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What is the Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) Visa?

This article is sponsored by Pearson PTE

This article has been written in collaboration with Nicole Kirkwood, Director of Australian Visa and Immigration Experts (AVIE) and Registered Migration Agent (MARN: 0962323).

*Article updated 1 October 2021.

As an international student studying in Australia, deciding what to do after you graduate can be daunting. If you are eager to stay in Australia, know that there are a range of opportunities to do so. One of these opportunities is the specialised Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa, which allows international students to continue to live, work and study in Australia temporarily after graduation. Plus, if you studied in a regional area (and there are a huge range of reasons why you would want to do so) you can add extra years to your Temporary Graduate visa and extend your Aussie experience.

Here’s what you need to know about the Temporary Graduate visa as an international student.

What is the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa?

A Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485), also known as a graduate visa, the TGV, or ‘TR’, provides the opportunity for international students to remain in Australia with full work rights for between 18 months and four years.

There are two types of 485 visa:

The criteria for each of these visas is different and you must ensure you apply for the correct one.

Requirements for the Post-Study Work stream (subclass 485) visa

There are certain Australian Study Requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for this visa. 

  • You must have completed an eligible degree in Australia at bachelor level or above.
  • Your course or courses must be at least 92 weeks in length and be no less than 16 months duration.

You must have applied for (and had granted) your first student visa after 5 November 2011 to be eligible for this visa.

Requirements for the Graduate Work stream (subclass 485) visa

There are also Australian Study Requirements to be met when applying for this visa. 

If you applied for (and had granted) your first student visa before 5 November 2011, you must apply for this visa.

Living and studying in a regional area and the subclass 485 visa

From 20 January 2021, students who studied at degree level or above and lodged a Post-Study Work steam (subclass 485) visa on the basis of studying in a regional area, may be eligible to apply for an additional one to two years to be added to their subclass 485 visas.

Why are Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visas so important?

The TGV visa gives international students an opportunity to gain valuable skills in the workplace, and in some cases, work towards employer sponsorship or skilled migration goals.

Employers can employ subclass 485 visa holders without the need for employer sponsorship arrangements.

When should I lodge my subclass 485 visa?

The 485 visa application should be lodged well before your student visa expiry date. 

You must lodge your 485 visa application:

  • Within 6 months of finishing your course
  • Within 6 months of your student visa expiring*
  • Within Australia*

*COVID-19 concessions are available for some students.

COVID-19 concessions and changes to eligibility

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, some changes were made to the requirements for a Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa. These concessions include:

  • Online study undertaken outside Australia as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions will count towards the Australian Study Requirement. In addition, these students can apply for their subclass 485 visa from outside of Australia for a limited time (from 1 Feburary 2020 to a date not yet announced).
  • If you are offshore (during the concession period) you can apply more than 6 months after your student visa expired (there is no minimum/maximum time frame).

As these are concessions, they will eventually end, and new eligibility rules will be implemented

Is the 485 visa application easy? Can I apply myself or do I need an agent?

Like any visa, you can apply by yourself, however, you must ensure that you have all the documents you need prior to lodging or you may be refused.

The subclass 485 visa has a number of documents that must be provided at the time you apply.  These are known as ‘time of application criteria’.  If you do not have these crucial documents, in most cases your visa will be refused which can be a costly and time-consuming process.

Time of application criteria include:

  • Proof of application for police clearance
  • A valid PTE test result
  • Health insurance
  • Proof of application for skills assessment (Graduate Work stream only)

The Department of Home Affairs website offers a step-by-step overview of the documents you need and the application process for the Post-Study Work stream and Graduate Work stream visas. 

Where to go for visa support

If you’re in need of a little extra assistance when it comes to visas, don’t worry – there are places you can go for guidance.

The Department of Home Affairs website is the first place you should seek up to date information regarding visas in Australia. Alternatively, contact a Registered Migration Agent to have all your visa-related questions answered.

There are a few eligibility requirements to fulfil before you can apply for a Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa. This includes proof of your English proficiency. Looking for a test to prove your English language skills? PTE Academic is accepted by the Australian Government as proof of ability when applying for your visa.