485 Visa: Comprehensive Guide

The Australian Government provides an opportunity to all international students to study in the country but as a prerequisite, you’ll have to obtain a student visa first. The visa you need will depend on your age, the type of study you want to pursue, and how long you want to stay in Australia.

As an international student, you would most commonly require a Student visa (subclass 500), regardless of your field of study.

The Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa allows international students to live, study and work after they have finished their studies in Australia.

This visa has two streams namely, Graduate Work Stream and Post Study Work Stream. 

Temporary Graduate visa subclass 485

Thinking of applying for a 485 Visa? This comprehensive guide is for you.

1

Subclass 485 - Graduate Work Stream

The Graduate Work Stream is for international students who have completed at least a diploma or trade qualification relevant to an occupation on the MLTSSL.

1650

Visa Application Fees (AUD)

From AUD 1,650.

There is also a fee for each family member who applies for the visa with you.

You might also have to pay other costs for health checks, police certificates and biometrics.

5

Avg. Processing Time (months)

Processing time for graduate work stream

  • 75% of applications: 4 Months
  • 90% of applications: 5 Months
18

Travel & Stay (months)

Stay in Australia for a maximum of 18 months from date of grant of visa.

Hong Kong passport holders may stay for 5 years

Checklist

Apply From

  • You must be in Australia to lodge a valid application for this visa. Currently, this requirement has been waived due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Qualifying Visa

  • You either hold a valid Student visa (subclass 500) or have held a Student visa in the last 6 months before your application was lodged and now hold a Bridging Visa A, Bridging Visa B or a substantive visa.

Age

  • You must be under 50 years of age.

English Proficiency

  • Unless you have a passport from the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada or New Zealand, you must have IELTS overall Band 6 or equivalent. You must have sat for the test prior to lodging your 485 visa application otherwise your application will be refused. You can use scores from past English exams provided they are less than 3 years old.

Australian Study Requirements

  • You must satisfy the Australian study requirements in the 6 months prior to applying for this visa. i.e.
    • course was a registered CRICOS course
    • you have been physically in Australia for 16 calendar months and
    • you have completed 2 academic years (92 weeks) of study. Check CRICOS to make sure that your course meets this requirement
    • This 6-month period begins from when the results of last exam are released/notification of completion of course was made available/published.
    • Two diploma level courses can be combined to meet this study requirement.

Nominated Occupation

  • You must nominate an occupation in the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). Check the skilled occupation list on DHA website to see if your nominated occupation is found in MLTSSL
  • Your completed Diploma or trade qualification must be closely related to the nominated occupation.

Skills Assessment

  • You must provide evidence that you have applied for skills assessment in the nominated occupation.
  • You don't need the assessment to be completed to lodge the 485 application.
  • You must, however, provide at least a receipt confirming lodgement of your skills assessment when you lodge your 485.

Health Insurance

  • You must maintain adequate arrangements for health insurance at each stage of your 485 visa application as follows:
    • At lodgement: You must show evidence of health cover. This could be Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
    • During processing: You will need to show you have maintained health cover which could be either OSHC or Overseas Visitor Health Cover (OVHC) once your student visa expires
    • On Grant: You will need to have OVHC. OSHC is not sufficient at this stage.
    • Whilst on your 485 visa: Your 485 will be subject to a condition which requires you to maintain your health cover. This could either be OVHC or Medicare if you apply for PR. Failure to do so could result in cancellation of your 485 visa.

Refusals and Cancellations

  • If your 485 visa is refused or cancelled you will be subject to Section 48 Bar and will not be able to apply for 485 visa again.

Police Clearance

  • Lastly, you will need to provide evidence that you have applied for an Australian Federal Police check prior to lodging your 485 visa application.
    • Even if your police check is not complete yet, provide at least a receipt for AFP lodgement. Your 485 visa application must be “accompanied by" evidence that you have applied for AFP clearances.
    • Apply for the correct type of police clearance. DO NOT apply for a state police check.
    • Everyone included in your 485 application who is aged 16 or over must apply for police clearance.
    • You must have applied for an AFP in the 12 months before lodging your 485 application.
    • Select Code 33 – immigration / citizenship – for supply to the department of immigration and border protection on the AFP Police check form.
2

Subclass 485 - Post Study Work Stream

The Post Study Work Stream is for international students who have recently graduated with at least a degree from an Australian institution.

1650

Visa Application Fees (AUD)

From AUD 1,650.

