Australia is one of the most popular destinations for international students seeking a world-class education and a path to a promising career. To encourage more students to stay and contribute to the Australian economy, the Australian Government has recently made some significant changes to the Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa.
Further to the relaxed eligibility requirements for the visa from 1 July 2022, the Australian Government has announced further changes that will aid graduates with obtaining the skills and work experience needed in their field. These changes are as follows:
- Extension of the 485 visa for Higher Education Graduates
Post-study work rights for eligible higher education graduates will be increased by two years. This means that the following degrees will be increased:
- Bachelor Degree in select occupations: two years to four years
- Masters Degree in select occupations: three years to five years
- Doctoral Qualifications for all occupations: four years to six years
As it may be difficult to assess whether your degree meets the requirements for one of these occupations, the Department of Education has provided a list of occupations and eligible courses that are eligible for this extension. The Department has also advised that it will be releasing a list of CRICOS course codes for the eligible courses to make it easier for graduates to assess their eligibility for these changes.
The occupations and courses listed are targeting the skills Australia needs, such as health, teaching, engineering and agriculture. These extended work rights will come into effect on 1 July 2023 for individuals who hold Subclass 485 visa that expires after this date, or for individuals who will lodge an application after this date.
Details on how to apply for this extension will be released in due course.
- Transitional arrangements for a Subclass 408 (Covid Pandemic) Visa
Graduates whose visa expires before 1 July 2023, and thus would not be eligible for the above, can apply for an extension of their work rights through a 2-year Subclass 408 (Covid Pandemic) Visa. This Subclass 408 visa is generally granted for up to 12 months to all other applicants. This means that those whose 485 visas expire prior to the above changes will still be able to access the measures put in place to upskill recent graduates.
All other eligibility requirements for the Subclass 408 visa still apply – including evidence of employment/employment offer and the days left (90 days or less) of your visa at the time of lodgement.
These changes to the Subclass 485 visa pathway are aimed at addressing skills shortages in key industries and to help with rebuilding Australia’s post-pandemic economy. By providing more opportunities for work experience and extending the validity period of the visa, the Australian government is making it easier for international students to transition from studying to working in Australia.
If you are an international student who is planning to study in Australia or has recently completed your studies, the Subclass 485 visa may be an excellent opportunity to gain valuable work experience in your field. With the above changes, graduates have a greater opportunity to be trained in key areas that are crucial to Australia’s economy. Contact one of our skilled migration lawyers for more information and to determine your eligibility for the above changes.