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Details of New Post Study Work Visa Released

webster By Mark Webster
Tuesday, 18 December 2012

More details on the Post Study Work Visa (PSWV) have been released by the Department of Immigration.

The Post Study Work Visa is a visa for international students completing studies in Australia. It is due to be introduced in early 2013, and will be a stream within the 485 visa subclass.

What are the changes to the Subclass 485 visa?

The Graduate Skilled Subclass 485 will be renamed the Temporary Graduate subclass. The Subclass 485 will now have two streams to apply through:

  • the Graduate Work Stream - this will have similar eligibility criteria similar to the current 485 visa
  • the Post-Study Work Stream - this is a new stream that has been introduced as recommended by the Knight Review.

    How do I qualify for the new Post-Study Work Visa?

    In order to qualify for the new Post-Study Work Visa Stream, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Australian Study: students must have completed a course (or courses) in Australia, taking at least 92 weeks according to the CRICOS registration of the courses

  • Students must have completed a degree in Australia (bachelor, masters or PhD) - students completing diplomas or graduate diplomas are not eligible unless such study counts towards completion of a degree

  • Studies must have been completed at most 6 months prior to applying for the PSWV

  • Applicants must have competent English - generally a score of at least 6 in each band of IELTS, or hold a passport from a native English speaking country

  • Applicants must be aged under 50

  • The first student visa held by the applicant must have been applied for after 5 November 2011 when the Genuine Temporary Entry requirement was introduced

    How long will the Post Study Work Visa be valid for?

    The duration of the PSWV will depend on the course completed by the student:

  • 2 Years: Bachelor and Masters by coursework
  • 3 Years: Masters by Research
  • 4 Years: PhD

    What are the benefits Compared to the Current 485 Visa?

    The PSWV is significantly different to the current 485 visa - in most ways it is much more beneficial than the current 485 Visa:

  • It does not require students to undergo skills assessment - the current 485 visa requires students to complete a skills assessment in their nominated occupation to be granted a visa

  • It does not require students to nominate a skilled occupation. This is especially important given that from 1 January, the occupations list for 485 visas will be reduced significantly. Students will need to nominate an occupation on the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) to be eligible - the SOL includes some 190 occupations only.

  • The duration of the current 485 is only 18 months - the PSWV is valid for at least 2 years, and up to 4 years for PhD students

    PSWV Visa Not Available to People Studying Prior to 5 November 2011

    The PSWV is only available to students who applied for their first student visa after 5 November 2011. If a person has applied for a student visa prior to 5 November 2011, they are not eligible for the PSWV. The reasoning behind this is that from 5 November 2011, students were assessed under the Genuine Temporary Entrant (GTE) requirement as recommended by the Knight Review.

    Even if a student has applied for an extension to their student visa after 5 November 2011, they will not be eligible for a PSWV if they held any type of student visa prior to 5 November 2011.

    Inequitable Consequences of PSWV Policy

    If the PSWV is not available to students who have applied for a student visa prior to 5 November 2011, there are a number of inequitable consequences which will flow. For example, a student who started a PhD in Chemistry in January 2012 will be able to obtain a 4-year PSWV on completion of their course in Australia. A student who started the same course in January 2011 would be ineligible for the PSWV because they would have applied for their student visa prior to 5 November 2011. The student would not even be eligible for a 485 visa because the occupation of chemist is not on the Skilled Occupations List.

    There would be no way for the student who commenced study earlier to qualify for either the PSWV or the Graduate Work Stream visa - simply because they had applied for a student visa before the cutoff date.

    As the PSWV does not have a skilled occupations list or require skills assessment, there is no guarantee that the students obtaining Post Study Work Visas will have the skills and backgrounds required by employers. A student completing a masters by research in basket-weaving would theoretically be eligible for a 3-year work visa on completion of the course.

    Conclusion

    The Post-Study Work Visa is a great opportunity for students completing studies in Australia - but only if they have applied for their first student visa after the 5 November 2011.

    Acacia feels strongly that the Minister should make the PSWV accessible to all international students, regardless of when they commenced studies.

    If you or someone you know will be disadvantaged by the changes, please sign our PSWV petition and together we can make a difference!

    Sources:

    Department of Immigration Information on Post Study Work visa