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March 4, 2021

Temporary Graduate 485 Visa – Part I

The Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) is a visa that is exclusive to certain students who have completed study in Australia. This visa exists to cater to the students who have gained skills through education in Australia and through their time here, have grown both to love Australia and to be better equipped to be assets to the local workforce.

The Temporary Graduate 485 visa has three streams, being the:

  • Graduate Work Stream
  • Post Study Work Stream
  • Second Post Study Work Stream
COVID -19 Concessions – Appling For The 485 Visa

The government amended the law today regarding the application requirements and visa criteria for the Subclass 485 (Temporary Graduate) visa, to assist international students, by allowing applications for this post-study visa to be made from outside Australia during a concession period. The amendments also allow the visa to be granted to an applicant who is outside Australia. Prior to this amendment, most applicants were required to be in Australia to apply for the visa and to be granted the visa. The amendments provide former international students with the opportunity to obtain a visa to return to Australia when travel restrictions are lifted. The visa period will run from the date of entry to Australia.

The Migration Regulations now allow primary applicants to apply offshore for a Subclass 485 (Temporary Graduate) visa during a concession period. The schedule also amends visa eligibility requirements for Subclass 485 visa applicants who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The amendments:

    • allow applicants to apply for, and be granted, a Subclass 485 visa while outside Australia during a concession period;
    • allow applications to be made outside Australia during a concession period without the usual requirement to have held a student visa within the six month period immediately before making the application; and
    • extend the period to meet the Australian Study Requirement (i.e. the period between completing study and applying for the Subclass 485 visa), from six months to 12 months for applicants prevented from returning to Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
    • The desired outcome of these amendments is to ensure that Student visa holders who were eligible to apply for a Subclass 485 visa prior to COVID-19 retain their eligibility for a Subclass 485 visa despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Concessions – Australian Study Requirement and Online Study

Normally, with the exception of RPL, it is intended that study be undertaken on campus in Australia and overseas students can study up to 25% of their course online, visa applicants must have been physically present in Australia for study to count towards meeting the Australian study requirement.

The requirements that overseas students can study up to 25% of their course online and visa applicants must have been physically present in Australia for study to count towards meeting the Australian study requirement will not be applied to COVID-19 impacted Subclass 485 visa applicants.

Subclass 485 visa applicants who were studying offshore on an Australian visa authorising the applicant to study and not permitted to travel to Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic will be allowed an unlimited amount of offshore online study to count towards the Australian study requirement. This flexibility will remain in place as long as COVID-19 impacts remain.

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment and the national regulators, the Australian Skills Quality Authority and the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, are taking a flexible approach to online learning in order to support students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

BASIC Requirements without being affected by the COVID 19-Pandemic

Before we get to the requirements that are specific to the two streams, let’s get into the basics for the Temporary Graduate 485 visa.

The common criteria for the above two streams are that the applicant :

  • Must be under 50 years of age at the time of application
  • Meets the English requirement
  • Meets the Australian Study Requirement (ASR)
  • Recently graduated from a certified CRICOS course
  • Courses were in English
  • Currently holds an eligible visa
  • Has not previously held a skilled recognised graduate (subclass 476) visa or temporary graduate (subclass 485) visa as a primary applicant
  • Meets health and character requirements

As you can already tell, this is the requirements for this visa are rather extensive and as such, this is going to be a two-parter in which we will cover in detail may topics within and relating to the Temporary Graduate 485 visa. In this first part, you will learn about:


  • Qualifications
  • The course must be in English


  • What visas you must be currently on to be eligible to apply
  • English Requirement
  • Australian Study Requirement

In our second part, we will conclude with:


  • Character requirement
  • Health requirement


  • Graduate Work Stream

This is for international students who have recently graduated with skills and qualifications that are relevant to specific occupations Australia needs. It lets you live, study and work in Australia temporarily for 18 months

  • Post Study Work Stream

This is for international students who have recently graduated with a degree from an Australian institution. It lets you live, work and study in Australia, temporarily for 2-4 years

  • Second Post-study Work Stream

This is for holders of a first Temporary Graduate visa in the post-study work stream who graduated with a degree from an Australian institution located in a regional area. It lets you live, work and study in Australia, temporarily for an additional 1-2 years.


  • Qualifications and proof of study
  • Time of application
  • What if I had a “no further stay” Condition 8534 on my Student visa?

Read: The AILS Guide: Temporary Graduate 485 Visa – Part II



The course must be registered with CRICOS, studied in an Australian educational institute, in Australia and must be an eligible degree, diploma or trade qualification.

