Australia and its vibrant student cities frequently rank among the world’s best places to live. Alongside the priceless experience of getting to work in this highly-developed and prospering economy, it’s no wonder many students hope to stay on in Australia after graduating. And if you’re reading this article, we’re guessing you’re no exception! The great news is that there are very accessible and friendly post study work opportunities in Australia. If you’re close to wrapping up your degree or planning ahead for what you’ll do after graduation, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s our complete breakdown of how you can get your post study work visa for Australia!
Getting the Subclass 485 Visa for Australia
If you plan on living, studying, and working in Australia after graduating, the Temporary Graduate Visa – Subclass 485 visa for Australia – is the route to take. This visa lets you stay in Australia and work for a specified time. You can also bring over your immediate family to the country while on this visa!
First things first, though, you need to check whether you’re eligible for the Subclass 485 visa. To be eligible, you must:
- Be under 50 years old
- Be an international student with one of the following qualifications:
- Bachelor’s degree/Bachelor’s (honours) degree
- Master’s (by coursework, by research, or extended) degree
- Doctoral degree
- Hold a qualification for a Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) registered course, by an Australian education provider
- Have an eligible visa, and have held a student visa within the last six months
- Have proof of your English language proficiency
- Hold adequate health insurance
- Be in good health, meeting the country’s minimum health requirements
- Meet the country’s character requirements
- Sign the Australian Values Statement
- Not repay any debt to the Australian government
- Not have any visa application rejections in your travel history
Now, we know at first glance this looks like a lot. But not to worry – our Post Study Work Visa for Australia checklist is here to break down exactly what you need to do!
Post Study Work Visa for Australia Checklist
1. When to Begin Applying for the Subclass 485 Visa
We strongly recommend applying for the Subclass 485 visa as soon as you officially complete your course. This means that you’ll need a letter of completion from your university as part of your formal application package. In this letter, your university must include the following details:
- The official start date of the course
- Course completion date
- The CRICOS code of your university
You must apply within six months of the official date on which you complete your course. While applying, you also need to hold an eligible visa, and at some point over the past six months, have held a student visa.
This is a good place to clarify that you don’t necessarily have to be in Australia while applying for the Subclass 485 visa. Your visa application will still undergo processing if you are:
- Currently holding the Subclass 500 (Student) visa
- Holding a Bridging Visa A or Bridging Visa B, and previously held a student visa within the past six months
- Holding a substantive visa, and previously held a student visa within the past six months
- Outside Australia, but holding or previously held, within the past six months, a valid Subclass 500 visa
As you can see, the six-month time bracket is crucial for your application. So, we’ll repeat ourselves as many times as we need to – it’s imperative you apply as soon as possible after officially completing your course! Another reason to apply as soon as possible is the processing times of your visa. It can take up to eight months for 75% of applications to go through processing. For 90% of applications, processing times can be as long as ten months! The sooner you start the process, the faster you can get your visa.
2. Get Your Identification Documents Together
You’ll need to provide authentic and up-to-date information about your identity to immigration agents. This includes scans of the pages of your passport containing:
- Your picture
- Personal details
- Date of passport issue and expiration
Alongside this, you might also need to provide a copy of your national ID card, and other supporting documents if you, for example, underwent an official name change.
3. Check Off Post Study Work Visa for Australia Academic Requirements
You already know that to qualify for the Subclass 485 visa, you need to hold a valid qualification. This qualification must be:
- A bachelor’s, bachelor’s (honours), master’s (by research, by coursework, extended), or doctoral degree
- From a CRICOS-registered course
- Awarded by an Australian education provider
A diploma or trade qualification by itself may not be enough to meet these requirements. If post study work is part of your plans, this is something to keep in mind while you’re still on your student visa!
You must also prove that you check off additional specific Australian study requirements to be eligible, including proof that you:
- Completed the course successfully (letter of completion)
- Completed the course in English
- Met all the course requirements
- Finished the course in Australia, over at least 16 calendar months
- Finished the course over at least 92 weeks – at least two years – of study
- Held the Subclass 500 Student visa while completing the course
Alongside the letter of completion from your university, you also need to submit certified true copies of your academic transcripts. These need to cover the qualifications you got while studying in Australia.
4. Demonstrate Your English Language Ability
Unless you’re a passport holder of the UK, USA, Ireland, New Zealand, or Canada, you need to submit English language proficiency test scores. Test scores you got within the last three years will suffice for this requirement. Take a look at the accepted English language tests and minimum score requirements below:
Accepted English Language Test
A minimum overall score of 6, with at least 5 in each section
Overall score of at least 64, with at least 4 in the Listening and Reading sections, and 14 in the Writing and Speaking sections
A minimum overall score of 50, with at least 36 in each section
Occupational English Test (OET)
At least a B in each section
Cambridge C1 Advanced Test
At least 169 overall, with a minimum score of 154 in each section
5. Upgrade Your Health Insurance
If you already hold or previously held an Australian student visa, you’re familiar with the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). Getting health insurance coverage is a mandatory part of the visa application process. And making sure the coverage lasts through the entire duration of your time in Australia is compulsory for international students.
