Changes to the 485 visa- Graduate work stream

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by Pamela Pau, Senior Immigration Lawyer

On 23 June 2022, the Australian Government introduced regulations creating temporary concessions for 485- Graduate work stream applications. For 485- Graduate work stream applications lodged between 1 July 2022-30 June 2023, there has been a temporary removal of the requirements for:

  • applicants to nominate an occupation on the medium/long-term occupation list (MLTSSL);
  • each degree, diploma or trade qualification used to meet the Australian requirement being closely related to the applicant’s nominated occupation;
  • applicants having a positive skills assessment in their nominated occupation.

What is the impact of these changes?

These changes will open up a 485- graduate stream pathway for a cohort who were previously not eligible for a 485 visa. For example, student visa holders who have studied a diploma or trade qualification, and can meet the Australian study requirement in the last 6 months before applying (along with other 485 requirements) but whose occupation is not on the medium/long-term occupation list.

For student visa holders who are studying qualifications towards an occupation on the medium/long-term list, this concession will help to streamline their process because they no longer need to organise a skills assessment before applying for the 485 visa-graduate work stream.

Applicants who meet all graduate work stream requirements will be granted a 485 visa, which provides them with unrestricted work rights for a further temporary period. This will provide them with time to accrue full-time local experience in their occupation, look for an employer to sponsor them, develop their professional networks and for visa holders from a non-English speaking background, continue to improve their English language skills.

These changes can be seen as part of a broader suite of measures introduced by the Australian Government in an attempt to facilitate the return of international students, support Australia’s economic recovery from COVID19 and help address some of the current skill shortages including:

  • extending the visa duration for the 485 visa-post study stream for Masters by coursework graduates from 2 years to 3 years;
  • temporarily increasing the visa duration for the 485 visa- graduate work stream from 18 months to 2 years;
  • the temporary relaxation of the work limitation for student visa holders to enable student visa holders to work full-time (provided they can balance their study and work commitments);
  • the temporary relaxation of the 6 month work limitation for working holiday visa holders from 19 January 2022-31 December 2022;
  • the 408 visa- pandemic stream being broadened to apply to all sectors, rather than only being targeted to the specified critical sectors of agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care, childcare and tourism and hospitality.

If you wish to book a consultation for us to assess your 485 eligibility and potential visa options after completing your studies, please contact us at ohl@owenhodge.com.au.

Disclaimer: Please note the information contained in this article is current as of 1 July 2022 and is subject to change. The information contained in this article is of a general nature only and does not constitute legal advice. Individuals should not act on the basis of the information contained in this article without first seeking formal immigration law advice based on their individual circumstances.

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