The Temporary Graduate Subclass 485 visa allows visa holders to live, study, and work in Australia temporarily. The Graduate visa is exclusively for international students who apply after completing their tertiary studies in Australia.
The Subclass 485 has been a “one-in-a-lifetime” visa however, from 2021, graduates from regional educational institutions may be eligible for a second visa.
To understand the second graduate visa initiative, it is important to highlight that there are two streams in the Skilled Graduate visa program:
- The Graduate Work stream
- The Post-Study Work stream
The Graduate Work stream is open to graduates with an eligible qualification, including those from the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector, who graduate with skills and qualifications that relate to an occupation that is considered in demand in the Australian labour market, as indicated in the relevant occupation list.
The Post-Study Work stream is open only to international students who have recently graduated with an eligible higher education degree from an Australian educational institution, regardless of their field of study or occupation.
From 20 January 2021, holders of Graduate visas in the Post-Study stream will have the opportunity to apply for a second Graduate visa in the same stream if they satisfy specific regional requirements.
The second Subclass 485 Graduate visa in the Post-Study Work stream will be granted with a visa validity of one or two years from the date of grant.
One Year visa
A one-year graduate visa will be granted to applicants who studied their Australian qualification anywhere other than the major cities (Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane), and who, while holding the first Graduate visa, lived (worked or studied) only in areas that were outside those cities for at least two years immediately before applying for the second visa.
It will be a condition of the second visa that the holder lives (and works or studies, if relevant) only in a designated regional area, which in practice means areas outside Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. This condition will also apply to all family members of the primary holder who are granted a second Subclass 485 visa.
Two Years visa
A two-year graduate visa will be granted to applicants who studied their Australian qualification in a regional centre or other regional area, and who, while holding the first Graduate, lived (worked or studied) only in a regional centre or other regional area for at least two years immediately before applying for the second visa.
It will be a condition of the second visa that the holder lives (and works or studies, if relevant) only in a regional centre or other regional area. This condition will also apply to all family members of the primary holder who are granted a second Subclass 485 visa.
In both cases, the new visa condition imposed on the second subclass 485, will require visa holders to remain in a regional area for the duration of their new visa.
When considering an application for a second graduate visa, applicants may need to be familiar with the definition of “Designated Regional area”, which includes:
- Designated cities or major regional centres, including Perth, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Wollongong/Illawarra, Canberra, Geelong, and Hobart.
- Regional centres or other regional areas, including all other areas of regional Australia excluding the areas mentioned above and the cities of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
Considering this new legislation, a second Graduate visa appears to be a great incentive for future international students to study at a regional institution.
Currently, visas granted to Post-Study Work stream primary applicants have a visa period between 2 to 4 years, depending on the Australian qualification completed. Securing a second 1-2-year Graduate visa will surely provide unique opportunities to visa holders in terms of skills and years of relevant work experience onshore!
How much will it cost?
The visa application charge for the second Graduate visa in the Post Study Work stream will cost:
- Base charge primary applicant: $650 (AUD)
- Additional applicant charge for a secondary applicant who is at least 18: $325 (AUD)
- Additional applicant charge for a secondary applicant who is less than 18: $165 (AUD)