The Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) is a visa that is very useful to overseas students who take up study in Australia and decide after a while that they would like to stay in Australia. Before we dive into part two of this detailed guide, some groundwork.
The Temporary Graduate 485 visa has three streams, being the:
- Graduate Work Stream
- Post Study Work Stream
- Second Post Study Work Stream
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
In this first part, you will learn about:
- 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
TEMPORARY GRADUATE 485 STREAMS
- Graduate Work Stream
- Post Study Work Stream
- Second Post Study Work Stream
- Qualifications and proof of study
- Time of application
- What if I had a “no further stay” Condition 8534 on my Student visa?
As part of the documents that must be submitted, an Australian police check must be completed. This is in the form of an Australian Federal Police (AFP) certificate. Failing to submit an AFP at the time of application or evidence for having applied for one would result in your application being refused. Applied but have not received the AFP yet? You should provide evidence such as official receipts and documents from the AFP that clearly state you have applied for a police check and this must be done straight after the application has been lodged through the online portal.
You must have health insurance at the time of application and it must cover you for your period of stay in Australia. If you are covered by Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) at the time of application and you are on a study visa, you are still eligible to apply. If however, you are no longer on a student visa, OSHC is not acceptable. You will need to produce evidence that you are enrolled with adequate health insurance at the time of application and that it will be maintained through the course of your stay in Australia.
TEMPORARY GRADUATE 485 STREAMS
Graduate Work Stream
The Graduate Work Stream 485 visa is for those who:
- Can nominate an occupation that is on the Medium to Long Term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)
- Has a degree, diploma or trade qualification that is closely related to the nominated occupation
- Have been assessed by the appropriate assessing authority to have a suitable temporary/graduate level skills assessment
It allows it’s holder to stay in Australia for up to 18 months. But don’t forget the above closely related issue for this one aspect many applicants overlook.
A positive skills assessment undertaken by the relevant assessing body can be provided whether the qualification was completed in Australia or overseas. The applicant is still required to separately fulfil the Australian Study requirement in a closely related field of study to their nominated occupation.
An applicant completed the following courses in Australia to meet their Australian study requirement within an appropriate timeframe:
- Diploma of Building Surveying and
- Advanced Diploma of Building Surveying
The applicant then applied under the Graduate Work Stream and the nominated occupation was Civil Engineering Draftsperson 
- Applicant received a Positive Skills assessment from VETASSESS for the nominated occupation. However, the qualification used in the skills assessment was a Diploma of Specialist (Building engineer) that the applicant completed in the Republic of China. There was no mention in the assessment that the Australian qualifications were considered.
- Australian qualifications meet the Australian Study requirement and are closely related to the nominated occupation
The applicant will have been taken to have fulfilled requirements for both the ASR and skills assessment even thought different qualifications were considered.
Validity of Skills Assessment
Some assessing authorities specify in their assessment letters that the assessment is valid for a specific period of time. If a skills assessment is provided after the expiry date, the skills assessment will not meet the requirements for the 485 application.
Skills assessments that do not specify an expiry date are valid for a period of 3 years from the date of the assessment. Past that three year mark, the assessment will not meet the requirements for the 485 application.
Professional Membership or registration
Evidence of membership of an Australian professional society – for example, membership of the Australian Institute of Management – is not an assessment by a relevant assessing authority. However, if the nominated occupation is Solicitor, Barrister or General Medical Practitioner the applicant will only be able to practice in that nominated occupation after they have obtained a provisional registration or State Board registration. Therefore provisional registration for the nominated occupations of Solicitor, Barrister & General Medical Practitioner will be acceptable for the purposes of meeting the skills assessment requirement.
Post Study Work Stream
The Post Study Work Stream 485 is for those who:
- Hold an eligible Australian qualification
- Have had the first Student visa in Australia applied for and granted after 5 November 2011
It allows it’s holder to stay in Australia for between two to four years:
- Bachelor degree (including honours): 2 years
- Masters by coursework: 2 years
- Masters by research: 3 years
- Doctoral degree: 4 years
The applicant cannot change their nominated occupation after making the application.
Eligible qualifications for the Post Study Work stream (AFQ level 7 and above) include:
- An Australian Bachelor Degree (including Honours)
- A Masters by Coursework Degree
- A Masters Extended Degree
- A Masters by Research Degree or
- A Doctoral Degree.
Applicants cannot satisfy 485.231(1) solely on the basis of having completed a Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate course
Nested courses, or courses that move into an eligible qualification, are accepted for the Post Study Work stream if the study that contributes to the completion of an eligible qualification.
For example, applicants who undertake a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma course which is nested in a Bachelor or Masters Degree, are eligible for the Post Study Work stream, provided they ultimately complete an eligible qualification.
- Three years of study at the Bachelor degree level (AQF 7) resulting in the completion of a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts.
- Two years of study in a Master by Coursework (AQF 9) course resulting in the completion of a Master in Computer Programming.