Trade qualifications can be a little tricky so the fine details are;

  • Australian trade qualification obtained as a result of completing an indentured apprenticeship or training contract that is required by a State or Territory industrial training legislation or a relevant Federal, State or Territory industrial award and involves part time formal training at a technical college or college of technical and further education, and employment within the meaning of an industrial award under a law of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory or a law of a State or Territory dealing with commercial or industrial training.
  • Qualification under the Australian Qualifications Framework of at least Certificate III for a skilled occupation in Major Group IV in ASCO – tradespersons and related workers
  • Qualification under the Australian Qualifications Framework of at least Certificate III for a skilled occupation in Major Group III in ANZSCO – technicians and trades workers

Find: ASCO – Major Group IV

Find: ANZSCO – Major Group III

A reminder! Qualifications that are eligible differ for the two streams under the Temporary Graduate 485 visa which we will cover in part two of this guide. Study must be in Australia but that does not mean some of it cannot be overseas such as gaining credits for a semester for study in another country (read below) .

Online study

The Immigration department now allows online study undertaken outside Australia as a result of COVID-19 travel restrictions will count towards the Australian Study Requirement for existing and new student visa holders

Those students who are in Australia should also be permitted to use online study where the provider has not been able to conduct face to face courses.

Overseas study

An applicant who has undertaken some study overseas as part of an exchange program would not be able to use their time outside Australia to fulfil their two year ASR requirement. If however, despite the overseas study, the applicant has still managed to complete at least 2 academic years of study in no less than 16 calendar months, they are still able to meet the ASR. For example, an applicant who undertook a 3 year, 6 semester Bachelor degree in the following pattern would have completed 2 academic years of study in Australia:

  • Semester 1 overseas
  • Semester 2 in Australia
  • Semester 3 in Australia
  • Semester 4 in Australia
  • Semester 5 overseas
  • Semester 6 in Australia

 Course must be in English

An Australian qualification itself can be accepted as evidence that the course was in English unless the qualification included foreign language courses/units. If the foreign language component of the qualification is incidental to the award of the qualification, applicants are considered to meet the requirement. An example of this is where an overseas student studies one or two foreign languages as a first-year subject only. As part of the evidence on fulfilling the ASR, one must provide their academic transcript. A good way to measure if you fulfil requirements is if no more than 10% of all your studies was in a language other than English.

Interpreting and translating courses

Students who complete advanced qualifications (Advanced Diploma and Bachelor and Masters degrees) in interpreting and translating in Australia may be required to take on courses that are conducting in languages other than English. In such situations, applicants must submit evidence that taking on courses that were instructed in languages other than English was integral to their translating and/or interpreting skills rather than a qualification in a language other than English.

If it can be established that the qualification relates to the skills of translating and/or interpreting with English being a key aspect of the qualification, the applicant can be considered as satisfying this requirement.

In establishing whether a course is an advanced qualification in Interpreting and/or Translating, the following criteria should be applied:

  • The minimum entrance requirement is an average IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum of 6 in each of the four components of the test and
  • The resulting qualification is at the NAATI Professional Level


What visas you must be currently on to be eligible to apply

If you are in Australia, you must currently be on a:

  • A Student visa
  • A bridging visa granted in the application for a substantive visa
  • Holding a substantive visa

In the latter two situations, you must have held your Student visa within 6 months of the application of your Temporary Graduate 485 visa. We cover this in detail below!

For those who are outside of Australia there is no provision to hold a visa, but check this carefully as the laws have just only been introduced.

English Requirement

An applicant may meet the English requirement by achieving the required English test results or be being the holder of certain passports.

English results

English results must be from one of the 5 approved providers. The test results must have been obtained no more than 3 years before the time of application. Minimum English test scores:













IELTS 6 5 5 5 5
PTE: Academic 50 36 36 36 36
TOEFL iBT 64 4 4 14 14
CAE: Advanced 169 154 154 154 154


Find: English requirements for the 485 visa

Read: English proficiency tests

If you are providing English test results to meet the English requirement, please be aware that your results must have been attained before the time of application.

Hold an eligible passport

If your country of passport is the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, the United States or the Republic of Ireland, you will not need to provide test results. You will be taken to automatically meet English requirements

 Australian Study Requirement

The law regarding the ASR has yet to be amended but the COVID-19 concessions are being applied through policy arrangements as mentioned above.

The Australian Study Requirement (ASR) is a requirement that one has fulfilled after completing two years of academic study in Australia. is a necessary requirement in applying for a Temporary Graduate 485 visa but can also be used to gain 5 points in the points tested General Skilled Migration visas (which may just be your next step after you complete your Temporary Graduate 485 visa.

  • Completed one or more degrees, diplomas or trade qualifications for award by an Australian educational institution
  • Course(s) are CRICOS registered
  • Completed in no less than 16 calendar months where the registered course duration is at least two academic years (92 weeks) of study
  • All instruction was conducted in English
  • Was undertaken in Australia on a visa that allows the applicant to study

Read: General Skilled Migration Visas

Quick detour – some additional information about the ASR for GSM visas which you may later find useful to know:

The general skilled migration (GSM) visas include:

  • Skilled Independent visa (subclass 189)
  • Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)
  • Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 489)

When using the ASR for another 5 points for the above visas, it is used under the categories:

  • Australian educational qualifications
  • Study in regional Australia or a low population growth metropolitan area qualifications
  • Partner skill qualifications

Okay back to the ASR for the Temporary Graduate 485 visa.

