Australia's Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has announced changes to the 485 Post-Study Work visa which will allow some graduates with advanced degrees to remain in Australia for up to four years after completing their courses.
The 485 visa was introduced in 2007 and allowed graduates to stay and work in Australia for 18 months after graduation. From 23rd March a new regime has been introduced. Now, some graduates who were granted their first Australian study visa after November 5th 2011 will be able to apply to stay for longer.
Graduates with bachelors' degrees can now stay for up to two years, those with a master's degree can stay for two or three years and those with doctorates can stay for four years.
485 visa now split into two streams
The 485 visa has now been split into two streams, the Graduate Work Stream and the Post-Study Work Stream. Applicants for both streams will have to meet the following criteria
- Must not have previously held a 485 or 476 visa
- Be proficient in English to the 'competent' level
- Be able to prove that you are of 'good health'
- Studied at a qualifying Australian institution in Australia for at least 16 months finishing within the last six months.
The Graduate Work Stream is for graduates who have gained a qualification qualifying them to work in an occupation which is on the Australian Shortage Occupation List. To qualify you must:
- Have a degree in a subject closely linked to your profession (e.g. pharmacist with a pharmacy degree)
- Have been assessed as competent by a suitable assessing authority and have received a letter confirming your competence.
Graduate stream visas will still last for only 18 months from the date of grant.
Post-study work visas will last up to four years
The Post-Study Work visa is for graduates in any subject and will allow graduates to stay in Australia and work for up to four years. In order to qualify for this stream you must:
- Have received your first Australian student visa after 5th November 2011.
- Hold a qualifying qualification. This will be a bachelor's or master's degree or a doctoral degree from an Australian university or other qualifying educational institution.