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In an attempt to provide support to the international education sector, which suffered so much with our borders closed for over 20 months, the Australian Government has announced several measures to entice International Students back in the country. Many of them have to do with the Graduate 485 Visa.

This is a visa some International Students can apply for after they complete their studies in Australia, as long as those studies meet the Australian Study Requirement. Once the visa is granted it allows holders to stay in Australia from 18 to 48 months with full work rights. If used strategically, in many cases this visa could lead to a permanent visa down the track.

There are 2 streams under the Graduate 485 Visa to choose:

Post Study Work Rights Stream, for graduates of Higher Education Courses such as Bachelor Degrees, Master Degrees and PhDs. The Graduate Visa under this stream was normally granted for 24 months. Graduates who completed their courses in regional areas can access a 1 or 2 year extension. Graduates who completed a Master Degree by research or a PhD, regardless of where, are able to get a 4 year Graduate 485 Visa.

Graduate Work Stream, for students who can nominate an occupation in a high demand list – the Medium and Long Term Skills Shortage list, the MLTSSL. The Graduate Visa under this stream was normally granted for 18 months.

What are the Graduate Visa changes?

In late November the government announced that all graduates from Master Degree courses by Coursework will have access to a 3-year Graduate Visa, regardless of where they completed that course. This is starting on 1st December, so to anyone being granted a Graduate Visa from that date, if they completed a Master Degree by Coursework (for example, an MBA), the duration of the visa will be 3 years.

The government expects that this will “protect the post-study work rights of international students” and make studying at an Australian university attractive again.

The other huge change announced had to do with the Graduate Work Stream: applicants will not have to nominate an occupation in demand on the MLTSSL and completion of any 2-year Diploma or Trade Certificate in any occupation in a VET college, will lead on to a 2-year Graduate 485 Visa, for all applicants. This will start with applications being made from 1 July 2022.

“This will help ensure the rapid return of international students,” Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge said. “In addition, changes to visa settings will also provide much-needed flexibility for international students as they set to return to Australia.”

There will also be concessions to Graduate 485 visa holders who have been stuck outside Australia as a result of closed borders: they will be able to apply for a replacement visa. This will allow current and former Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders whose visas expired on or after 1 February 2020 to re-apply for a new subclass 485 visa of the same duration as their original visa, from 1st July 2022.

“Australia’s border settings have been an important part of our health response to COVID-19, but we understand the impact that restrictions have had on current and former international students who remain overseas,” Minister Tudge said.

Fantastic news for International Students in Australia and those thinking about coming here.

If you need help with devising a Visa Strategy so to utilize your Graduate Visa 485 in the best way possible to get a permanent visa later, our Registered Migration Agents can help you. All you have to do is get in touch on customers@bravomigration.com.au

And if you are planning to come to Australia to study or extend your Student Visa if you are already here, get in touch with our international student division, Bravo Study, who can assist you with anything you need on study@bravomigration.com.au