Australian university graduates can now apply for the Post-Study Work Visa

The Australian government has announced this week that more international students will be eligible for the Post-Study work visa as part of the Australian government's response to the Knight Review of the student visa program.

Australian Immigration announced on November 30 the new Post-Study work visa program would be available for Bachelor or higher degree graduates starting in 2013, according to a joint press release from Chris Evans, Australian Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations and Chris Bowen, Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

"These changes bring Australia into line with arrangements in other countries and enable education providers to offer a more competitive package to international students who are seeking good quality and long-term study in Australia, regardless of their field of interest,"said Evans.

Currently, more than 80 percent of foreign students enrolled at the Bachelor degree level or above use the Temporary Skilled Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) to stay in Australia after they graduate. Additionally, some students who obtain qualifications other than a Bachelor degree or above can use the Temporary Skilled Graduate Visa, which provides an 18-month stay in Australia to study or work but requires applicants meet the qualifications for an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List.

The new arrangements will extend the visa stay period to two years, while Masters by research or PhD students will be eligible for stays of three and four years respectively.

Specific Criteria

In order to be eligible for the Post-Study Work visa, graduates must meet the following criteria:
  • Graduates must have completed a Bachelor degree or higher level course in Australia in the last six months.
  • Graduates must complete their degrees after at least two academic years' study in Australia
  • Applicants must demonstrate competent English language abilities
The new Post-Study Work Visa arrangements will be available for all students studying for a Bachelor degree or higher who make their student visa applications after 5 November 2011. These students will begin to graduate from mid-2013 onwards, so the post-study work visa arrangements are designed to be ready for them in 2013.

For students who obtain qualifications other than a Bachelor degree or above, like a vocational degree, the existing Temporary Skilled Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) will still be available. This visa allows graduates to stay up to 18 months for those who have occupations on the Skilled Occupation List.

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