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Temporary Graduate Visa Program in Aus: Significant changes

Indian nationals, as per the Australian Indian Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA), will have specific stay periods tailored to their qualifications.

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The Australian Government has proposed significant changes to its Temporary Graduate visa program, scheduled to take effect from July 1, 2024. These changes, detailed in the Migration Strategy, are designed to simplify and streamline the visa pathways for international graduates who wish to stay in Australia after their studies. However, these changes are subject to the successful passage of legislative reforms.

Graduate Work Stream Renamed

One of the critical revisions involves rebranding the Graduate Work stream to the Post-Vocational Education Work stream. Under this new framework, applicants must hold an associate degree, diploma, or trade qualification closely aligned with occupations listed on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). Additionally, the maximum age limit for applicants will be reduced to 35 years, except for holders of Hong Kong and British National Overseas passports, who may apply up to the age of 50. Individuals with degree-level qualifications will now be directed to the Post-Higher Education Work stream.

Post-Study Work Stream to Be Renamed

Similarly, the Post-Study Work stream will change its name to the Post-Higher Education Work stream. Applicants under this stream must have completed a bachelor’smaster’s, or doctoral degree, with revised stay periods based on their level of study. While the ‘select degree’ two-year extension will be discontinued, the new stay periods vary from up to two years for bachelor’s degrees to up to three years for master’s and doctoral degrees.

Indian nationals, as per the Australian Indian – Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA), will have specific stay periods tailored to their qualifications.

No Second Post-Study Work Stream

Furthermore, the Second Post-Study Work stream will be rebranded as the Second Post-Higher Education Work stream with no additional changes. However, the Replacement stream will be discontinued entirely as part of the overhaul.

These proposed changes represent a significant shift in Australia’s approach to temporary graduate visas, with the aim of aligning visa pathways more closely with educational qualifications and occupational demand. While these changes provide clarity and structure, they may also limit the options available to certain groups of international graduates, potentially affecting their career plans in Australia.

These reforms are part of the Australian Government’s ongoing efforts to improve the temporary graduate visa program, ensuring it remains adaptable to the changing needs of the labour market and educational sector. As the Government progresses with these proposals, stakeholders are eager for more information and are preparing for the potential impact on international students and graduates who are planning to establish their careers in Australia.

Post-Study Work stream

The ‘select degree’ 2-year extension will cease.

Stay periods will change to the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree (including honours) – up to 2 years
  • Masters (coursework and extended) – up to 2 years
  • Masters (research) and doctoral degree (PhD) – up to 3 years.

Hong Kong and British National Overseas passport holders may be able to stay for up to 5 years.

Stay periods for Indian nationals, as agreed in the Australian Indian – Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA), remain as follows:

  • Bachelor’s degree (including honours) – up to 2 years
  • Bachelor’s degree (with first-class honours in STEM, including ICT) – up to 3 years
  • Masters (coursework extended and research) – up to 3 years
  • Doctoral degrees (PhD) – up to 4 years.

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