This is an onshore provisional visa specifically designed for overseas students who have completed their studies in Australia but do not as yet meet requirements for the permanent visas. By applying for the 485 visa as an interim measure, it may give them a chance to gain working experience, attend a professional year, or improve their English language skills before applying for a permanent visa.
Primary applicants applying for this visa from within Australia must
- hold an eligible student visa, or
- hold a qualifying substantive visa or bridging A or B visa, and have held an eligible student visa at some time within the last 6 months, or
- apply for this visa within 28 days of notification of the Tribunal decision (for those whose eligible student visa was cancelled and the Tribunal had set aside the Minister’s decision not to revoke the cancellation)
Primary applicants for this visa
- at time of application, must be aged under 45 (lowered from 50 as of 1 July 2017) , and
- have satisfied the ‘Australian study requirement’ within the last 6 months prior to application,
- each degree, diploma or trade qualification used to satisfy the ‘two year study requirement’ must be closely related to applicant’s nominated occupation , and
- have ‘competent English’
- give evidence that everyone included in the application
- had applied for an Australian Federal Police check within the last 12 months [applicable only to persons aged 16 years or over], and
- had made arrangements to undergo a medical examination for the purpose of the application,
- not have held another 485 visa or a Skilled – Recognised Graduate (476) visa granted on the basis that the applicant had satisfied the primary criteria for that 485 or 476 visa.
POST-STUDY WORK STREAM
In line with the Knight Review recommendations, the Minister has, from 23 March 2013, implemented a “post-study work stream” to the 485 visa whereby students who graduated from a tertiary institution in Australia with bachelor degrees or higher will be able to be granted the 485 visa for up to 4 years. The arrangements under this “post-study work stream” are prescribed by legislative instrument (IMMI 13/013) and states that graduates with:
- A bachelor degree (pass or honour) will get the 485 visa for 2 years stay,
- A masters degree (pass or honour) will get the 485 visa for 3 years stay, and
- A doctor degree will get the 485 visa for 4 years stay.
The 485 visa in the Post-Study Work stream is available to international students who graduate with a higher education degree from an Australian education provider following at least 3 academic years of study, regardless of their field of study. Applicants under this stream are not subject to the skilled occupations lists.
It should be noted the legislative instrument is quite specific as to the exact title of the qualification in that only bachelor, masters and doctor degrees are prescribed, and other postgraduate qualifications, like graduate diploma and graduate certificate, are not included.
In Zhang (Migration)  AATA 551,60 Ms Lu Zhang had completed a Bachelor of Science degree in China before coming to Australia, where she had completed a Master of Education followed by a Graduate Diploma in Education. When Ms Zhang applied for the 485 visa in the Post-Study Work stream, her application was refused on the grounds that whilst the master’s degree was prescribed, she had not applied for the 485 visa within 6 months of its completion, and the subsequently completed graduate diploma was not a prescribed qualification for the purpose of the post-study work stream. An appeal to the AAT proved unsuccessful.
Moreover, this stream is only available to students who had applied for, and were granted, their first student visa to Australia on or after 5 November 2011. This excludes a lot of students who may have come to Australia to study secondary school, even though they may not have commenced their tertiary study until after 5 November 2011. And as it requires at least 3 academic years of study, hence the earliest batch of students who would be eligible for this stream would not be until November 2014.
As part of the Prime Minister’s media release on 20 March 2019 to entice skilled migrants to live and work in Australia, it was also announced that new tertiary scholarships will be offered to attract both Australian as well as overseas students to study in Regional Australia, and those overseas students studying at regional universities will be eligible for an extra year on the Post-Study Work stream of the 485 visa.
GRADUATE WORK STREAM
The “graduate work stream” is the ‘classic’ version of the 485 visa and is available to those who graduate with an award other than a degree, or those who got their first student visa prior to 5 November 2011. Under this stream, successful applicants will be granted the 485 visa for 18 months.
Because of the replacement of the SOL/CSOL by the new MLTSSL/STSOL on 19 April 2017, transitional arrangements are such that, for the Graduate Work stream (applicants under the Post-Study Work stream are not subject to skilled occupations lists):
- Those who had applied before 19 April 2017 but application not yet decided, will continue to be subject to the old SOL, and
- Those who apply on or after 19 April 2017, will be subject to the new MLTSSL .
- Applicants must have applied for assessment of their qualifications by a relevant assessing body for that nominated occupation, and
- The assessing body must have completed assessment of the applicant’s qualifications to be suitable for the nominated occupation.
The 485 visa cannot be extended and persons who do not meet the criteria for any other visa will be expected to leave Australia.