The Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate visa can be a great option for international students who are looking to remain in Australia after they have completed their studies. It is flexible in that it allows the visa holder to live, work and study in Australia on an unrestricted basis, for between 18 months and 4 years (the length of the visa term will depend on the visa stream and qualification). It comprises of two visa streams, being a Graduate Work and Post-Study Work stream.

Why Choose A Graduate Visa?

The key selling point of a graduate student visa is its flexibility.

One of the main benefits of the graduate visa is that it is not subject to limitations, allowing graduate student visa holders to spend their time in Australia post-study however they wish. It is a popular option, and often features as part of a visa pathway for students who are seeking a longer-term stay, or permanent residence in Australia.

Its flexibility enables a graduate visa holder to use their time in Australia to prepare the necessary elements to become eligible for a further visa in Australia. This could include, for example, gaining work experience, completing a qualification and/or living in a specified area of Australia for a prescribed minimum period.

The graduate visa is often the most important visa in the migration strategy for international students. The visa enables graduating students to :

  • Obtain the necessary work experience to qualify for a positive skills assessment;
  • Obtain the required time to apply and obtain a positive skills assessment or for state sponsorship;
  • Obtain extra time to continue to develop English skills for additional points for General Skilled Migration; and
  • Develop the necessary rapport with an employer to encourage them to sponsor the migrant.

Or maybe you just don’t feel ready to leave, and after having completed your study, would like to spend more time in Australia, to experience more of what it has to offer. Whether that be an extended holiday, travelling across the country and exploring its unique sights, world-renowned landmarks and rich cultural experiences that are there to see and experience, or maybe you’d like to simply live amongst the locals, and work along the way and save some money, before returning to your home country.

Whatever it is that you seek to achieve in Australia, a graduate visa can be ideal, as it offers the chance for you to spend time in Australia, with no strings attached as is often the case with other visas, to think about and/or plan your next move.

And Now, An Option To Spend Even More Time In Australia?

Recent changes also mean that graduate student visa holders may be eligible for a second temporary graduate post-study work visa, which provides an additional stay period in Australia of an extra 1-2 years (subject to meeting prescribed criteria). Keep in mind that one of the requirements to qualify for a second graduate visa is to maintain continuing residence in a regional centre or other regional area or in a designated regional area for at least two years whilst holding your first Temporary Graduate Visa. This means that if you plan to apply for a second graduate visa, you will lose some flexibility in terms of where you can live whilst the holder of your first graduate student visa.

Consider, however the trade-off in applying for a second graduate visa is that it allows you to spend even more time in Australia. Consider also that being subject to this residence requirement often fits into an overall visa pathway in Australia if you are ultimately seeking to achieve permanent residence. A residence requirement is a feature of some skilled visa options, which may require you live and/or work in a particular state or territory of Australia in order to qualify for a provisional or permanent residency visa, such as, for example, a Subclass 190 Skilled (Nominated) visa or Subclass 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa.

You can learn more about this option in our Temporary Graduate Visa Subclass 485 article.

What Is The Cost To Apply For A Graduate Visa?

The graduate visa cost for the primary applicant is currently set at $1,650 for the first subclass 485 visa, and $650 for the second post-study Work stream visa.

What To Watch Out For When Applying For A Graduate Visa

On the face of it, a graduate visa application may appear to be a relatively simple and straightforward process. In reality however, there are some aspects to pay particular attention to, so that you avoid making a mistake and potentially losing your chance to qualify for a graduate student visa. A misstep, however small or minor it may appear, can have a serious impact on your overall visa pathway in Australia.

It is important to be aware that you must apply for the temporary graduate visa within a certain timeframe in order to be eligible, meaning that if you make a mistake and need to apply again, or you mis-calculate the deadline for when you must lodge your graduate visa application, this could result in you losing the opportunity to qualify for a subclass 485 visa, and thus require a re-assessment of alternative options to achieve your visa goals in Australia.

International Students Continue To Get Caught Out Applying For a Graduate Visa

Interpreting and applying the technicalities around the graduate visa application can cause serious issues for potential applicants, costing thousands of dollars and even the chance of permanent residency.

The Graduate Visa is fraught with danger. The legal minefield that constitutes the Migration Regulations for grant of a graduate visa mean that one false step, however innocent, can cause the application to be refused. Refusal of a graduate visa can have catastrophic consequences:

  1. It enlivens Section 48 of the Migration Act (referred to as the section 48 bar), which prevents further visa applications being made onshore (expect for a partner visa, humanitarian and some other obscure visa types);
  2. If the applicant is compelled to leave Australia, then they must return to Australia before being eligible to apply again for the Graduate Visa. This is because the Graduate Visa can only be applied for in Australia;*​​​​​​​
  3. It is highly precarious whether a Visitor Visa would be granted for this purpose. The key issue is the genuine temporary entrant criterion, which would be hard to satisfy in light of the previous events.