There is also a fee for each family member who applies for the visa with you.

You might also have to pay other costs for health checks, police certificates and biometrics.

5

Avg. Processing Time (months)

Processing time for graduate work stream

  • 75% of applications: 4 Months
  • 90% of applications: 5 Months
4

Travel & Stay (years)

Period of stay in Australia varies from 2 to 4 years depending on the qualification.

Hong Kong passport holders may stay for 5 years

  • Bachelor: 2 year visa period
  • Bachelor with Honours: 2 year visa period
  • Master by Coursework: 2 year visa period
  • Master (extended): 2 year visa period
  • Master by Research: 3 year visa period
  • Doctorate: 4 year visa period.
Checklist

Apply From

  • You must be in Australia to lodge a valid application for this visa. Currently, this requirement has been waived due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Application Deadline

  • You either hold a valid Student visa (subclass 500) or have held a Student visa in the last 6 months before your application and now hold a Bridging Visa A, Bridging Visa B or a substantive visa.

Age

  • You must be under 50 years of age.

English Proficiency

  • Unless you have a passport from the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada or New Zealand, you must have IELTS overall Band 6 or equivalent. You must have sat for the test prior to lodging your 485 visa application otherwise your application will be refused. You can use scores from past English exams provided they are less than 3 years old.

Study Requirements

  • You must satisfy the Australian study requirements in the 6 months prior to applying for this visa. i.e.
    • course was a registered CRICOS course
    • you have been physically in Australia for 16 calendar months and
    • you have completed 2 academic years (92 weeks) of study. Check CRICOS to make sure that your course meets this requirement
    • This 6-month period begins from when the results of last exam are released/notification of completion of course was made available/published.
  • You must have completed a:
    • Bachelor Degree;
    • Bachelor (Honours) Degree;
    • Masters by Coursework Degree;
    • Masters by Research Degree;
    • Masters (Extended) Degree and/or
    • Doctoral Degree. 

Skills Assessment

  • No skills assessment required. No need to nominate an occupation.

Health Insurance

  • You must maintain adequate arrangements for health insurance at each stage of your 485 visa application as follows:
    • At lodgement: You must show evidence of health cover. This could be Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
    • During processing: You will need to show you have maintained health cover which could be either OSHC or Overseas Visitor Health Cover (OVHC) once your student visa expires
    • On Grant: You will need to have OVHC. OSHC is not sufficient at this stage.
    • Whilst on your 485 visa: Your 485 will be subject to a condition which requires you to maintain your health cover. This could either be OVHC or Medicare if you apply for PR. Failure to do so could result in cancellation of your 485 visa.

Refusals and Cancellations

  • If your 485 visa is refused or cancelled you will be subject to Section 48 Bar and will not be able to apply for 485 visa again.

Police Clearance

  • Lastly, you will need to provide evidence that you have applied for an Australian Federal Police check prior to lodging your 485 visa application.
    • Even if your police check is not complete yet, provide at least a receipt for AFP lodgement. Your 485 visa application must be “accompanied by" evidence that you have applied for AFP clearances.
    • Apply for the correct type of police clearance. DO NOT apply for a state police check.
    • Everyone included in your 485 application who is aged 16 or over must apply for police clearance.
    • You must have applied for an AFP in the 12 months before lodging your 485 application.
    • Select Code 33 – immigration / citizenship – for supply to the department of immigration and border protection on the AFP Police check form.

Frequently Asked Questions About 485 Visa

How many times can I apply for 485 visa?

You can apply for 485 visa only one time after you graduate. This rule applies to only the main applicant of the student visa and not to the secondary applicant of the student visa.

International students normally apply for 485 visa between the date of completion of their course and the expiration of their student visa.

Can I work on a 485 visa?

Yes, 485 visa comes with full work rights which allow you to work, study and live in Australia as long as your 485 visa is valid.

Do I have to provide a skills assessment for 485 visa?

You only need to provide a positive skills assessment if you are applying for the Graduate Work Stream of 485 visa. The Post Study Work stream does not require the applicant to nominate a skilled occupation or provide a skills assessment.

How long can you stay on Subclass 485 - Post Study work Stream?

The Subclass 485 – Post Study Work stream visa is a temporary visa. The length of your stay in Australia will depend on the level of your Australian study qualification.

  • bachelor degree (including honours): 2 years
  • masters by coursework: 2 years
  • masters by research: 3 years
  • doctoral degree: 4 years

Can you change the nominated occupation for Subclass 485 - Graduate work Stream after you apply?