No less than 16 calendar months

If a student overloads on their units or enrols to study over school breaks, they may be able to complete a course that is registered to take two academic years to complete in a shorter period of time. However, it is a requirement that the actual physical period of study/actual time spent in an educational institute in Australia must meet a minimum of 16 calendar months.

Why? Part of the reason is that Australia provides the benefit to international students who have spent a good length of time here and been able to integrate well. This is unlikely to happen over a short period of time.

Two academic years of study

The two academic years, or 92 weeks of study, on the other hand, is not based on actual time but on the registered duration of a course. To find out what the registered course duration is, CRICOS must be consulted. This way, a student cannot claim to have met the two years of academic study requirement by taking longer to complete a course that is meant to be completed in less than 92 weeks of study.

Okay, we are going to move on to ‘complicated’ cases where students change courses, education institutes and so forth. A simple rule to follow is that the time that counts, is the time that the applicant has taken to complete a qualification and not how long the applicant has studied in Australia. As such, only the time spent on modules that give rise to credit toward their qualification, count. This period will include holiday periods.

Multiple courses

In cases where the applicant intends to use multiple courses to meet the ASR, they must demonstrate that the multiple courses all count towards their award qualification or are packaged (see below) courses. For example, the applicant has completed a Certificate IV in Business Management and goes on to take a Diploma in Business Management that is registered to be 2 years (92 weeks) of academic study. However, because of the applicant’s previous study for Certificate IV, the applicant is given credits for a semester and only studies for 1.5 years to complete the diploma or degree. The applicant is taken to have fulfilled the ASR.

Although the Certificate IV course cannot be counted towards the ASR, because the applicant was given credits in his diploma or degree course, it is taken that those units in the diploma and degree course have been completed at the required level. Bear in mind that the registered duration for the credited units in the eligible course will be counted, as opposed to the registered duration for the units in his previous study.

This concept works for in other circumstances where the applicant is using multiple courses to meet the ASR requirement.

Nested/packaged programmes

If the education provider offers a “nested” or “packaged” program of study, where the completion of modular programs will not on its own, result in award an eligible qualification, but as a whole, will result in an award in an eligible qualification, then the entire course of study may be used. For example, the course may, over the course of two academic years involve 4 modules, that on completion of each module, results in the awarding of Certificate II, III, IV and a diploma progressively, the course is a packaged course and may be used to meet the ASR.

Changing courses

If the applicant has enrolled in a course and decides to change their course, the time spent in the original course cannot be used if the original course resulted in no credits toward the subsequent course.

If however the applicant is granted credits for the original course, then that course is taken to have contributed towards their award qualification. For example, if the applicant has taken a Bachelor of Nursing and has changed to a Bachelor of Science, and have been given credits toward her Bachelor of Science from the study in the Bachelor of Nursing course, then the registered duration of only the credited courses in the Bachelor of Science will count towards the ASR.

Although the Bachelor of Nursing is an eligible qualification, the applicant cannot count the registered duration of both the Bachelor of Nursing as well as the Bachelor of Science, as the registered duration of credits has already been counted for the Bachelor of Science.

Changing institutions

If the applicant has enrolled with and undertaken some study with an education provider, but later changes their education provider, they can only count the period of study with the initial education provider for which their new education provider has given the credits for.

Courses not eligible

Periods of study that are undertaken to meet the entry requirements for an eligible diploma, degree or trade qualification cannot be used to count towards meeting the two-year requirement. These include bridging courses, other prerequisite programs, non-award courses and ELICOS courses. For example, if a Certificate IV in Business is an entry requirement for a Diploma of Management, the Certificate IV course cannot be used to count towards meeting the ASR.

Periods of study in a Graduate Diploma, Certificate IV and lower cannot be used to count towards the two year requirement. Other some circumstances, study in a Certificate IV course that is nested within a Diploma course may be used to count towards the two years (see below).

Recognised Prior Learning (RPL)

Any RPL for study undertaken overseas which has been accepted by an education provider and reduces the course duration to achieve a qualification is not eligible to be considered for any part of the Australian Study Requirement. Unlike with previous examples where credits count toward the ASR, RPL is for study taken overseas and as such, cannot count toward the minimum 16 months.

If a student took an eligible course that is registered to have a duration of 3 academic years with an Australian education provider, and the provider had accepted the student’s RPL for a reduced learning time by one academic year, the student is taken to have completed 3 academic years and 2 calendar years.

We know you can’t wait for part two. If you really can’t wait and you want a one on one session to learn more or discuss complicated issues, give us a call on +61 2 8054 2537,  or book online today to speak to our migration specialists. Our specialised agents provide fair fees and have worked on countless Temporary Graduate 485 applications.