Two Year Study Requirement for Skilled Migration

International students who complete a qualification or qualifications taking at least 2 years of study in Australia obtain extra points for skilled migration, and may be eligible for a Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 Visa.

Benefits of Study in Australia

The main advantages are as follows:

  • Extra Points: Students can receive extra points for their studies:
    • 5 points for meeting the 2 year study requirement
    • 5 additional points if they complete 2 years of study in a regional area
    • 5 additional points for completing a professional year in Australia
  • Graduate Temporary Visa: Students may be eligible to apply for a Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 visa. This visa can last between 18 months and 4 years depending on the type of qualification completed, has full work rights can enable students to accumulate further points for working in Australia.
  • Recognised Qualifications: Australian qualifications are more likely to be recognised for the purposes of skills assessment which is a requirement for applying for Skilled Migration.

Australian Study Requirement

The main requirements in meeting the 2 year “Australian Study Requirement” are as follows:

  • Type of Qualification: You must complete a degree, diploma or trade qualification. Masters, graduate diplomas and PhDs are considered degrees and so may be counted towards the 2 year study requirement.
  • CRICOS registration: The courses completed must be on the approved list of courses for international students (CRICOS). There can be issues if your course or educational institution is deregistered prior to completion of your studies.
  • Two Academic Years: this is defined as being at least 92 weeks according to the CRICOS registration of the courses.
  • 16 Month Duration: the course must take at least 16 months of study in Australia from the beginning of the course till completion.
  • English Medium: All instruction must be in English. There can be issues with this requirement in the case of translation/interpreting qualifications.
  • Compliance with Visa Conditions: Study must be in compliance with visa conditions to count towards the 2-year study requirement. This will not in general be an issue if you are studying in Australia on a student visa, but could be an issue if you are studying on a visa with restricted study rights.

Time Limit

Students looking at a Graduate Temporary Subclass 485 visa must apply within 6 months of completion of qualification. However, you should consider the following:

  • The completion date is the date you are notified of your final results, not your graduation date (which may be many months after you complete studies).
  • In most cases, your student visa will expire within a few weeks or months of completion of your studies. You will need to apply for a further visa before your student visa expires and this in practice is a tighter deadline.
  • You can claim points for Australian study even if it has been more than 6 months from the date you completed your studies.
Recognised Prior Learning (RPL)

If an education provider recognises prior learning undertaken overseas, the time spent studying the RPL or the length of course registration cannot be used to satisfy the Australian Study requirement.

PSW Stream- closely related examples

Circumstances of a qualification not being closely related to the nominated occupation include where:

  • the qualification is not related to the nominated skilled occupation. For example, an applicant’s nominated occupation is Registered Nurse but they satisfied the Australian study requirement on the basis of having completed a Bachelor of Commerce or an applicant’s nominated occupation is trade where they have satisfied the Australian study requirement via a business type qualification..
  • *There could be some exceptions to this rules, for example, a Child Care Centre Manager as they are running the child care business in addition to caring for children.
  • the level at which the skills obtained in their prior study are inconsistent with the level at which the applicant is skilled to work.

Example of where skill levels obtained in prior study are not closely related to the nominated occupation include where:

  • the applicant met the Australian study requirement on the basis of having completed a Certificate III in Furniture Making and a Master of Information Technology. Although basic IT skills are generally applicable to most occupations, the high level skills gained by completing a Master course are inconsistent with the skills that would be useful on a day to day basis as an entry level tradesperson (for a nominated skilled occupation of Carpenter and Joiner).
  • the applicant met the Australian study requirement on the basis of having completed a Master of Professional Accounting and a Bachelor of Arts (specialisation French Studies and International Business) and has nominated his or her occupation to be an accountant. Whilst being multilingual is a benefit for the applicant when job seeking, it is not an objective requirement of the role of an accountant.
  • the applicant met the Australian study requirement on the basis of having a Certificate III in Carpentry completed one year prior and later studied a Diploma of Business and completed it within 6 months of lodgement. They nominate ‘carpenter’ for their nominated occupation and use their Certificate III in Carpentry to satisfy the skills requirement.  Their skills assessment does not give recognition to their business qualifications. As the Diploma of Business does not assist the applicant to obtain an entry level Carpenter position, it cannot be considered as ‘closely related’ to the nominated occupation.
  • Applicants who undertake an enabling course or bridging programs as a prerequisite to commencing their degree, diploma or trade qualification cannot count that course or program towards meeting the Australian study requirement. This includes non-award courses and ELICOS courses studied prior to undertaking a diploma or a degree.

The following are examples of acceptable combinations of study and nominated occupation:

  • an applicant who nominates Biomedical Engineer as their skilled occupation and has completed a Bachelor and Master of Engineering in Australia
  • an applicant who nominates Construction Project Manager as their skilled occupation and has completed an Advanced Diploma of Building and Construction in Australia
  • an applicant who nominates Automotive Electrician as their skilled occupation who has completed a Certificate III in Automotive (Electrical) and a Certificate IV in Automotive Technology in Australia
  • an applicant who nominates Airconditioning and Mechanical Services Plumber as their skilled occupation who has completed a Certificate III in Plumbing and a Diploma of Plumbing and Services in Australia.
Skills Assessment for an Overseas Qualification

A positive skills assessment undertaken by a relevant assessing body can be provided for the Graduate Work Stream regardless of whether the qualification was completed in Australia or overseas. The applicant is still required to separately fulfil the Australian Study requirement in a closely related field of study to their nominated occupation.

25 November 2023 update and 485 visas

From 25 November 2023, online study requirements reverted to pre-COVID settings. However, online study undertaken during the COVID concession period (1 February 2020 to 25 November 2023) will continue to count towards the Australian Study Requirement (ASR).

As all students were required to return to in-person study in July 2023 by TEQSA, the tertiary education regulator, we anticipate that this position should not disadvantage any students, but also provide a clear end date to the announcement of the previous government made in November 2021.

From 25 November 2023, the subclass 485 can now be granted no matter the location of the applicant at the time of grant.

VisaEnvoy’s Expertise

VisaEnvoy Immigration has had a significant amount of expertise in assisting international students with difficult issues in applying for their permanent residence after completion of studies. We can assist in choosing the best application pathway for you, ensuring that you meet the 2 year study requirement and that your application is lodged on time even if there is a tight deadline.