*Be aware that graduates impacted by COVID-19 travel restrictions are now able to apply for, and be granted, their first Temporary Graduate visa outside Australia during the concession period (which commenced on 1 February 2020) in prescribed circumstances. Eligible prospective second subclass 485 visa applicants must make their visa application in Australia, but during the concession period, they may be granted the visa while they are outside Australia, subject to meeting specified requirements.

The dangers embedded in the graduate visa system are multifarious. The key issues which lead to refusals include:

  • Skills assessment body not providing a positive assessment in the occupation nominated (Graduate Stream);
  • Not technically meeting the Australian Study Requirement (which requires 2 academic years over 16 months, completed within the last 6 months, that results in a particular type of qualification, while holding a relevant visa allowing that study)*
  • Not obtaining the necessary English level prior to the application date;
  • Not making arrangements for health insurance and police checks prior to the application date;
  • Not holding a qualifying visa at the time of the application, or within 6 months of the application date; and
  • Various technical transgressions.

*Be aware that special concessions apply to applicants who are affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Each year, students get caught out on the graduate visa. Don’t be one of them. The application has the appearance of simplicity, but contains some fatal elements that are easy to miss. Don’t risk it – use a quality migration agent to ensure you get the visa you are entitled to, and a strategy for permanent residency in Australia.

Learn more about what can lead to a visa being refused, the potential consequences and options that may be available following a refusal, and how to avoid it happening in the first place by referring to our Visa Refusal And Next Steps article.

Get More Information About The Temporary Graduate Visa

To read more about the temporary graduate visa, please refer to the following articles which we have prepared to help you to understand how the subclass 485 visa application works, graduate visa requirements and the issues you need to be aware of to avoid getting caught out if you are interested in exploring this visa option.

What are different temporary graduate visa streams and how to qualify for these streams

Qualification criteria for Temporary Graduate subclass 485 visa

Occupation lists – what are they and how do they apply to graduates?

Australian Graduate Visa FAQs

Comprehensive Guide to Temporary Graduate Subclass 485 Visa

Top 5 Graduate Visa Tips AND How to spend your time on a graduate visa wisely

Most common refusal reasons for graduate visas

To learn more about the second temporary graduate visa, including how to qualify, please see the following article:

Temporary Graduate Visa Subclass 485

Who Can You Turn To For Help With Your Graduate Visa Application?

PAX Migration Australia are experts in graduate visa applications and appeals. The team of registered migrations agents have the skills, qualifications and experience to advise you on your eligibility for a graduate visa, and can help set you on a pathway to achieving permanent residency in Australia. Start the process by booking an initial consultation with PAX Migration Australia today.

We will review your situation and advise how you can qualify for a graduate visa. We will also explain what supporting evidence you will need to provide to with your application, to demonstrate that you meet the visa requirements to be granted a subclass 485 visa. Avoid making a mistake, and potentially losing your chance to qualify for a graduate visa by speaking with a professional first, so that you can get a good understanding of the graduate visa requirements, graduate visa cost and the overall process involved in embarking on a graduate visa application, so that you get it right the first time, and give yourself the best chance of achieving a successful outcome.

Get More Information

To find out more about why you should consider choosing PAX Migration Australia for your graduate visa application, what our clients have to say about us, and why obtaining expert advice and assistance from a migration professional can be beneficial in achieving a positive outcome on your migration matter, please see the following articles:

Selecting a migration agent in Australia

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For more information on what you can expect from PAX Migration Australia when you engage our services, including the process involved, please see the following articles:

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Talk to us about how we can assist you with your graduate visa application, so that you are fully informed about the requirements and process involved, to prevent your chances of having a visa refusal, and the serious consequences that can result.

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Given the complexity of the migration laws and the fact that every case is different, we recommend that you seek professional advice, to give yourself the best chance of a successful outcome on your graduate visa application. PAX Migration Australia will assess your visa eligibility, explain the application and documentary evidence requirements, and formulate a visa pathway for you to achieve your migration goals in Australia. Being well prepared and properly informed about the process will give you the greatest chance of not only a successful outcome, but also avoid unnecessary delays.

For up to date advice on the graduate visa for international students, book your confidential consultation with a migration agent in Adelaide. PAX Migration Australia is a leading immigration advice service based in Adelaide, and we aren’t expensive! Just ask us!