The Australian government has announced 3 measures to the 485 visa (graduate and post-study work visa) to benefit international students after COVID. These changes will benefit those international students and graduate community that hasn’t been able to enter Australia to commence or finish their studies and graduates that lose time on their graduate or post-study work 485 visas.
What are the new changes to the 485 visa?
On 25 November the Australian Government announced COVID-19 and visa changes that apply to the Temporary Graduate visa. Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders unable to travel to Australia because of border restrictions will be able to apply for a replacement visa from mid-2022.
- From 1 December 2021, the stay period for Masters by Coursework/Masters extended graduates is permanently increased from two to three years same as Masters by Research graduates.
- From 1 December 2021 as a concession during the COVID-19 pandemic, the stay period on the Graduate Work stream, will temporarily increase from 18 to 24 months.
- The requirement for graduates of VET courses to nominate an occupation from the skills occupation list will be temporarily removed from 1 July 2022 till 30th June 2023. This means if you studied any Diploma or Advanced Diploma in Australia for at least 92 weeks AND you finish your course before June 2023, you can get a 485 graduate work visa for 2 years.
I am outside Australia studying online, do I need to hold a student visa to be eligible for a subclass 485 visa?
Online study undertaken outside Australia as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions will count towards the Australian Study Requirement for existing and new visa holders from the time of visa grant. Students who are commencing their study online offshore should apply for a student visa, and ensure their CoE accurately reflects the course start and end dates (including any periods of online study offshore).
Current COVID-19 concessions to be continued:
- Online study undertaken outside Australia will count towards the Australian Study Requirement for existing and new student visa holders
- Graduates can apply for and be granted a Temporary Graduate visa outside Australia (where they have met all the requirements).
Replacement Temporary Graduate Visa
- Current and former Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders who lost time in Australia due to COVID-19 international travel restrictions will be able to apply for a replacement Temporary Graduate visa.
- This applies to Temporary Graduate visa holders unable to return to Australia between 1 February 2020 and 1 December 2021.
- This replacement visa will allow the same length of stay as the original visa held, as per the level of their qualification, regardless of how long was spent in Australia on the original visa.
- Applications can be made both onshore and offshore and must be accompanied by the full Visa Application Charge.
- Applications for the replacement visa can be made from mid-2022.
Note: The COVID-19 replacement stream is a replacement for the initial Temporary Graduate visa. This is not the same as a Second Post Study Work stream which is currently only available to eligible regional applicants.
The COVID-19 replacement stream is only available for Temporary Graduate visa holders impacted by the Australian travel restrictions. This means, people who could not stay in Australia for the full period allowed by their previous Temporary Graduate visa.
We have prepared some answers to some frequently asked questions about this topic:
|I studied a Masters by Coursework. I was granted a 485 visa before 1 December 2021. Will my visa length be changed from 2 to 3 years?||No, the new visa length applies to Post Study Work Stream visas granted after 1 December 2021.|
|I am outside Australia and I still hold a valid Temporary Graduate visa. If I enter Australia before my 485 visa ceases will I still be eligible for a replacement 485?||Eligibility parameters for the replacement Temporary Graduate visa are still being established, but it is anticipated that visa holders who were outside Australia between 1 February 2020 and 1 December 2021 will likely be eligible for a replacement Temporary Graduate visa.|
|When can I apply for a Replacement Temporary Graduate visa?||This visa is anticipated to become available mid-2022, once legislative and other necessary changes have been made.|
|Can I apply for a Replacement Temporary Graduate visa now?||No. Current Temporary Graduate visa regulations only permit the visa to be granted once to a primary visa applicant (unless applying for the second Post Study Work visa). Therefore we must change our regulations to permit grant of a Replacement visa. There will also be a new dedicated application form.|
|Why can’t I apply for a replacement visa now?||The scale and complexity of the changes required across multiple systems mean the first opportunity to implement this visa is mid-2022.|
Do I have to be outside Australia to apply for the replacement visa?
|No. You can be in or outside Australia when you apply for this visa.|
|What will the Replacement visa cost?||As successful applicants will be granted the full validity of their original Temporary Graduate visa, the full visa application charge will apply.|
|As I was unable to use my original Temporary Graduate visa, can I get a refund?||Refunds are not available due to COVID-19 related international travel restrictions.|
|Can family members be included in the replacement temporary graduate visa application?||You can include members of the family unit in your application when you apply. This includes any new family members since your original Temporary Graduate visa was granted.|
|What if my family members were not included on my original Temporary Graduate visa?||Family members do not need to have been included on your original Temporary Graduate visa to be included in your replacement application.|