Likely Changes to Temporary Graduate Visa for International Students Studying Online

Temporary 485 Graduate Visa changes 2024

As part of Australia’s new migration strategy, there will be considerable change to the 485 visas as they become more targeted towards international graduates with skills required by Australian employers, including:

  • reducing the length of stay for these international graduates
  • preventing holders of the new graduate visas from moving back onto student visas
  • preventing the stay of International graduates without skills in demand from remaining in Australia.
  • reducing the age eligibility from 50 to 35 years of age
  • increased English language levels for temporary graduate visas

Department of Home Affairs have temporarily removed the requirements for applicants for a Subclass 485 visa in the Graduate Work Stream to nominate an eligible skilled occupation and to obtain a skills assessment for applications made between 1 July 2022 and 30 June 2023 inclusive.

This brings in the Graduate Work Stream in line with the Post Study Work Stream in this respects.

These amendments would encourage a broader range of graduates with degree, diploma and trade qualifications that satisfy the Australian study requirement but are not currently eligible for the Subclass 485 visa in the Graduate Work stream as their related occupations are not included in the current list of specified eligible occupations, to live and work in Australia for a further temporary period.

Subclass 485 visa applicants who were studying offshore on an Australian visa authorising the applicant to study and not permitted to travel to Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic will be allowed an unlimited amount of offshore online study to count towards the Australian study requirement. This flexibility will remain in place as long as COVID-19 impacts remain.


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many international students are forced to remain overseas and study online. While there were plans put in place by universities and state governments to bring international students back to Australia, the spike in COVID-19 cases in Victoria has jeopardised the plans. This has caused Australia’s higher education to lose its competitiveness with its rivals such as Britain and Canada.


Hence, the Morrison government is expected to introduce new changes to the Temporary Graduate visa Subclass 485. Under the recent proposal being considered by the Morrison government, international students may be granted work rights after graduating despite studying online in their home countries.

Currently, one of the SC 485 eligibility criteria is that the international student must meet the Australian Study Requirement:

  • your course was a CRICOS-registered course
  • you successfully completed all course requirements
  • your study was in English
  • you completed your course as a result of at least two academic years (92 weeks) study
  • you were physically in Australia for at least 16 calendar months to complete the study
  • you held an Australian study visa that allowed you to study

& who have recently graduated with skills and qualifications that are relevant to specific occupations in Australia needs. It lets you live, study and work in Australia temporarily.

Under the new proposal, international students who remained overseas but enrolled at an Australia university may be eligible for a SC 485 visa.

This news is welcome by many. Thousands of international students who are affected by COVID-19 will benefit from this change. Universities are also delighted as universities estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic would cause around $16 billion drop in revenue over the next three years if international students cannot return or come to Australia to study.

This change to the SC 485 is expected be announced by the government in the coming weeks.

The government is also considering reducing or removing visa renewal fees for international students whose visas are expiring but cannot return home due to COVID-19.

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