Major changes to the Temporary Graduate 485 visa

10th February 2021

Major changes to the Temporary Graduate 485 visa

Key changes to Australian Immigration Law were introduced on 20 January 2021, and two recent interpretations of this new law have caused confusion and concern for applicants of the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa, which allows international students to work in Australia after the completion of their studies.

1. Can a dependent apply as a primary applicant?

One of the interpretations was that the amendments to the law would limit the number of people who can apply for this visa due to the belief that applicants who had previously held a 485 visa as a dependent would not be able to apply for this visa as a primary applicant. This interpretation would have impacted any secondary applicant who completed studies or enrolled to study and was planning to lodge a 485 visa as the main applicant.

However, the Department of Home Affairs has clarified that the previous arrangement continues to apply for family members. This means that the secondary visa holder or dependent is not excluded from being eligible for another subclass 485 visa as a primary applicant.

2. Can applicants who transferred from a non-regional to a regional education institution before graduation apply for a second visa?

The second interpretation refers to the announcement that 485 visa holders would be eligible for a second visa if they had studied and then lived and worked in a regional area for two years. For many applicants, this created uncertainty as to whether or not they could apply for a second visa if they had completed part of their course in a regional area.

The Department has explained that the applicant must graduate from a regional educational institution in order to be eligible for another visa, however it is still unclear as to whether or not the applicant can apply if they undertook part of their course at a non-regional institution and transferred to a regional institution prior to graduating.

The Department has confirmed they will come back with further clarification about eligibility issues. Meanwhile, if you need support to navigate these new regulations or you have any concerns about applying for this visa, please get in touch with our team and we’ll find the best immigration option for you and your family.

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