Potential visa options that student visa holders have once they have completed Australian studies – temporary graduate visa
Among other visa options, subclass 485 Temporary Graduate Visa is one option a student who is completing their studies might have in Australia.
The SC485 initially had only one stream.
Any student completing two years of studies (92 weeks) that will award a degree, diploma or trade qualification within the last six months was eligible for an eighteen month visa. The visa applicant had to nominate an occupation on the relevant occupation list and then obtain a positive skills assessment for the SC485 visa purpose.
In 2013 March, the government introduced a two stream SC 485 visa which comprises of:
Graduate Work Stream; and
Post-Study Work Stream
GRADUATE WORK STREAM
This stream is parallel with the initially introduced SC485 visa.
POST-STUDY WORK STREAM
The important differences in this stream is that the applicant:
Is required to have applied for their first student visa after 5 November, 2011;
Does not have to nominate an occupation;
Does not have to obtain a skills assessment from an assessment body; and
Leads to the grant of a SC485 visa that will either have two years (for bachelor or Master by course work qualification), three years (Master qualification in research) or four years (Doctoral qualification) depending on the studies completed in Australia;
In addition to satisfying the two year Australian study requirement, the applicant needs to have completed one of the following qualifications:
Bachelor (Honors) Degree;
Masters by Coursework Degree;
Masters (Extended) Degree and/or;
It is important that the applicant’s qualification must have been completed as a result of undertaking study at Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) level 7 or above.
Three years of study at the Bachelor degree level (AQF 7) resulting in completion of a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts.
Two years of study in a Master by Coursework (AQF 9) course resulting in completion of a Master in Computer Programming.
Six months of study of a Graduate Diploma/Certificate in Electrical Engineering (AQF 8), from which the credits are granted towards a further year of study in a Master by Research course, CRICOS registered for 92 weeks and resulting in completion of a Master of Engineering qualification (AQF 9) that satisfies the Australian study requirement:
Although the Graduate Diploma is not an eligible qualification for the Post-Study Work stream, as it is closely related to the Master of Engineering and the completed units are recognized by the education provider as eligible for credit towards the Master degree, this course of study is acceptable. For example, units totaling 6 months from the Graduate Diploma were recognized by the education provider, followed by 12 months of the Master course, the applicant was able to satisfy the Australian study requirement as the Master course was registered for two academic years and the applicant spent a minimum of 16 calendar months studying.
One year of a Master by coursework (AQF 9) in Architecture followed by another year of Master by research (AQF 9) in Business Administration:
Two unrelated Master courses that are completed when study is undertaken for at least two academic years (as required by the Australian study requirement) is acceptable.
Applicants who undertake a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma course which articulates into, or is nested in, a Bachelor or Master’s Degree, are eligible provided they ultimately complete an eligible qualification.
Two years of a Master Degree followed by a Graduate Certificate or a Graduate Diploma:
The student would have to meet the Australian study requirement using the Master Degree only. If the Master Degree was completed within six months prior to application for the SC485 visa, this qualification could be used to meet the Australian study requirement.
An applicant completing the following qualifications:
One semester of Diploma of Commerce program;
A two year Associate Degree in Commerce and Business;
One year of Bachelor of Commerce.
The reason is that the applicant’s two year qualification is not at AQF level 7 or above (Diploma is AQF level 5 & Associate Degree is AQF Level 6).
HOW TO AVOID SC485 REFUSAL?
In deciding to complete Australian studies, it is important to understand the requirements under the Post-Study-Work Stream and structure the studies so as to satisfy the relevant requirements.
If someone has already completed Australian studies and does not satisfy the requirements under the Post-Study work stream, they can continue to study to satisfy the requirements.
If the applicant does not satisfy the requirements under the Post-Study Work stream, then they need to consider lodging an application under the Graduate Work Stream, if their occupation is on the relevant occupation list and thy can obtain a positive skills assessment from the relevant assessment body.
Due to recent immigration policy changes, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is refusing a number of applications lodged under the Post-Study Work Stream as a result of the applicants not fulfilling studies at AQF level 7 or above. It is always advisable to obtain proper legal advice before someone lodges a visa application as it might be costly to get a refusal and go through the review application process.
(LL.B., LL.M., LL.M. (Hons))
Solicitor/NSW, Attorney-at-Law, Sri Lanka
Registered Migration Agent (MARN: 0427978)