Post Study work arrangements

​The Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) allows graduates to work in Australia temporarily after they finish their studies. It has two streams: the Graduate Work stream and the Post-Study Work stream.

The Graduate Work stream is for international students who graduate with skills and qualifications that relate to an occupation considered in demand in the Australian labour market, as indicated in the Skilled Occupation List (SOL). A visa in this stream is generally granted for 18 months. 

The Post-Study Work stream offers extended options for working in Australia to eligible graduates of a higher education degree. Under this stream, successful applicants are granted a visa with a visa period of two, three or four years’ duration, depending on the highest educational qualification they have obtained.

Australian study requirement

All subclass 485 visa applicants must satisfy the Australian study requirement in the six months immediately prior to making their application, regardless of the stream that they are assessed under.

The Australian study requirement has two equally important and related components. To meet this requirement, students must relevantly have:

  1. attained either a single qualification requiring at least two academic years study or multiple qualifications resulting in a total period of at least two academic years study; and
  2. undertaken this study in no less than 16 calendar months.

Acceptable courses

To meet this requirement, the course/courses must also:

  • be registered through the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Course for Overseas Students (CRICOS)
  • have been successfully completed
  • have resulted in an eligible qualification 
  • have had all instruction in English
  • have been completed while physically in Australia
  • have been completed while holding a visa allowing study in Australia
  • be counted only once towards the Australian study requirement.

English language proficiency courses or enabling programs cannot be used to meet the Australian study requirement.

Two academic years study

Two academic years study is defined as 92 weeks of study in a course or courses registered by CRICOS. CRICOS determines a standard duration (number of weeks) for each course.

Students may take longer to complete the course, but will only be credited with the number of weeks that CRICOS determines as a standard duration. For example, if it takes a student 92 weeks to successfully complete a course that CRICOS says should take 78 weeks, they will receive credit for 78 weeks only.

Only study that is successfully completed counts towards the two academic years. Failed subjects will not be considered.

Students may meet the two year academic study requirement when completing a course that is longer than two years. For example, if a course is CRICOS registered for 138 weeks (three years) and consists of 24 equally weighted units, two academic years will be met when 16 units of that course have been successfully completed.

Credits and exemptions

Credits for prior learning may reduce the amount of study undertaken. Credit granted on the basis of study undertaken in Australia in a course registered with CRICOS may contribute towards meeting the Australian study requirement, but only once.

The credited units cannot be counted towards meeting the Australian study requirement if they are already being used to meet the requirement as part of another course or if they were granted on the basis of study undertaken either overseas or within Australia in a non-CRICOS registered course.

Minimum of 16 months

The Australian study requirement cannot be met in less than 16 calendar months.

This period begins when the study commences (generally from the start of lectures and excluding orientation periods) to the date at which all academic requirements have been completed.

Overlap of qualifications

Students may undertake overlapping qualifications. For example, students applying under the Graduate Work stream of the subclass 485 visa may complete a Diploma in Finance and then a Diploma in Accounting where two units in the last qualification have been granted as credit from the earlier qualification.

Where qualifications overlap, periods of study cannot be counted more than once.

If a student completes more than one qualification, but uses only the most recent qualification to meet the Australian study requirement, then any credit received in the most recent qualification from the previous qualification(s) will count towards meeting the Australian study requirement.

The actual period of study within the previous qualification(s) on which the credits were based may also be used to meet the 16 month requirement.

Study outside Australia

If a student undertook some study overseas but nevertheless completed at least two academic years of study in no less than 16 months in Australia in a CRICOS registered course, they can still meet the Australian study requirement.
Example: An applicant who undertook a three year, six semester Bachelor degree following the study pattern mentioned below will have completed two academic years study in Australia:

  • semester 1 outside Australia
  • semester 2 in Australia
  • semester 3 in Australia
  • semester 4 in Australia
  • semester 5 outside Australia
  • semester 6 in Australia.

