 5 November 2011, but my application was refused. Can I Qualify for the PSWV (Post Study Work Stream) if I apply for a new Student Visa?

Yes - the 5 November requirement only applies to student visas which were granted. Applications which were refused or withdrawn will not count against you in applying for a Post Study Work stream visa.

Q. I applied for a student visa prior to 5 November 2011, but it was granted after 5 November. Can I Qualify for the PSWV (Post Study Work Stream) if I apply for a new Student Visa?

No - even if your student visa was granted after 5 November 2011, you will be ineligible for the Post Study Work Stream if you made the application prior to 5 November 2011.

Q. I have completed a 2-year course, but have received exemptions for my overseas studies. Can I qualify for a Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 Visa?

To qualify for a subclass 485 visa, you must have completed 2 academic years of study. This is defined as being a course, or courses, which are registered on CRICOS as taking at least 92 weeks.

If you have received exemptions for overseas studies, then you may still meet the Australian study requirement.

The Federal Court case of Riaz & Anor v Minister for Immigration & Anor [2013] FCCA 2244 (20 December 2013) states that RPL or previous studies, whether undertaken in Australia or overseas, do not affect the 2-year study requirement.

Q. Can I Lodge Prior to Completing my English Test?

When you make your application, you must provide evidence that you have met the English language requirement.

As a result, you will need to provide your qualifying passport from the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada or NZ, or alternatively a suitable English Test result at the date of application.

Q. Can I Lodge Prior to obtaining my Skills Assessment?

If applying under the Post Study Work stream, you do not need to obtain a skills assessment - this is only required for the Graduate Work stream.

To apply for a Graduate Work stream visa, you must have applied for skills assessment and provide evidence of this application. You can make your Graduate Work stream application prior to the skills assessment being finalised. To be granted your visa, the skills assessment must be finalised and positive.

Q. Can I include Family Members in my Application?

You can include partners and dependent children in your 485 Temporary Graduate visa application.

You can do this by either:
  • Including them when you make the application (this is referred to as a "combined" application); or
  • Applying for 485 visas for them once you have been granted your 485 visa (the dependents are referred to as "subsequent entrants" in this case)
Including dependents in a combined application is cheaper and quicker in most cases. However, they need to be in Australia when they are granted.

Additional fees are required when applying for subsequent entrants, and you can only make the application once your 485 visa has been granted. Subsequent entrants can either be in Australia or overseas when their visas are granted.

Except for children born during processing, it is not possible to add dependents whilst your 485 application is being processed.

Want more Information?

Feel free to book a consultation if you would like to discuss your visa options or eligibility.

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