Overview

A Graduate visa allows you and your family to live, work or study in Australia for up to 4 years after finishing your course. In some cases, you can apply for an extension of your Graduate visa at the end of your first Graduate visa.

While a Graduate visa can put you on a pathway to permanent residence and Australian citizenship, not all courses allow you to apply for a Graduate visa and not all courses allow you to apply for permanent residence. If your intention is to migrate or you want to leave open the possibility of applying for permanent residence in Australia at the end of your course, it is critical you book a consultation with VisAustralia.

There are two versions of the Graduate visa, the Graduate Work Stream, and the Post-Study Work Stream.

Graduate visa – Trade or Technical Studies

To apply for a Graduate Work Stream visa you or your partner must complete a two-year diploma or trade certificate in an occupation related to an occupation on the Medium- and Long-Term Skilled Occupations List (there are about 190 occupations on the List). If you graduate from one of these courses you will receive an 18-month Graduate visa.

To apply for a Skilled visa after your Graduate Work Stream visa you must work in your occupation for 12 months. The bridging visa and Graduate visa combined will give you about 2 years to gain this work experience. This Australian work experience will enable you to satisfy the work experience criteria for a Skilled migration visa and score additional points on the points test.

Advantages

The advantage of the Graduate Work Stream visa is that it puts you on a pathway to permanent residence. Moreover, diploma and trade certificate courses tend to be less expensive than university courses. The disadvantage is that it is an 18 month visa that you cannot extend.

Graduate visa – University Studies

To be eligible in the Post-Study Work Stream you or your partner must graduate with a university degree. Graduates of a Bachelor or Master’s degree receive a two-year work visa, Masters Research Students receive a three-year work visa, and PHD graduates receive a four-year work visa. People who complete trade or diploma level course cannot apply for this visa.

A Post-Study Work Stream visa does not necessarily lead to Skilled migration but will give you the chance to live and work in Australia and potentially be sponsored by an Australian company. In some cases, depending on the course you study and your points test score, you may be able to apply for a permanent visa directly on completing your course or after working in your occupation in Australia for 12 months.

Advantages

The advantage of the Post Study Work Stream visa is that you can study any university course and in effect receive a two-year work visa at the end of the course. You can also apply for an extension of your visa if you study in regional Australia and live in regional Australia while holding your first Graduate visa. The disadvantage of the Post Study Work visa is that unless you are careful with your course selection you will not be able to apply for a permanent visa.

This means the fate of your migration to Australia will not rest in your hands but in the hands of potential business sponsors.

If your intention is to leave the door open to applying for permanent residence in Australia, it is critical you book a consultation with VisAustralia.

University Post Study
Work Stream
(Subclass 485)

A Graduate visa in the Post Study Work Stream is for international students who complete studies at the Bachelor, Masters or Doctorate level which take at least 2 academic years. It lets you live, work and study in Australia temporarily.

With this visa, you can

  • live in Australia for between 2 to 4 years after you have finished your studies;
  • travel, work or study in Australia during your stay.
  • Length of the visa

    The length of your stay in Australia will depend on the level of your Australian study qualification.

    • Bachelor degree (including honours): 2 years;
    • Masters by coursework: 2 years;
    • Masters by research: 3 years;
    • Doctoral degree: 4 years;
    • Hong Kong passport holders who successfully complete a bachelor, masters or doctoral degree: 5 years.
    • Travel

      You can travel to and from Australia as many times as you want while holding a Graduate visa. The time you spend outside Australia does not extend the visa.

      Time limit to apply

      You must apply for your Graduate visa within 6 months of completing your Australian studies. You must either hold a student visa when you apply, or have held a student visa within the last 6 months.

This stream is only available if you applied for your first student visa to Australia after 5 November 2011. If you held your first student visa prior to this date, even as a child on your parent’s student visa, you are not eligible to apply for this stream.

To be eligible you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be under 50 years of age;
  • Meet the Australian study requirement: You must complete a course or series of courses in Australia of at least 2 academic years, being 92 weeks;
  • Hold an eligible Australian degree or higher level qualification: The qualification must be a bachelor, bachelor (honours), masters by coursework, masters by research, or doctoral degree. If you have studied a standalone diploma or trade qualification, you are not eligible for a Graduate visa in this stream;
  • Take an English language test and reach Vocational English (IELTS score of at least 5 in each band [or the equivalent in the PTE, TOEFL or Cambridge exam]);
  • Have health insurance;
  • Meet health and character requirements (medical exam and police check).
  • 75% of applications: 4 months;
  • 90% of applications: 4 months.

The visa costs AUD$1,650 for the main applicant.

There is also a charge for each family member who applies for the visa with you:

  • spouse or additional applicant over 18 – $825
  • additional applicant under 18 – $415
  • Subsequent entrants must pay the full visa application charge.

    You will also have to pay for health checks or police certificates.

Trade or Technical Graduate
Work Stream
(Subclass 485)

A Graduate visa in the Graduate Work Stream allows you and your family to live and work in Australia for 18 months after finishing your Australian studies, and then to apply for a further provisional or permanent visa. A Graduate visa puts you directly on the path to permanent residence and Australian citizenship.

With this visa, you can

  • Live, work and study in Australia for the period of the visa grant;
  • Travel between Australia and your country without restriction.
  • Length of the visa

    • The Graduate Work Stream visa is a temporary visa that allows you to work in Australia for 18 months from the date of grant. After working in your occupation for 12 months you can apply for accreditation and a Skilled visa;
    • Hong Kong passport holders may stay up to 5 years.
    • Stay longer

    • You cannot extend this visa or apply for a second Graduate visa unless your partner becomes eligible for a Graduate visa in his or her own right and you apply as a secondary applicant;
    • After working for 12 months in your occupation you will be able to apply for other Skilled work visas.
    • Time limit to apply

      You must apply for your Graduate visa within 6 months of completing your Australian studies. You must either hold a Student visa when you apply, or have held a Student visa within the last 6 months.

To be eligible to apply for the Graduate Work Stream visa you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be under 50 years of age;
  • Meet the Australian study requirement: You must complete a course (diploma or trade qualification) or series of courses (combined courses) in Australia which take at least 2 academic years, being 92 weeks. The studies must be related to an occupation on the Medium-and Long-Term Skilled Occupations List;
  • Be provisionally accredited 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;
  • Take an English language test and reach Vocational English (IELTS score of at least 5 in each band or the equivalent in PTE, TOEFL or Cambridge exam);
  • Have health insurance: 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;
  • Meet health and character requirements (medical exam and police check).
  • 75% of applications: 6 months;
  • 90% of applications: 9 months.

The visa costs AUD$1,650 for the main applicant.

There is also a charge for each family member who applies for the visa with you:

  • spouse or additional applicant over 18 – $825;
  • additional applicant under 18 – $415.
  • Subsequent entrants must pay the full visa application charge.

    You will also have to pay for health checks and police certificates.

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