Last updated 5 September 2016

There are a number of temporary visas that may be available for those who wish to study in Australia. These are found in class TU. Visas are available in relation to school study (subclass 571), vocational education and training (subclass 572), higher education (subclass 573) and postgraduate research (subclass 574) where specific criteria are met. Costs associated with student visas are high. The law in this area can be quite complex and is subject to frequent change. Migration advice is recommended.

Post study options

On graduation, students may meet criteria for temporary or permanent skilled visas. Some visa categories are specifically tailored towards students on graduation. In particular, the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa allows overseas students who do not meet the points test for a permanent visa to remain in Australia for some time. An application must be lodged within six months of completing studies. This visa has a Graduate Work stream and a Post-study Work stream.

Graduate Work stream

This stream is for graduate international students. A visa in this stream is granted for 18 months. International students get 18 months to gain skilled work experience or improve their English language skills, which might then allow them to secure sufficient points for a general skilled migration visa or gain sponsorship by an Australian employer. Holders of this visa may lodge an expression of interest for a permanent visa at any time if they are able to meet the pass mark (currently 60 points) on the general skilled migration points test. They are then invited to apply under the SkillSelect system. This visa requires that overseas students:

  • are under 50 years of age
  • have, in the last six months, completed an eligible qualification(s) as a result of at least two years study in Australia and
  • have the skills and qualifications that meet the Australian standard for an occupation on the Skilled Occupations Lists.

Post-study Work stream

An applicant can apply for a visa in this stream if they applied, and were granted, their first student visa to Australia on or after 5 November 2011. For the purposes of applying for a subclass 485 visa under the Post-study Work stream, only study that results in the conferral of an eligible degree level qualification will be considered (e.g. Bachelors, Masters or Doctoral degree). To apply for this visa, the applicant must have met the two-year Australian study requirement in the past six months. The visa duration may be up to four years.

The subclass 476 Skilled—Recognised Graduate visa may provide a further temporary visa option to certain engineering graduates (for more information see the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website).