How do Graduate Visas (485) work?

A Graduate Visa or 485 Visa is a temporary visa that allows international students who have completed a course in Australia to stay and work in the country after graduation. There is a limited time during which you can apply for a Graduate Visa, and it can only be granted once.

The Graduate Visa has two streams. Which stream you will apply for depends on the qualification you obtained.
If you have a higher education degree from a CRICOS registered course, then you will most likely apply for the Post Study Work Stream.

If you don’t have a higher education degree, but your qualification is related to an occupation on the skilled occupation list, then you can apply for the Graduate Work stream. Your qualification must relate to an occupation on the Medium to Long Term Skills Shortage List (MLTSSL) in order for you to qualify for this stream.

What are the requirements for a Graduate Visa?

To qualify for a Graduate Visa, you must meet the requirements of the stream you are applying for, as outlined above. You must also:

  • be under 50 years of age
  • hold an eligible visa
  • have completed a course that was at least two academic years of study, and at least 16 calendar months in length
    meet the English language requirement
  • have adequate health insurance

What’s an eligible visa?

In most cases, your eligible visa will be your student visa, as long it doesn’t have any “no further stay” conditions. If your student visa does have no further stay conditions, you may be able to have these waived. It’s best to talk to a migration agent about whether this is possible.

If your student visa has expired, you may also be on an eligible visa if you currently hold a bridging visa A or B, or another substantive Australian visa.

When can I apply for a Graduate Visa?

You can apply for a Graduate Visa within six months of your course completion date. You cannot apply for this visa before your course is completed.

How long does my Graduate Visa take to be processed?

Graduate Visa processing times vary, but the Department of Home affairs estimates that most applications are processed within 5 months. Wait times can be even shorter for those with post graduate degrees, with most applications in the Post-Study stream processed within 78 days.

If you apply for a Graduate Visa, then you will be placed on a Bridging Visa once your Student Visa expires. This visa will allow you to stay in Australia while your application is being processed. If you need to travel outside of Australia during this time, you must make sure you obtain the appropriate travel rights. A migration agent can help you with this process.

How long can I stay in Australia after I graduate?

The length of your Graduate Visa will depend on which stream you are applying for.
If you are applying for the Graduate Work stream, the length of your Graduate Visa will be 18 months.
If you are applying for the Post Study Work stream, it will depend on the kind of higher education degree you have obtained. You can see the length for which a Graduate Visa will be granted in the table below:

Bachelor Degree2 years
Bachelor Degree (Honours)2 years
Masters Degree (Coursework)2 years
Masters Degree (Research)3 years
Doctoral Degree4 years

Can I include my family in my Graduate Visa?

You can include your partner, and any dependent children, in your Graduate Visa, although an additional cost will be payable. Any family added to your Graduate Visa must be in Australia when you apply for the visa, and when the visa is decided.

How can a migration agent help me with my Graduate Visa?

Graduate Visas have a number of requirements that you must meet in order to apply successfully. Circumstances such as studying multiple courses in Australia, using recognised prior learning to complete your course, or completing part of your qualification overseas can make obtaining a Graduate Visa more complex. If you’re unsure whether you are eligible for this visa, we recommend you contact a migration agent to help you with your application.

If you’re applying for the Graduate Work stream, a migration agent can also find the occupation on the MLTSSL that best matches your qualification, and help you to obtain the required skills assessment.

Looking for a migration lawyer? We can help. Contact us today to find out how we can make your Graduate Visa application easy and stress free.

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PocketLegal is available to assist with all aspects of the Australian immigration process from beginning to end. If you need help with visa applications, sponsoring staff members, AAT Appeals, Federal Circuit Court hearings, or any other migration related issue then contact our friendly team via the form on this page or by calling 1300 921 114.

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