You cannot change the occupation you nominate after you apply for the 485 Visa Graduate work stream. So make sure that you pick your occupation carefully. 

Can I apply for 485 visa without IELTS?

Recently there was news about a few cases where the Immigration Department approved a few applications for a 485 visa without an IELTS score. However this was an anomaly. The Department has notified that in the future all applicants must have the appropriate English langue scores.

There are a few applications that were submitted without an English language score that are currently on-hold with the Department. The Department is taking an approach of not processing these applications until the applicants have submitted their English language scores so that they don't get refused.

Which health insurance is required for 485 visa?

If you are still on a student visa when you submit or send your application for a subclass 485 visa then Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is acceptable health insurance .

However, OSHC is not adequate if you no longer hold a student visa.

If you are applying for 485 visa while you are covered by OSHC, you will need to have adequate health cover (other than your OSHC) either immediately after your OSHC ends or before Immigration makes a decision, whichever comes first.

If Immigration decides on your application before your OSHC ends, they will contact you to ask you to obtain non-OSHC cover before making a decision.

Can I apply for AFP National police check after lodging 485 visa?

No, in order to lodge a valid application for 485 visa you must've applied for AFP police check before lodging your visa application.

It is okay if you get the results of the Police Check after you have lodged the 485 visa application. The main thing to remember is that you should've applied for the police certificate before submitting your 485 visa application.

Can I move to any state or regional area after receiving my 485 visa?

Yes, the 485 visa does not restrict you in terms of where to stay. You can live, work and study in any part of Australia.

In fact, most students use their stay on the 485 visa to explore different parts of Australia and improve their PR pathway options.

Can I work while waiting for my 485 visa?

Whether you can work while waiting for the 485 visa depends on when you applied for it. For instance:

  • If you applied for 485 while your Student visa was still in effect then you are granted a Bridging Visa A (BVA) in association with your 485 visa. This BVA comes into effect when your student visa expires and has full work and study rights. Until you are on your student visa you will have to comply with the work conditions on your student visa.
  • If you applied for 485 after your Student visa expired then you are granted a Bridging Visa C (BVC). This BVC comes into effect on grant and has a “No work" condition (8101) imposed on it. If your BVC has condition 8101 imposed on it, you will not be able to work. In order to work, you may be able to apply for another BVC without the condition, on ‘compelling need to work’ grounds. Book a free consultation if you need any help with applying for BVC with full work rights.

Is there priority processing for Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List(PMSOL) occupations for 485 visa?

No, there is no priority processing for Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List(PMSOL) occupations for 485 visa.

Priority processing of nomination and visa applications for PMSOL occupa​​tions is only available for the following employer sponsored visa subclasses:

Can I apply for 485 visa offshore?

As per the new COVID-19 guidelines announced in September 2020, graduates affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions will be able to apply for and be granted a Temporary Graduate visa outside Australia (where they have met all the requirements).

Does 485 visa lead to a PR?

485 Visa does not directly lead to a PR. However, it allows you to work and stay in Australia for up to 4 years depending on your completed qualification.

This unrestricted work visa helps international students who have recently graduated acquire Australian work experience in their occupation and improves their chances of getting one of the  points-tested Permanent Residency Visas.

Can I apply for student visa after 485?

Yes, you can apply for a student visa after a 458 visa. However, keep in mind that you will not be eligible for a 2nd 485 visa once this student visa expires.

Does online study undertaken outside Australia count towards Australian study requirements?

As per the new COVID-19 announcements for 485 visa in September 2020, 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

Occupations on which Skilled Occupation List qualify for Graduate Work Stream of Subclass 485 visa?

To qualify for the Graduate Work Stream of Subclass 485 visa, your occupation should be on the Medium and long-term strategic skills list (MLTSSL) 

Can I apply for a student visa after 485 visa?

To qualify for the Graduate Work Stream of Subclass 485 visa, your occupation should be on the Medium and long-term strategic skills list (MLTSSL) 

Which qualifications are accepted for the 485 - Post study stream?

To be eligible for a 485 Visa – Post study work stream, your completed qualification must be an eligible degree. i.e. one of the following:

  • bachelor degree
  • bachelor (honours) degree
  • masters by coursework degree
  • masters (extended) degree
  • masters by research degree
  • doctoral degree

If you have studied a standalone diploma or trade qualification, you are not eligible to be granted a visa in this stream.