The same applies when you’re applying for a post study work visa for Australia. While you can still apply for this visa while under OSHC coverage, you still have to get different, valid medical insurance either:
- as soon as OSHC coverage ends, or
- before your application decision is made
The OSHC coverage also isn’t valid if your student visa expires first. When arranging for your health insurance coverage, you need to make sure it covers your entire stay in Australia and covers all medical treatment and procedures, including transport. Paperwork under this category includes:
- Signed letter from your health insurance provider
- Evidence that you have health insurance coverage
- Medicare card or proof that you enrolled with Medicare
5. Understand Australia’s Minimum Health Requirements
You may have to take a medical exam and prove that you meet the country’s minimum health requirements. The purpose of this exam is to make sure you don’t have any health condition or disease which:
- Poses a substantial healthcare and community service cost to the Australian community
- May limit Australian citizens’ and permanent residences’ access to healthcare and community services
The need for medical examinations and which tests you’ll need to take depend on a few things. Take a look and see if you’re exempt!
6. Prove that You’ll Be a Welcome, Law-Abiding Addition to Australian Society
Immigration agents want to know whether you’ll be a great addition to Australian society. You’ll need to:
- Pass the Australian character test
- Maintain good and responsible conduct while in Australia
If you’re over the age of 16, you’ll need to provide the following documents:
- Application for an Australian Federal Police check within one year – 12 months – of your visa application. Note that only complete disclosure National Police Certificates from the AFP are valid for your application
- Form 80 – Personal particulars for character assessment
- Form 1221 – Additional personal particulars information
You might also need to provide:
- Police certificates for overseas countries, including your home country, if you spent a year (12 months) or more there over the last 10 years since turning 16
- Records or discharge papers if you at any point served in the armed forces of any country
- Letter of conduct from your employer
Alongside the above, you also need to sign the Australian Values Statement, if you’re 18 or older. By signing this, you declare that you understand, respect, and will adhere to Australian law and way of life.
7. Additional Requirements
A couple of other requirements you might need to keep in mind:
- If you’re travelling with family, you’ll need additional documents for:
- Your partner/spouse
- Dependents under the age of 18
- Dependents over the age of 18
- If any of your documents are in a different language, they need official translations from either
- An Australian translator with accreditation from the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters
- An overseas translator who provides their full name, address, contact details, and their qualifications and experience working with the languages they’re translating
- If you’re getting help with your application, you can nominate someone else to
- Collect correspondence on your behalf through Form 956A – Appointment or withdrawal of an authorised recipient
- Help you out with immigration, through Form 956 – Appointment of a registered migration agent, legal practitioner or exempt person
- If you had to complete your course from outside of Australia because of Covid-19 related travel restrictions:
- Successfully completing your course still counts toward fulfilling the Australian study requirements to qualify for the Subclass 485 visa
- You must attach Form 1545 – completed and signed by your education provider – to validate your course completion
And Now, The Actual Application Part
Getting everything ready is honestly the hard part. Once you’ve completed all the other steps and collected all the documents you need, you simply need to log back into ImmiAccount – you’ll already have one if you previously applied for a Student visa – and upload your documents. Make sure that all your documents are clear, full-colour photos or scanned copies. If any of the documents have multiple pages, be sure to save them all as one file.
The application does have a bit of a hefty fee, coming up to AUD 1,680. Once you’ve made the payment, your application is ready to submit!
Our Final Thoughts on Getting Your Post Study Work Visa for Australia
After going through our guide for your post study work visa for Australia, we hope you have two main takeaways – start early and be thorough. You want to make sure all your relevant documentation is valid when you’re applying. And your safest bet is to start as soon as your course officially ends! To make sure you’ve checked off each box thoroughly, you need the time to work ahead. But this doesn’t mean you rush through the application preparation. A rushed application more likely than not will mean an incomplete application. And any of the crucial components missing or not being up to standard can lead to visa rejection. Of course, that’s not a risk you want to take, especially given the processing times. Be sure that when you submit your application, it’s the strongest and most complete package you can put together!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long are post study work visas for in Australia?
The post study work visa for Australia duration will depend on the level of your qualification when you’re applying:
- Bachelor’s degree/Bachelor’s (honours) degree: 2 years
- Master’s degree (coursework): 2 years
- Master’s degree (research): 3 years
- Doctoral degree: 4 years
- Hong Kong or British National Overseas passport holders completing any of the above: 5 years
Can I extend my post study work visa in Australia?
You can’t extend the Subclass 485 visa. You can, though, apply for a second post study work visa. To qualify for this, you need to have been living, studying, and/or working in a regional area in Australia, while holding the first post study work visa.
Can I settle in Australia after study?
The time you spend working in Australia after graduating can set you on the path to permanent residency. To qualify for the work-stream permanent residence visa, you need sponsorship from an Australian employer or possess a skill Australia is looking for. Studying and working in Australia helps you build the connections and competencies to settle down in Australia in the long run!