As the March 2014 deadline approaches, many international students are aware they will need to start considering their post-study visa options if they wish to remain in Australia upon the completion of their course.

However, for those planning on applying for permanent residency under the General Skilled Migration program, they will need to be aware that eligibility isn’t the only hurdle they will need to overcome.

The Problem

Although a student may be eligible for a permanent residency visa under the General Skilled Migration program, the problem for many is not whether they can apply, but the lack of time available for them to do so between their course completion date and their visa expiry date.

Often, it can take as long as three months for necessary documents (such as skills assessments) to be processed by the relevant bodies and returned to an applicant. With many Student visas expiring in March, often the amount of time required for a graduate to obtain the necessary materials to lodge their permanent residency application ends up exceeding that which they have available.

The result? Many international students either being forced to return home and apply for their permanent residency visas offshore, or apply for a new student visa in order to extend their stay in Australia – both of which are costly and disruptive options for any recent graduate.

The Solution

In response to this problem, Migration Solutions suggests students consider applying for a 485 Temporary Graduate Visa in order to allow themselves enough time to complete the application process before their current visas expire.

The 485 Visa is for international students that have recently graduated from an Australian educational institution, and allows holders to work in Australia on a temporary basis upon the completion of their studies.

Since March 23, 2013, there are two streams of the 485 Visa available to international graduates – the Graduate Work stream, and the newly introduced Post-Study Work stream.

Graduate Work Stream

Students with a qualification that relates to an occupation listed on the Federal Skilled Occupation List can be eligible for the Graduate Work stream of the 485 Visa, which can be granted for up to 18 months from the date of approval.

This stream is often a viable option for students that have completed a course that is not equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree or higher, or that received their Student visa prior to the commencement of the Post-study work stream.


  • Graduate has achieved a minimum of 6 in each band of the IELTS test.
  • Graduate has completed at least two years of study.
  • Graduate has achieved a positive skills assessment.
  • Graduate’s studies relate to an occupation listed on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL).
  • Graduate must lodge application for 485 visa within 6 months of course completion date.

Post-Study Work Stream

The Post-Study Work Stream visa was introduced on March 23, 2013 for international students who graduate with a higher education degree from an Australian education provider. The stream is only available to students who were granted the first year of their Student visa after this date, and enables a holder to be granted up to two years of temporary residency for holders of a Bachelor degree or Masters degree via coursework, three years for a Masters degree via research, or four years for a PhD holder.


  • Graduate has achieved a minimum of 6 in each band of the IELTS test.
  • Graduate has studied for two years at a Bachelor level or higher from an Australian education provider.
  • Graduate applied for first student visa after November 5, 2011.
  • Graduate must lodge application for 485 visa within 6 months of course completion date.


The obvious advantages of the new Post-Study Stream of the 485 visa are the increased length of time the visa is valid for, and that it is not necessary for a graduate’s occupation to be listed on the Skilled Occupation List in order to be eligible to receive the visa. However, regardless of whichever stream an applicant is eligible to apply for, both options are viable solutions for any student that wishes to avoid being caught short on time.

The extra time can be used not only to gather all the necessary documentation required for a visa application, but also for a student to improve their English if required, or complete any necessary work experience.

How can I find out more?

Anyone considering applying for a 485 Graduate Visa is encouraged to contact Migration Solutions for an obligation-free consultation and professional eligibility assessment. Our staff have a great deal of experience in assisting students obtain Graduate visas, and can help ensure you are able to remain in Australia after the completion of your studies.

N.B: The information above is designed to provide an overview of one potential visa option for an international student, and does not constitute professional immigration advice. For a more detailed overview of Australia’s migration program and the personal visa opportunities available to you, please contact our office.

Google Rating
Based on 217 reviews
Scroll to Top