The pattern of study does not matter as long as the Australian study requirement is met.

Completion date

Subclass 485 visa applications must be lodged within six months of the date of course completion.

The date of course completion is the first date on which the educational institution publicly notifies the student that they have met the requirements for the award of their degree, diploma or trade qualification. This notification can occur by:

  • letter
  • publication in a newspaper
  • publication on the internet
  • email
  • bulletin board at the tertiary institution.

This date should not be confused with the date of conferral of award. The date of conferral is the date that the student actually receives their qualification, for example, at a graduation ceremony.

Applying under the Post-Study Work stream

The following provides information about the Australian study requirement specific to subclass 485 visa applicants under the Post-Study Work stream.

Eligible qualifications

To meet the Australian study requirement, the course/courses must have resulted in an eligible qualification. The eligible qualifications differ depending on which stream of the subclass 485 visa the applicant selects.

For the purposes of applying for a subclass 485 visa under the Post-Study Work stream, only study that results in the conferral of an eligible degree level qualification will be considered. An eligible degree level qualification is a:

  • Bachelor degree
  • Bachelor (honours) degree
  • Masters by coursework degree
  • Masters (extended) degree
  • Masters by research degree
  • Doctoral degree.

Study resulting in a diploma level qualification or trade qualification will not be considered.

As an example a student may complete a one year Bachelor degree followed by a one year Masters degree and meet the Australian study requirement under the Post-Study Work stream, provided the other components of the requirement are satisfied.

Study must be at a certain level

Only certain degree level qualifications undertaken at Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Level 7 or above (Bachelor degree level or above), which leads to the conferral of an eligible degree level qualification, may be considered towards meeting the Australian study requirement. An eligible degree level qualification is a Bachelor degree, Masters by coursework degree, Masters (extended) degree, Masters by research degree or Doctoral degree.

This means that degree level courses which are packaged with a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma course may be considered, provided they ultimately complete an eligible qualification.

Example: Students who complete a Graduate Diploma in Educational Studies which articulates (or leads) into a Master of Education are able to use both the study at the Graduate Diploma and at the Masters level towards meeting this requirement.

Example: Students who complete a Bachelor of Arts and then a Graduate Diploma in Asia-Pacific Studies will only have study undertaken at the Bachelor degree level considered, as the Graduate Diploma did not contribute towards the conferral of an eligible degree level qualification.

Study must be at an eligible education provider

All courses used to satisfy the Australian study requirement must have been undertaken at an eligible Australian university or any other education provider accredited to offer degree level programs.

Applying under the Graduate Work stream

The following provides information about the Australian study requirement specific to subclass 485 visa applicants under the Graduate Work stream.

Eligible qualifications

To meet the Australian study requirement, the course/courses must have resulted in an eligible qualification. The eligible qualifications differ depending on which stream of the subclass 485 visa the applicant selects.

For the purposes of applying for a subclass 485 under the Graduate Work stream, the course/courses must have resulted in a degree, diploma or trade qualification. For example, a student may complete two consecutive Diploma level courses and satisfy the Australian study requirement under the Graduate Work stream, provided the other components of the requirement are satisfied.

Qualifications must be closely related to nominated occupation

The qualification(s) completed must be closely related to the student's nominated skilled occupation. This means the subject matter and the skills gained from the qualifications can be applied at the level achieved in the nominated skilled occupation.
Example: Acceptable combinations of study and nominated occupations include:

  • an applicant who nominates 'Physiotherapist' as their skilled occupation and completes a degree in physiotherapy in Australia
  • an applicant who nominates 'Air-conditioning and Mechanical Services Plumber' as their skilled occupation who has completed a Certificate III in Plumbing and a Diploma of Plumbing and Services in Australia

Example: A combination of study and nominated occupation that would not be acceptable:

  • An applicant's nominated occupation is Registered Nurse but they satisfied the Australian study requirement on the basis of having completed a Bachelor of Commerce.
​​​​

Search all visas

Search visas