Macquarie-University_485_visa-300x280Over last couple of years there were not many occasions where the Department of Immigration (DIBP) made visa regulations easier for applicants. Long gone are times when cooks and hairdressers completed 2 year long courses, applied for skill assessment and were granted permanent residency.

In certain areas though DIBP has improved chances for people to work legally in Australia. Student visa have simplified assessment levels for higher education students from high Assessment Level countries (in particular AL 3 & 4).

Thanks to Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) changes introduced in March 2013 you are eligible now to work without restrictions from 2 to 4 years depending on degree you have obtained.

• Bachelor, Bachelor with Honours, Masters by Coursework, Masters (Extended) degree – 2 years

• Masters by Research – 3 years

• Doctoral degree – 4 years

Temporary Graduate Visa is made of 2 parts:

– Graduate Work stream – for people who obtained qualifications related to the profession on Skilled Occupation List (SOL) (e.g. Diploma of Nursing leading to nominated profession ‘nurse’)

– Post Study Work stream – covers only bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees obtained by a person granted their first student visa after 5 November 2011.

Graduate Work stream


– only option for non-university qualification holders (e.g. diploma)

– available regardless of date of visa grant


– work for up to 18 months

– requirement to nominate an occupation and have positive skills assessment.

– extra costs (fees for nomination & skills assessment)

Post Study Work stream


– right to work with no restrictions from 2 to 4 years depending on the degree obtained (see above)

– no nomination and no skills assessment


– generally higher financial cost for your education compared to Graduate Work stream


Apart from the above requirements 485 Temporary Graduate visa requires you to meet an “Australian Study Requirement” which is at least 2 university years of study over at least 16 calendar months.

Post Study stream is without doubt a better option than Graduate Work but it applies only for people who were granted their first student visa after 5 November 2011.

If you have been studying though for a couple of years now and started in let’s say 2010 then you have no other option than to apply for Graduate Work stream.

485 visa let’s you to feel like a permanent resident (at least for a while) with no work restrictions and free hand to choose and change your employer. You have much more flexibility here than with Work & Holiday (Subclass 462) and Working Holiday (Subclass 417) visas.

Any questions, please drop a line in the comments section below.

By Bartek