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Subclass 485: Temporary Graduate Visa


Subclass 485 visa provides recent graduates of Australian tertiary courses with full work rights for a period of either 2 or 1.5 years. It can only be applied once in one’s lifetime. This visa is comprised of 2 streams which refer to:

  • Post-study work stream
    For graduates who studied and completed academic courses at a bachelor or higher level. Under this stream visas are usually granted for 2 years, during which 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 1.5 years, during which the holders enjoy unrestricted work rights.

Common Criteria

To satisfy the criteria that are commonly applicable to the Subclass 485 visas, irrespective of streams, the applicants must:

Be under 50 years of age;

  • Not have held Subclass 476 or Subclass 485 visas previously;
  • Have obtained a specified results in a specified English test, or hold a passport of a specified nation;
  • Satisfy the Australian study requirement;
  • Lodge applications within 6 months of course completion;

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. For further details, please refer to our blog – Subclass 485 English Requirements

Australian Study Requirement

To meet the Australian study requirement, 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).

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 for which had been applied before 5 November 2011, and hold a specified qualification or qualifications which are at least Level 7 under the Australian Qualification Framework, which include:

  • 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 skills suitable for the occupation.

Skills Assessment

For each eligible occupation, a corresponding quasi-government or industry body is tasked with assessing suitability of applicants for a particular group of occupations. This process of assessment is known as a “Skills Assessment.” Whilst each assessor has their own standards, procedures and prerequisites, skills assessments for the purposes of Subclass 485 visas are distinct from those applicable to other skilled and employer sponsored visas.

It is important to note that a positive outcome of the skills assessment is not required at the time of application, but evidence of having applied for said skills assessment is required. Visa grant with respect to the application ultimately hinges on the outcome of the skills assessment.

Applicable Public Interest Criteria

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

Applicable Special Return Criteria

5001, 5002 and 5010

Conditions

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

In short, inserting a wrong occupation in a visa application would be very difficult to be remedied, even if it was a mistake. Nevertheless, it may be possible to find as a matter of fact, that the occupation specified in the application form was not the nominated occupation. That said however, given that nominating an occupation is a requirement of a valid visa application, and considering the terms of the application form (‘What is your nominated occupation?’), there would be few circumstances in which such an error might occur. When considering this question, the applicant’s explanation for the mistake would be relevant. Other relevant factors may include the match (or mismatch) between the occupations in question and the applicant’s qualifications and experience, the skills assessment sought, and the relevant assessing authority specified on the application form: obiter comments by Justice Cameron in KC v MIAC [2013] FCCA 296 at [17].

For example, if the mistake was in the nature of a clerical or typographical error, 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. Furthermore, it may not necessarily be enough that the applicant ‘made a mistake’ as a result of incorrect advice or lack of legal advice 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. It was accompanied by evidence that he had applied for a skills assessment to the relevant assessing authority. He did not provide a skills assessment to the Department for Lift Mechanic, but a copy of a skills assessment in which he had been successfully assessed for the occupation of Electrical Engineering Technician. He claimed that  he relied on the professional service of a migration agent who had prepared all the documents and nominated the occupation of Life Mechanic, when he should have nominated Electrical Engineering Technician. The Tribunal considered that the applicant might be dissatisfied with the service provided by the migration agent, however there were other avenues open to him for complaint. 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

The Tribunal remitted the application for a Subclass 485 visa for reconsideration, with the direction that the applicant met the criteria in contention.

The applicant applied for a Subclass 485 (temporary graduate) visa in the nominated occupation of ICT Business Analyst. At the hearing, she stated that she had made an error in her application. She had wanted to put her nominated occupation as ICT Sales Representative, however due to a clerical error she had inadvertently hit ICT Business Analyst. She said that as the occupations in the drop down box online were one after the other, both starting with ICT, it was a clerical error. 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. Given the strong evidence in relation to her intentions, the Tribunal was satisfied that she intended to apply for ICT Sales Representative and not ICT Business Analyst.