What to know about remaining in Australia beyond a student visa

Publish Date: Apr 08, 2015

For many individuals, receiving their first visa that entitles them to move to Australia won't be the only time they seek a visa. While some will choose to emigrate once their first visa has expired, many others will look to transition to another category or will apply for citizenship once a visa has expired.

One of the most important categories where this consideration might be required is for those who entered Australia on a student visa and are now looking to move into a graduate subclass after receiving their qualification.

To help, here are answers to three of the most common questions for individuals who find themselves in this position.

1) Does it matter what qualification has been sought in Australia?

Anyone who has pursued a university qualification in Australia will be eligible to apply for a subclass 485 visa in order to remain in the country following their graduation. Within this subclass, there are two different subclasses which individuals can apply under - either the graduate stream or the post-study work stream.

Individuals should also be aware that they will be required to have graduated from their qualification before moving into a different visa category.

2) What is the difference between the two streams?

The two streams of the 485 visa program will depend on the qualification a person is pursuing. The post-study work stream requires applicants to pursue a relevant tertiary qualification. For this category, it isn't important which course of study has been pursued, only that the qualification has been granted in Australia.

The graduate work stream, on the other hand, will only apply to individuals who have completed a qualification in an industry that is on the skilled occupation list. This also means that those studying diplomas and trade qualifications can qualify under this stream. This stream is only available to students who applied for, and were granted, their first student visa to Australia on or after 5 November 2011.

3) What other criteria will applicants need to meet?

Eligibility for this program will also depend on a number of further issues that applicants will need to keep in mind. For example, they will need to have studied for two years in Australia, meet minimum English language proficiency standards and already hold an eligible student visa.

Individuals must also meet the minimum age requirements for the 485 visa program - which currently requires that applicants be under the age of 50. 

For more information on transitioning from one visa to another, make sure to contact a specialised immigration lawyer. They will be able to advise on whether you meet the conditions required to transition to another visa category based on your unique situation.

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