Changes to the Subclass 485 Regime

Migration Agency in Australia Immigration Agent Melbourne


With the post-COVID -19 recovery, the Department of Home Affairs has made new changes to the Subclass 485 applications. These welcomed modifications were primarily designed with international students in mind to provide them with more support as they stay back to study, live and work in Australia. 

These changes will benefit international students and graduates who could not enter Australia for study and have lost time on their 485 visas. In this blog, we will examine the critical changes that have been made to the regime and how they may affect your application. 

CHANGE 1 – Subclass 485 – Enlivening and Extension

The COVID-19 replacement stream replaces the initial Temporary Graduate visa for visa holders who could not stay in Australia for the entire period allowed by their previous Temporary Graduate visa. 

The Department will extend or enliven visas from 18 February 2022 till 30 September 2022The Department will automatically contact eligible visa holders and include family members in the original Temporary Graduate visa.

To be eligible for a Temporary Graduate visa extension:

  • visa holders must have held a Temporary Graduate visa on 15 December 2021
  • the current visa expires before 30 September 2022
  • the primary visa holder was in Australia at the time of the visa grant
  • the primary visa holder has been outside Australia for any period between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021 (inclusive), and the visa has not been cancelled since 15 December 2021
  • The holder has not been granted a further substantive visa since 15 December 2021.

To be eligible for visa enlivening:

  • visa holders must have held a Temporary Graduate visa that visa expired between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021 inclusive
  • the primary visa holder was in Australia at the time of the grant
  • the primary holder of the visa has been outside Australia for any period between 1 February 2020 and 14 December 2021, inclusive
  • The Department did not cancel the visa, and the visa holder has not been granted a further substantive visa.

CHANGE 2 – Subclass 485 – Replacement Stream

Applications for the COVID-19 Temporary Graduate replacement stream visa open on 1 July 2022. The Temporary Graduate replacement stream visa will give current and former visa holders impacted by COVID-19 travel restrictions the same length of stay as their original visa.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • currently hold, or have held a Temporary Graduate visa that expired on or after 1 February 2020; and
  • have been outside Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 15​ December 2021.

The visa costs AUD1,680 for the primary visa applicant and additional charges for each family member who applies for the visa with them.

Since successful applicants will be granted full validity, the entire visa application charge will apply.

CHANGE 3 – Second Post Study Visa

From 2021, Post Study 485 holders who have graduated from a regional educational institution and have lived in regional Australia on their first s485 visa will be eligible for a second 485 visa. Eligible second 485 visa holders must remain in a regional area for the duration of the new visa. 

How long will the visa be granted?

one-year post-study visa will be granted to applicants who:

  • Studied their Australian qualification anywhere other than Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, and who, 
  • While holding the first Graduate visa, lived only in areas outside those cities for at least two years before applying for the second visa.

two-year post-study visa is granted to applicants who:

  • studied their Australian qualification in a regional centre or another regional area, and
  • While holding the first Graduate, lived (worked or studied) only in a regional centre or another regional area for at least two years immediately before applying for the second visa.

Change 4 – Unlimited Working Hours

The Department has confirmed that International Students, and International Students who have applied for a Subclass 485 and is on a bridging visa, will have unlimited working rights. 

Change 5 – Increase of Visa Stay 

The Department has increased the length of stay for Subclass 485 – Post Study visa holders from two to three years. VET sector graduates have also been temporarily raised from 18 to 24 months.

Unfortunately, this does not translate to individuals already on a Subclass 485 visa. 

Change 6 – Subclass 485 – Graduate Visa – Skills Assessment and Nominated Occupation

The Department has also announced Temporary opportunities for Graduate Stream applicants to apply for a Subclass 485 visa without requiring occupations to be on the Skilled Occupation Lists and not requiring skills assessments.

Change 7 – Offshore Study

The Department has also introduced temporary measures for students and recent graduates to have time spent offshore studying online to be recognised towards qualifying for Temporary Graduate visas

We will continue to update you about further changes to Subclass 485 as they become available. 

If you have any further questions about your Subclass 485, contact us on +61 3 9654 8611

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