Which qualifications are accepted for the 485 - Graduate work stream?

In the past 6 months before you applied for 485 Visa – Graduate work stream, you must have met the Australian study requirement. You will meet this if you are awarded at least one degree, diploma or trade qualification and:

  • your course was a CRICOS-registered course
  • you successfully completed all course requirements
  • your study was in English
  • you completed your course as a result of at least two academic years (92 weeks) study
  • you were physically in Australia for at least 16 calendar months to complete the study
  • you held an Australian study visa that allowed you to study

To meet the 2 academic year component of the Australian study requirement, you may combine courses in some circumstances.

When applying for this stream of subclass 485, the course or 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.

Can I use my old IELTS score to apply for 485 visa?

As long as your IELTS, PTE or OET score is less than 3 years old, you can use the old English proficiency test score to apply for 485 visa.

What documents are needed for secondary applicant of 485 visa?

To apply as a secondary applicant, you must submit the following documents:

  • AFP Police clearance
  • Evidence of health insurance
  • Evidence of ongoing relationship such as marriage certificate and any other documents which have the names of both the applicants such as lease agreements, bank account statements, utility bills etc.
  • Health exam results

Which code should I choose as a "reason" on the AFP police clearance form?

The AFP National Police Check Application Form is available from the Australian Federal Police website – either an online form or paper form. You should tick Code 33 – immigration / citizenship – for supply to the department of immigration and border protection in Section 8 of the form. Fingerprints are not required.

485 Visa to PR Pathway

The Subclass 485 visa is a great way to extend your stay in Australia once you finish your studies. Since the 485 visa is valid for 18 months – 4 years depending on your circumstances, you can use this opportunity to improve your eligibility for General Skilled Migration (GSM) Visas such as 189, 190 and 491 which lead to permanent residency. For instance:

  • Improve your English proficiency score: You can take English language preparation courses and tutoring for IELTS, PTE or OET to maximise your scores for the points tested GSM visas.
  • Sit for NAATI CCL: As many of you know, you can get 5 bonus points for passing the NAATI CCL exam.
  • Complete A Professional Year (PY): Students from Accounting, IT and Engineering often complete a Professional Year in Australia while on the 485 visa. Professional Year can only be done whilst on the 485 visa and adds another 5 bonus points to your score for General Skilled Migration visas and makes it easier to pass the skills assessment. Since the PY also includes an internship, it makes it improves your chances of finding a job in Australia which in turn gives you more points for Australian work experience.
  • Increase Your Work Experience In Australia: Working in Australia for at least 12 months will give you 5 points for GSM visas. Moreover, it can also lead to employer sponsored visa opportunities such as TSS (Subclass 482), ENS (Subclass 186) and SESR (Subclass 494), and improve your chances of getting nominated by a State or Territory Government for a Skilled Nominated subclass 190 or 491 visa.
  • Meet Residence Requirements For Regional Visas: Many state or regional visas such as 190 or 491 require you to satisfy minimum residence requirements of 6 – 12 months in the state or regional area before they nominate you. You can use the stay period on your 485 visa to expore different states and regional areas and meet the residence requirements for these visas. Additionally, if you receive a job offer in a regional area, this may also open up permanent residence pathway via 494 visa.

quick links

Gather your documents before you lodge your visa

Recent 485 Visa Announcements

COVID-19 update for 485 Visa (September 2020)

Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa eligibility Immigration has changed the…

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2

In depth research & Advice

Your personal consultant then researches all possible options for you and prepares a detailed plan of action and milestones for your successful migration.

3

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Once you approve the plan, your personal consultant takes over. Your application is prepared, all relevant documents are compiled and lodged focusing on timely and error free submissions.

4

Ongoing updates & communication

Our team continually monitors the progress of your application every step of the process. Any updates are promptly communicated to you to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.

Accreditations & Memberships

Conclusion

The Subclass 485 visa is a great way to extend your stay in Australia once you finish your studies. You can use this opportunity to improve your eligibility for Australia PR.

Since you can only apply for this visa once in your lifetime, there is little room for error. Too often, students who lodge their own 485 visa miss a critical requirement and lose their opportunity to access the 485 program.

If you need any help with your 485 visa application, contact our Temporary  Graduate Visa Specialists who will guide you step by step in preparing and lodging your visa application.

Good luck to you with the Temporary Graduate Visa application.

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  1. September 25, 2020, 1:31 pm
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