International students: Replacement visas for temporary graduate visa holders

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Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders who have been unable to travel to Australia as a result of COVID-19 international border restrictions will be able to apply for a replacement visa.

Finally, more clarity is beginning to ensue for international students stranded overseas. Clamouring for ways to return to Australia to resume their studies, this particular subclass of temporary visa holders have suffered months of intolerable uncertainty. Their careers on hold in the face of ambiguous messages – or indeed, no messages from the Government, some respite may now be visible.

Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs Alex Hawke said in a statement today, that current and former Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders whose visas expired on or after 1 February 2020 will now be allowed to re-apply for a new subclass 485 visa of the same duration as their original visa.

“This recognises the importance of international students in our community, as well as our workforce, and aligns with other visa concessions made as a result of COVID-19,” Minister Hawke said.

“We look forward to welcoming fully vaccinated Student and Temporary Graduate visa holders back into our communities from 1 December 2021.”

Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge said this announcement will give confidence to international students that they will have the opportunity to use their skills and qualifications in Australia.

“Australia’s border settings have been an important part of our health response to COVID-19, but we understand the impact that restrictions have had on current and former international students who remain overseas,” Minister Tudge said.

In normal circumstances, applicants are limited to just one initial subclass 485 visa in a lifetime and a further visa is only available on the basis of regional work and study.

There are about 30,000 Temporary Graduate visa holders who lost time in Australia due to travel restrictions, who will now have the opportunity to apply for another subclass 485 visa. Fully vaccinated Temporary Graduate visa holders outside Australia will be able to travel from 1 December 2021.

Those graduates whose visas have expired will be able to apply for a replacement visa from 1 July 2022.

There will also be other changes to Temporary Graduate visa settings to ensure Australia remains a competitive and attractive destination for international students.

  • The stay period on the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa for Masters by Coursework graduates, will increase permanently from two to three years, to match the stay period for Masters by Research graduates.
  • As a concession during the COVID-19 pandemic, the stay period on the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa Graduate Work stream, will increase from 18 to 24 months, and application requirements will be streamlined by removing the requirement for graduates to nominate an occupation from the skills occupation list.
  • These changes to Temporary Graduate visa stay periods will be implemented from 1 December 2021, and the removal of skilled occupation list requirements from 1 July 2022.

“Increasing the length of Temporary Graduate visas for Masters by Coursework and Vocational Education and Training (VET) graduates and expanding opportunities for VET graduates to apply for a Temporary Graduate visa will benefit our economy,” Minister Hawke said.

These changes will be implemented progressively from 1 December 2021 through to 1 July 2022.

More details on Department of Home Affairs shortly.


READ ALSO: Students returning under NSW pilot plan: “We’re looking like fools now.”



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