Understanding the 485 Visa: a complete guide for international students

Many international students studying in Australia have heard of the 485 visa but may be unaware of how they can apply.

The 485 visa enables international students to travel, work, study and prepare for future opportunities after they graduate.

Today AIBT will give you an in-depth look at the 485 visa and show where you can find all the official information to apply and reference for the future.

What most international students know about the 485 visa is that you need to study in Australia for two years, and after graduation you are eligible to apply, but many do not know that there are two different types of this visa. So, what’s the difference? Why is that important?

To start things off, let’s head over the Australian Government’s Home Affairs website, to find all the information we need.

First, we need to log in to the website at: https://immi.homeaffairs.gov.au/

Click on Visas and select Working in Australia

Click on Temporary Work Visas

On the next page, select Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) from the list of options.

Once on the 485 visa page, bookmark or save the following URL for future reference.


As you can see, the 485 visa falls into two streams:

  1. Graduate Work Stream graduate temporary work visa, and
  2. Post-Study Work Stream, (Commonly referred to as PSW Visa)

The official visa description states, the 485 visa is: ‘A temporary visa that allows international students to live, study and work after you have finished your studies.’  This is a short-term temporary visa for international students, which allows them to stay in Australia after graduation to travel, work or gain experience, study and prepare for future immigration opportunities.

It’s important to note that students who hold a valid 485 visa do not have work restrictions like the subclass 500 student visa and can therefore work for any length of time.  

Let’s go into more detail about the two streams of the 485 visa: 

  1. The Graduate Work Stream visa is applicable to international students who have completed a course(s) with an AQF (Australian Qualification Framework) level lower than an undergraduate degree in Australia, with the skills and qualifications required for a particular occupation.  The length of stay for this visa is 18 months, with exception to Hong Kong passport holders who can apply for a 5-year visa.  This visa is based around vocational skills in the Vocational Education and Training sector, also known as the VET sector.
  2. The Post Study Work (PSW) Visa applies to international students who have graduated from an Australian university and have earned a bachelor’s degree or above. PSW Visa applicants are not restricted by their field of study; but they must complete an undergraduate degree or higher. This visa allows students to stay in Australia between two and four years, depending on the level of their study qualification.

Today, we will be focusing on the Graduate Temporary Work Visa.  

Click on the Graduate Work Stream title and you can see eligibility requirements on the right: 


The basic requirements of the Graduate Work Stream Visa are you must:

  1. Be under 50 years of age;
  2. Hold an eligible Australian visa;
  3. Have held a valid student visa within the last six months prior to applying for a visa;
  4. Have a qualification relevant to an occupation on the skilled occupation list (SOL);
  5. Have applied for a career skills assessment;
  6. Provide adequate health insurance for all applicants at the time of the application;
  7. Provide proof that you have applied for an AFP check (Australian Federal Police);
  8. Provide evidence of the required level of English with the application.

These are the basic requirements for the application. Most students stop here and believe there are no other conditions, when, in fact, there more specific application conditions required.

At the top of the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) page, click on the ‘Eligibility’ tab.



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