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Skilled Graduate Visas Explained

A skilled Graduate Visa is designed to extend an applicant’s stay in Australia for a period of up to two years. On successful grant of subclass 485 visa an applicant is able to remain in Australia for a further two years on completion of their studies. Many use this time to gain further employment experience in order to qualify for another visa.

The type of graduate visa you apply for depends on the qualification you completed.

Graduate Work Stream

The Graduate Work stream is one of the streams which is open to graduates with an eligible qualification, including those from the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector, who graduate with skills and qualifications that relate to an occupation that is considered in demand in the Australian labour market on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).

Certain common criteria must be addressed in order for an application to be submitted, regardless of the stream, and must be “fully documented” in order to be assessed by the Department of Home Affairs.

Importantly, this stream of graduate subclass 485 application must have be accompanied by evidence the applicant has applied to a relevant assessing authority for an assessment of their skills in their nominated skilled occupation.

It is advisable to check with the skills assessment authority for the approximate length of time it will take to process a skills assessment application. There are a number of additional requirements that vary depending on the skills assessing body conducting the skills assessment including evidence of obtaining a character check.

Post Study Work Stream

The regulatory requirements are almost identical to the former stream. Lack of awareness of the subtle difference can be fatal to the application.

Under the Post Study Work Stream the visa lasts for two to four years, depending on the highest qualification you used to apply. For example, doctoral degree can secure a four-year visa.

Further good news includes that there is no associated skills assessment process with this stream, therefore the preparation time can be significantly reduced. Nonetheless, time of application criteria continue to apply, therefore it is important to obtain immigration advice and assistance where there is uncertainly relating to any of the requirements associated with this visa to avoid disappointment.


Applying for a skilled graduate visa is a complicated, document heavy process and can be a stressful experience. If you are thinking of applying for this visa, professional advice from a Registered Migration Agent is highly recommended.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein is of a general nature only and does not constitute immigration advice. For more detailed and case specific information or advice, please contact SCA Connect.

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