- Six months of study of a Graduate Diploma/Certificate in Electrical Engineering (AQF 8), from which the credits are granted towards a further year of study in a Master by Research course, CRICOS registered for 92 weeks and resulting in completion of a Master of Engineering qualification (AQF 9) that satisfies the ASR:
- Although the Graduate Diploma is not an eligible qualification for the Post-Study Work stream, as it is closely related to the Master of Engineering and the completed units are recognised by the education provider as eligible for credit towards the Master degree, this course of study is acceptable. For example, units totalling 6 months from the Graduate Diploma were recognised by the education provider, followed by 12 months of the Master course, the applicant was able to satisfy the ASR as the Master course was registered for two academic years and the applicant spent a minimum of 16 calendar months studying.
- One year of a Master by coursework (AQF 9) in Architecture followed by another year of Master by research (AQF 9) in Business Administration:
- Two unrelated Master courses that are completed when study is undertaken for at least two academic years (as required by the ASR) is acceptable.
Two years of a Master Degree followed by a Graduate Certificate or a Graduate Diploma:
- The applicant would have to meet the ASRusing the Master Degree only. If the Master Degree was completed within six months prior to applying for the Temporary Graduate 485 visa, this qualification could be used to meet the ASR
Second Post Study Work Stream
This is for students who as the primary applicant for the first 485 visa, have completed their studies in a regional location and continued to work and live in a regional location for the two years their first 485 visa was granted.
The length of the visa is between 1 and 2 years depending on:
- the regional location of the educational institution that you graduated from that led to the grant of your first Temporary Graduate visa in the post-study work stream
- the regional area that you live in as the holder of your first Temporary Graduate visa post-study work stream
Hong Kong passport holders may stay for 5 years.
Qualifications and proof of study
This includes your certificate, academic transcript and an official completion letter from your education provider that states the start and end dates of your study and when course requirements were met. All three documents are essential. The details that are on these documents affect important criteria that we will cover in part two, such as time of application, having a highly related qualification (Graduate Work Stream) and the all-important, Australian Study Requirement (above).
Time of application
Let’s talk about the time of application which is as mentioned, important but often overlooked. First, you can only apply for your 485 visa after you have completed your course of study and not before. Next, you must absolutely apply within 6 months of completing your course (unless the COVID-19 apply to you). You will not be able to apply after this point unless you complete another accepted course of study.
If you are applying under the Graduate Work Stream, you have to work quickly. Evidence that you have applied for a suitable skills assessment is required to be provided at the time of application for your 485 visa. You do not need the result just demonstrate that it has been lodged. The skill assessment result can be supplied during the processing of your application. Of course with the Post Study Work stream under the 485 visa, no skill assessment is required because you do not have to nominate any particular occupation.
To know what your critical dates are you must understand how the Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) defines the date you complete your course.
Completed is defined in regulation 1.15F(2) to mean having met the academic requirements for the award of the degree, diploma or trade certificate.
The date that you are considered to have completed your course is not when you finish your exams or the date of award of conferral (date on your award certificate), but the date provided in a notice of completion of the course. This notification may be found:
- In a letter from the educational institute to the applicant
- In your academic transcript
- On the Internet
- In a newspaper
- On the education institution’s bulletin board
Evidence of the date of completion of your course must be provided in your application. Please note that although the above documents may list dates, these dates may not be the date your course is considered to be completed.
Be alert! You may notice that your academic transcript may say “date of issue”. This is not your completion date. It will also be different from the date on your award certificate, which is generally months after your actual completion date. Don’t hazard a guess if you do not have a document that clearly states when you have completed the academic requirements of a course.
Say you have supplementary or deferred exams to take. Your award certificate would be much delayed. Remember that you cannot consider that date that you complete your course to be the date on your award certificate. Your completion date, being the date on which your course requirements were met, would also be different from others in your cohort. Be careful to comb through your documents for a clear date on when your course is taken to be completed. If in doubt, clarify this with your educational institute or request a letter.
If the applicant’s results were withheld due to perhaps, unpaid course fees, the date that fines or fees were paid and results were received is not the date the course was completed. Again, remember that your actual completion date may vary from the date that is given on the documents (date of issue).
Submission of the thesis
You are not considered to have completed your course on submission of your thesis. Your date of completion would be the date that is provided on a notification that your thesis was accepted and all academic requirements have been completed.
What if I had a “no further stay” Condition 8534 on my Student visa?
Worry not! You are eligible to apply for the Temporary Graduate 485 without having to apply to waive these conditions! Easy.
Phew! I think we have armed you pretty well but remember don’t lodge our 485 prematurely and lose precious days on this visa. If you completed your course in December but your visa goes until 15th March, you can comfortably lodge your application in the first week of March. There is no requirement to lodge your 485 within 28 days of completing your course. You do however as mentioned above, lodge within 6 months of course completion.
Still unsure and want to submit your application in perfect order? We highly recommend that you call +61 2 8054 2537 or book online today to speak to our migration specialists. Our registered agents will not only discuss your Temporary Graduate 485 application but also work towards future plans – mapping out your visa pathway to residency.