485 Visa

Subclass 485 visa provides recent graduates of Australian education institutions with full work rights for a period of between 18 months and 2 years. Often known simply as “TR” by international students undertaking study in Australia, it can be applied for once in one’s lifetime. This visa is comprised of 2 streams with varying requirements. After completing studies in Australia, 485 visa applicants must ensure they apply under the applicable stream.

Post-study work stream
  • For graduates who have completed study in Australia at a bachelor level or above as international students. Under this stream visas are usually granted for 2 years, during which time the holders enjoy full work rights in Australia.
Graduate work stream
  • For graduates who do not satisfy the requirements of the post-study work stream. Applicants must provide a skills assessment which are specific to temporary graduate visas, and the field of the complete studies must relate to specified occupations. In this stream visas are issued for up to 18 months, during which the holders enjoy unrestricted work rights.

Common Criteria

The following requirements are applicable to all graduate visa, subclass 485, applications, irrespective of streams. These requirements include:
  • Be under 50 years of age;
  • Not have held Subclass 476 or Subclass 485 visas previously;
  • Satisfy English language requirements;
  • Satisfy the Australian study requirement;
  • Lodge applications within 6 months of course completion; and
  • Submit applications prior to reaching the quota for Subclass 485 visas in the given financial year.

English Requirements

In order to qualify for a Subclass 485 visa, the applicant must provide evidence of his or her English proficiency to a specified standard unless he or she is a citizen of a specified country. If establishing English proficiency via a specified English test, the required scores vary across available testing regimes.

Australian Study Requirement

To meet the Australian study requirement for the graduate visa, subclass 485, the applicant must have completed either:
  • A single eligible qualification that requires at least 2 academic years study; or
  • More than 1 qualification that results in a total period longer than 2 academic years.
In completing the qualification, the actual study period must be no less than 16 calendar months and registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). Form more information on how these periods are calculated, please refer to our blog – Two (2) qualifications completed concurrently – each being of 78 weeks (below 92 academic weeks)

In completing the qualification, the actual study period must be no less than 16 calendar months and registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). 

For guidance on calculation of 2 tertiary qualifications being concurrently completed within a period less than 92 academic weeks, please refer to our blog – Two (2) qualifications completed concurrently – each being of 78 weeks (below 92 academic weeks)

Criteria - Post Study Work Stream

The applicant must not have held a student visa applied for before 5 November 2011, and hold a specified qualification or qualifications which are at least Level 7 under the Australian Qualification Framework, such as:
  • Bachelor Degree
  • Bachelor (Honours) Degree
  • Masters by Coursework Degree
  • Masters by Research Degree
  • Masters (Extended) Degree
  • Doctoral Degree

Criteria - Graduate Work Stream

To qualify for this stream, the applicant must:
  • Nominate a specified occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL);
  • Have a degree, diploma or trade qualification closely related to the nominated occupation; and
  • Be assessed by a relevant assessing authority as having suitable skills.

Skills Assessment

For each eligible occupation, a corresponding body is tasked with assessing suitability. This is known as a “Skills Assessment,” with each assessor having their own procedures and prerequisites. Skills assessments for Subclass 485 visas are distinct from those used in skilled or employer sponsored visas.

A positive skills assessment outcome is not required at the time of application, but evidence of having applied for said skills assessment is. Visa grant with nevertheless be contingent on the success of your sills assessment.

Applicable Public Interest Criteria

4001, 4002, 4003, 4004, 4005, 4010, 4020, 4021, 4019 (if applicable).

Applicable Special Return Criteria

5001, 5002 and 5010


If you are applying from outside Australia, the date of first entry must be specified in the grant and the following condition may be imposed:

8515: The holder of the visa must not marry or enter into a de facto relationship before entering Australia.

Application Charges

Base application charge: $1,650
Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is at least 18: $825
Additional applicant charge for an applicant who is less than 18: $415

Case Studies - Nominating a wrong occupation

If you nominate the wrong occupation in your subclass 485 visa application, it will likely be very difficult to remedy. However, there are a few circumstances in which such an error might occur. When considering this question, the explanation for the mistake is relevant. Other relevant factors may include the degree of differentiation between the occupation in question and the applicant’s qualifications and experience, the skills assessment sought, and the relevant assessing authority: obiter comments by Justice Cameron in KC v MIAC [2013] FCCA 296 at [17].

If the mistake was clerical or typographical, you could argue that the nominated occupation was other than as specified in the application form: Pavuluri v MIBP [2014] FCA 502 at [49]. However, there is no guarantee that this argument would succeed. It is not necessarily enough that the applicant ‘made a mistake’ as a result of incorrect advice or lack thereof when completing the form: Chen v MIAC [2011] FMCA 859; and Pavuluri v MIBP [2014] FCA 502.

Singh (Migration) [2019] AATA 5586

The Tribunal affirmed the decision of the Department not to grant the applicant a Subclass 485 visa.

The applicant applied for a Subclass 485 (temporary graduate) visa in the nominated occupation of Life Mechanic, accompanied by evidence that he had applied for a skills assessment. He then provided a copy of a skills assessment for the occupation of Electrical Engineering Technician. He claimed that he relied on the professional service of a migration agent who incorrectly specified the occupation of Life Mechanic, rather than Electrical Engineering Technician. On the evidence, the Tribunal was not satisfied that he simply nominated the wrong occupation. He should have nominated the occupation for which he received a successful skills assessment, after the failure of the skills assessment in relation to the occupation nominated in his application for the visa.

Lao (Migration) [2019] AATA 5587

Lao applied for the Subclass 485 visa (temporary graduate visa) as an ICT Business Analyst. She had wanted to put her nominated occupation as ICT Sales Representative, however had specified ICT Business Analyst by mistake. She provided evidence that she had applied for a skills assessment for ICT Sales Representative on the same date she lodged her application. She also provided proof that she studied a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Marketing and was employed as an ICT Sales Representative. The Tribunal was satisfied that she intended to apply for ICT Sales

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