An In-Depth Guide to the Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) in Australia

Australia, renowned for its world-class education system, offers international students the opportunity to extend their stay and gain valuable post-study experience through the Temporary Graduate Visa, officially known as Subclass 485. 

Brief Overview of the Australia Graduate Visa

The Australia Graduate Visa, officially termed Subclass 485, is a key facilitator for international students seeking an extended stay in Australia after completing their studies. Tailored for graduates, this visa encompasses multiple streams, each offering distinct advantages. From work opportunities to potential pathways for permanent residency, the Subclass 485 is a versatile instrument that empowers individuals to leverage their Australian education for personal and professional growth. This guide delves into the intricacies of eligibility criteria, the application process, and the myriad benefits that make the Australia Graduate Visa a valuable asset in post-study pursuits.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the Subclass 485 visa, applicants must be under the age of 50. This criterion ensures that the visa is accessible to a broad spectrum of recent graduates.

Individuals applying for the Subclass 485 must have either held an eligible visa in the last six months or be currently on an Australian visa. This condition underscores the continuity of the applicant’s stay in Australia.

Proficiency in English is a fundamental requirement. While most applicants need to fulfill English language testing, exemptions are granted to passport holders from Ireland, the UK, the US, Canada, or New Zealand.

Meeting the Australian study requirement is imperative. This entails completing a CRICOS-registered course, ensuring that the study was conducted in English, and fulfilling specific duration and physical presence criteria.

Applicants must pass health and character assessments. This involves demonstrating adequate health insurance and abiding by Australian laws during the visa residency. Clearing these requirements is essential for a successful visa application.


Visa Streams for the Australia Graduate Visa (Subclass 485)

The Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) in Australia offers various streams tailored to accommodate diverse circumstances and career aspirations. Here is an overview of the four key streams:

1. Graduate Work Stream:

This stream caters to recent graduates with qualifications and skills in demand in Australia. It allows international students to temporarily live, work, and study in the country, providing an opportunity to gain valuable work experience for up to 18 months (temporarily increased to 24 months for visas granted from 1 December 2021).

3. Second Post-Study Work Stream:

Tailored for Temporary Graduate Visa holders (post-study work stream) who have graduated from an Australian institution located in a regional area. This stream permits individuals who remained in regional areas during their first 485 visa to apply for a second post-study work visa, allowing them to work and stay in Australia for an additional one to two years.

2. Post-Study Work Stream:

Designed for those who have recently graduated with a degree from an Australian institution, this stream offers the flexibility to work and live in Australia for a duration ranging from two to six years, depending on the level of qualification.

4. Replacement Stream:

This stream is designated for current and former Temporary Graduate Visa holders who experienced a loss of time in Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. It provides an avenue for temporary work and residence, with durations typically ranging from 18 months to five years. Notably, specific adjustments have been made to accommodate those affected by pandemic-related disruptions.

Application Process for the Australia Graduate Visa (Subclass 485)

1. Application Process:

The application process for the Australia Graduate Visa is primarily conducted online through the Department of Home Affairs. As a crucial prerequisite, applicants must be present in Australia when applying for this visa. It is advisable to have all necessary documents prepared and complete the application and payment to ensure its validity.

2. Processing Time:

The processing time for the Temporary Graduate Visa varies based on the specific stream chosen and the individual circumstances of the applicant. In most cases, approximately 90% of applications are processed within five months of submission.

3. Application Location:

The entire application process, from submission to decision, is managed through the Department of Home Affairs’ online platform. This centralized approach streamlines the process and ensures efficient handling of applications.

4. Key Documentation:

To substantiate the visa application, certain key documents are essential. These typically include evidence of meeting the Australian study requirement, English language proficiency, health insurance coverage, and additional documentation specific to the chosen visa stream. It is crucial to refer to the Department of Home Affairs’ checklist for a comprehensive list of required documents.

5. Important Dates:

Timing is a critical aspect of the application process. Applicants must apply for the Temporary Graduate Visa within six months of completing their course. Additionally, ensuring that the student visa or bridging visa is valid during the application is paramount.

Benefits of the Australia Graduate Visa
(Subclass 485)

Securing the Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) in Australia opens up a spectrum of benefits for eligible individuals, facilitating a holistic post-study experience. Here’s a closer look at the advantages this visa offers:

1. Work Rights:

One of the primary benefits of the Australia Graduate Visa is the unrestricted work rights it provides. Holders of this visa can engage in full-time or part-time employment in any sector, offering invaluable opportunities to gain practical work experience in the Australian landscape.


2. Study Opportunities:

While primarily a work-focused visa, the Temporary Graduate Visa also allows individuals to pursue further studies if they wish. This flexibility encourages continuous learning and skill development, contributing to a well-rounded educational and professional journey.

3. Pathway to Permanent Residency:

   The Australia Graduate Visa serves as a stepping stone toward permanent residency. It provides individuals with the chance to explore and settle in Australia beyond their initial studies, making it an attractive option for those considering a long-term stay in the country.


4. Extensions and Updates:

   Recent updates to the visa system have enhanced the benefits for eligible graduates. Extensions to the Post-Study Work stream have been introduced, providing additional years for Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral degree holders. These extensions, coupled with regional stay incentives, further solidify the Temporary Graduate Visa as a dynamic and evolving pathway.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Australia Graduate Visa

General Information

Q: What is the Australia Graduate Visa (Subclass 485)?

– The Australia Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) is a temporary visa designed for international students who have recently graduated from an Australian institution. It facilitates post-study work opportunities and serves as a transition for eligible graduates to explore career prospects, further studies, and potentially, permanent residency in Australia.


Q: How long can I stay in Australia with this visa?

– The duration of stay depends on the visa stream you apply for. Graduates in the Post-Study Work stream can usually stay for two to four years, while the Graduate Work stream typically allows a stay of up to 18 months.


Working Rights

Q: What are the work rights under the Australia Graduate Visa?

– Holders of the Australia Graduate Visa enjoy unrestricted work rights, allowing them to work full-time or part-time in any sector. This flexibility is advantageous for gaining practical experience and building a professional network.


Q: Can I extend my work rights beyond the initial visa period?

– Recent updates offer extensions to work rights, especially for graduates with degrees in high-demand areas. Depending on your qualifications and the location of your study, you may be eligible for additional years of work rights.


English Proficiency

Q: Is an English proficiency test required for the Australia Graduate Visa?

– Yes, applicants generally need to provide evidence of their English language proficiency. However, certain exemptions apply. Holders of passports from Ireland, the UK, the US, Canada, or New Zealand are usually exempt from this requirement.


Q: What English language tests are accepted?

– The Department of Home Affairs accepts various English language tests, including IELTS Academic, IELTS General Training, Pearson Tests, TOEFL iBT, and Cambridge C1 Advanced. The specific requirements may vary.


Health Insurance

Q: Is Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) required for the visa application?

At the time of application, if you hold a valid Student visa, you are typically covered under an OSHC policy. It is recommended to ensure that your Overseas Visitors Health Cover (OVHC) aligns with your 485 visa application.

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