Are you an international student who has recently graduated and wants to stay and work in Australia? The Graduate 485 visa offers a great pathway to live, travel, work or complete further study in Australia temporarily after you’ve graduated. It can allow you to stay in Australia for up to four years depending on the nature of your education qualification. This article will explain the requirements you need to satisfy for a Graduate visa and how long the visa will last.

Can I Apply for a Graduate Visa?

If you have completed tertiary education in Australia, you may be able to apply for a Graduate visa. Tertiary education is any education completed after high school. To be eligible, you must have completed at least two years of tertiary study (92 weeks) over a minimum of 16 months. Your qualification must also be either:

What Are the Application Requirements?

When lodging a Graduate visa application, you must also provide supporting evidence that you meet the requirements of this visa. Some general requirements include that you must:

  • be under 50 years of age;
  • hold an eligible visa (your student visa);
  • meet health and character requirements; and
  • have health insurance in Australia.

In addition, you must also meet the English language requirement. Under this requirement, you must achieve an overall score of at least six in an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test. In addition, you must achieve a minimum score of five in each of the four components (speaking, reading, listening and writing). You must have taken this test within the last three years when lodging the visa application.

Depending on the Graduate visa stream you apply under, there may also be additional requirements.

Which Stream Should I Apply for?

The Graduate visa has two streams depending on the nature of tertiary qualification you have completed. Each stream has its own additional requirements.

1. Graduate Work Stream

If you are an international student who has completed a course that results in a degree, diploma, or trade qualification, you should apply for a Graduate visa through the Graduate Work Stream. Under this stream, your qualification must relate to an occupation listed on the Medium to Long-Term Strategic Skills List. The Australian Government has identified that these occupations are needed in the medium to long-term in the Australian labour market. This needs to be checked and signed off by an assessing authority, which is an organisation that will determine whether your skills match the occupation you selected.

2. Post-Study Work Stream

If you have an ‘eligible degree level qualification’, you can apply for a Graduate visa under the Post-Study Work Stream regardless of your field of study. However, this qualification must be registered on the Commonwealth Register of Courses and Institutions for Overseas Students.

‘Eligible degree level qualification’ includes a:

  • Bachelor Degree or Bachelor Degree with Honours;
  • Masters by Coursework, Masters (extended) or Masters by Research Degree; and
  • Doctoral Degree.

In addition, you must also have been granted your first student visa in Australia on or after 5 November 2011.

How Long Will the Visa be Valid for?

The length of your Graduate visa depends on which stream you applied under. If you are a successful applicant under the Graduate Work Stream, you will be granted a temporary visa that is valid for 18 months.

Under the Post-Study Work Stream, the government will grant you a temporary visa that will be valid for a period of two to four years. This will depend on the highest qualification you used for the application:


Bachelor Degree, Bachelor Degree with Honours, Masters by Coursework Degree or Masters (extended) Degree Valid for two years
Masters by Research Degree Valid for three years
Doctoral Degree Valid for four years

When Should I Apply?

You must apply for the Graduate visa within six months after course completion. Course completion refers to the date that you were notified of your final results. It is important to apply for the Graduate visa between the date of course completion and the expiry of your student visa. Often this can be a matter of weeks, so make sure you are aware of the dates and act quickly.

Key Takeaways

If you have completed at least two years of tertiary study in Australia and would like to stay in the country after graduating, the Graduate visa is an excellent option for you to explore your career options or undertake further study.

Depending on the nature of your qualification, you may be able to stay, travel, work or do further study in Australia for up to four years. However, you need to make sure that you can meet the requirements before applying. If you have any questions about your eligibility or need any help with your application, you can contact LegalVision’s immigration lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

Natasha Bahari
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