Graduate Work 485 Visa

The Graduate Work 485 Visa is an 18 month visa available to international students who complete studies in Australia taking 2 academic years or more.

It is a great option for students who would like to extend their stay in Australia after their studies. It also helps those who are seeking to stay in Australia permanently – either through General Skilled Migration or employer sponsorship.

The visa is valid for 18 months from the date of grant. It has full work rights, and also full study rights. It allows you to travel freely to and from Australia during the validity of the Visa.

You must nominate an occupation on the 189- 485- 489 Visa- Skilled Visa Occupation List | Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) .

485 visas are currently taking 2-3 months to process for a complete application.

Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) & COVID-19

The Department is considering options for affected students both in Australia and overseas due to COVID-19. This will be in line with the Government’s response to assist the international education industry. Please see here for more information: Likely Changes to Temporary Graduate Visa for International Students Studying Online.

AUSTRALIAN STUDY REQUIREMENTS In the past 6 months before you applied for this visa you must have met the Australian study requirement. You will meet this if you are awarded at least one degree, diploma or trade qualification and:

  • your course was a CRICOS-registered course
  • you successfully completed all course requirements
  • your study was in English
  • you completed your course as a result of at least two academic years (92 weeks) study
  • you were physically in Australia for at least 16 calendar months to complete the study
  • you held an Australian study visa that allowed you to study

To meet the 2 academic year component of the Australian study requirement, you may combine courses in some circumstances.

When applying for this stream of subclass 485, the course or courses must have resulted in a degree, diploma or trade qualification.

For example, a student may complete two consecutive Diploma level courses and satisfy the Australian study requirement under the Graduate Work stream, provided the other components of the requirement are satisfied.

SKILLS ASSESSMENT You will need to pass skills assessment in your nominated occupation – this will depend on the occupation and will generally be based on your qualifications, English language ability and any registration requirements.

Many skills assessing authorities have lower requirements for 485 applicants – this includes the accounting bodies, VETASSESS, Trades Recognition Australia and the Australian Computer Society.

The skills assessment must be lodged prior to the 485 visa application, but need not be completed at lodgement. It is important to ensure that you are able to meet the skills assessment requirements for your occupation, otherwise, your visa application will be refused.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS You will need to establish your English language ability when you lodge your 485 visa application.

You can show this in one of the following ways:

  • Hold a passport from the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada or New Zealand; or
  • IELTS (Academic or General Training): overall average of 6 and at least 5 in each band; or
  • Occupational English Test (OET): B Pass in each band; or
  • Pearson (PTE Academic): overall average of 50 with at least 36 in each band; or
  • TOEFL iBT (Internet Based Test): total score of 64, with at least 4 in Listening and Reading, and at least 14 in Writing and Speaking; or
  • Cambridge (CAE): 169 overall average with at least 154 in each band.
HEALTH INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS You will need to show that you have adequate arrangements for health insurance when your 485 visa is granted. Whilst it is OK to have OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover) at the time of application, you will need Working Visa cover for approval of your 485 visa.

You also need to maintain your Working Visa cover whilst you hold your 485 visa. If you do not maintain this level of cover, your 485 visa might be cancelled.

HEALTH CHECK You would generally need to do medicals for grant of a 485 visa. If you’ve recently applied for a student visa extension, you may be able to re-use these medicals.
POLICE CHECK You will need an Australian Federal Police (AFP) Check for yourself and any members of your family aged 16 or over. You must apply for the AFP checks prior to lodgement of your 485 visa.
TIME LIMITS You must apply for your 485 visa within 6 months of completion of your Australian studies. You must either hold a student visa when you apply, or to have held a student visa within the last 6 months. You must also make sure that you apply prior to expiry of your student visa, or at least have applied for another visa and are on a bridging A or B visa when the 485 application is lodged.
BRIDGING VISA When you apply for your 485 visa, you would in general receive a Bridging A visa allowing you to remain in Australia during processing of your 485 visa application.

The Bridging A visa has full work rights. If you held a substantive visa (eg student visa) when you apply for your 485, the work rights on the bridging visa will come into effect when the substantive visa expires.

The Bridging A visa may cease if you depart Australia. If you wish to travel whilst waiting for a decision on your 485 visa, you may wish to apply for a Bridging B visa to facilitate your travel.