Settlement Guide

What are the latest changes in the Temporary Graduate visa in Australia?


The Temporary Graduate 485 visa now offers up to four years' stay in regional Australia, allowing former international students to gain valuable work experience and explore a pathway to permanent residency in Australia.

What is a Temporary Graduate 485 visa?

The Post-Study Work Stream of the Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa allows international students who have graduated from an Australian tertiary institution to stay in Australia and gain work experience after completing their studies.

Key points

  • International students studying and living in a regional centre or regional area can now apply for a second 485 visa.
  • Regional Australia includes all of Australia, except Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
  • From February 2020, international students can apply for their post-study work visa offshore.

Who can apply for 485 visa?

International students who have completed a bachelor’s, master's or doctoral degree in Australia can apply for the post-study work visa within six months of completing their studies in Australia.

Students who have completed a bachelor or master’s degree can get a two-year visa. But the duration can be longer depending on the course completed.

"If they complete a master degree by research, the 485 visa can be granted for up to three years, and if the students complete a PhD degree in Australia, then the initial 485 visa can be granted for up to four years," Sydney-based migration agent Alice Wang says.

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Longer stay for students in regional Australia

The Department of Home Affairs has made some changes under which international students in regional Australia can now access up to four years’ stay on this visa based on their bachelor or master’s degree.  

The is seen as an incentive for international students living and studying in regional Australia.

Before these changes were introduced, an applicant could get a 485 visa only once on the basis of their Australian study.

But, amendments made to Migration Regulations now allow for a second Temporary Graduate visa in the Post-Study Work stream, provided the applicant has completed their tertiary education in a regional institution, and they lived in a regional area immediately before applying for their second visa.

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Niraj Shrestha, a migration agent at Neil Consultancy, says his clients primarily come from Nepal, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, considering studying in regional Australia.

From January 2021, overseas students can apply for a second 485 visa if they have been living continuously in a regional centre or regional area.

What is regional Australia?

All of Australia except Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, is considered regional Australia.

For the purpose of a second 485 visa, regional Australia is divided between ‘regional centres’ and ‘other regional areas’.

Alice Wang says those who have studied in regional centres, such as Adelaide, Perth, Canberra etc. and live there can access an additional one year, while those in smaller regional areas can get additional two years on their second 485 visa.

Cheerful young woman stands on a cliff above a beach in Kangaroo Island holding an Australian's flag
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The city of Perth, the city of Adelaide, can be considered as the regional centre. Also, Wollongong, Newcastle, Geelong, Hobart, Canberra and so on.

COVID-19 concessions

Before the latest set of amendments, an application for a 485 visa could only be made in Australia, leaving thousands of international students who couldn’t return to Australia due to the border closure unable to make an application.

Now the application requirement has been relaxed to allow international students stranded overseas to make an application for the visa while they are offshore.

The COVID-19 concession has been extended to both the streams of the visa.

The other stream of 485 visa – Graduate Work Stream – is valid for 18 months. Under this stream, an applicant must nominate an occupation that is on the skilled occupation list, and a skills assessment must be passed before the visa can be granted.

For more information about the Temporary Graduate Visa, visit the Department of Home Affairs website or contact a registered migration agent. More information about migration agents in Australia

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