485 Visa – Secondary applicants not excluded

Important Update: MIA has received feedback from the Department of Home Affairs that the same arrangement continues to apply for family members (secondary applicants) of the subclass 485 visa holders. A person who previously held a subclass 485 visa as a secondary visa holder is not excluded from applying for, or being granted, another subclass 485 visa as the primary applicant. 

The law regulating the Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485) has been amended. The change was introduced on 20 January 2021 and there was confusion regarding the interpretation of this new law.

One of the interpretations of the law is that this change will limit the number of people who can apply for the subclass 485 visa. If you have held a subclass 485 visa as a secondary applicant on your partner’s 485 visa, you will not be eligible for a subclass 485 visa as a primary applicant. However DHA have now confirmed that this is an error in drafting the legislation and the previous arrangement continues to apply.

The law as it stands today and updated on 20 January 2021:

485.211

The applicant:

(a) has not previously held a Subclass 476 (Skilled – Recognised Graduate) visa that was granted on the basis that the applicant satisfied the primary criteria for the grant of the visa; and

(b) has not previously held a Subclass 485 (Temporary Graduate) visa in the Graduate Work stream; and

(c) unless the applicant has nominated the Post‑Study Work stream in the application and meets the requirements of clause 485.232 or 485.233—has not previously held a Subclass 485 (Temporary Graduate) visa in the Post‑Study Work stream; and

(d) has not previously held 2 Subclass 485 (Temporary Graduate) visas in the Post‑Study Work stream.

Based on the above, you will be precluded from a subclass 485 visa if you:

  • Held a subclass 476 visa
  • Held a subclass 485 visa in the graduate work stream
  • Held a subclass 485 visa in the post-study work stream and did not live and study in a regional area
  • Held two subclass 485 visas in the post-study work stream

The law in the past reads:

485.211

The applicant:

(a) has not previously held a Subclass 476 (Skilled – Recognised Graduate) visa that was granted on the basis that the applicant satisfied the primary criteria for the grant of the visa; and

(b) has not previously held a Subclass 485 visa that was granted on the basis that the applicant satisfied the primary criteria for the grant of the visa.

This change would have made drastic impacts on many people who plan to hold subclass 485 visas as a primary and secondary applicant.

Related: From 19 September 2020, it is possible to apply for Subclass 485 visas from outside Australia during a concession period. Accordingly, the enforced delay in applying for the Subclass 485 visa, which has occurred during 2020 because of the COVID-19 travel restrictions, will not occur after 19 September 2020. International students who may be affected by ongoing or future travel restrictions will be able to apply for Subclass 485 visas from outside Australia during a concession period, and will be required to do so within six months of satisfying the ASR.

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