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An extra year visa for graduates from regional institutions 

Potts Lawyers > An extra year visa for graduates from regional institutions 

An extra year visa for graduates from regional institutions 

Study in a regional area and not Sydney, Brisbane, or Melbourne 

Are you (or someone you know) thinking about becoming an international student here in Australia? If so, because of changes to be implemented in November 2019, you should consider study in regional Australia and not in one of the major cities. 

Some student visa holders become eligible for a visa with unlimited work rights after they graduate. This is known as the Subclass 485 – Temporary Graduate visa. The Department of Home Affairs has announced that international students who graduate from regional campus of an institution with a higher education or postgraduate qualification, or from a registered university, will be eligible for an additional Temporary Graduate visa valid for an extra 12 months if they maintain residence in a regional area. The successful applicant will be required to remain in regional Australia while holding the second subclass 485 visa. 

Regional Australia will have the same definition as will be used for the new subclass 491, subclass 494, and subclass 191 visas. Subclass 491 and subclass 494 started from November 2019 and. Everywhere except Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth will meet the definition.  

International students will need to graduate from a regional academic provider and then live for at least two years in a regional area in order to meet the eligibility criteria for the extra year.  Because the change began in November 2019, second 485 visa applications cannot be lodged until 2021.  

Some current 485 visa holders may be able meet the eligibility criteria. 

The initiative is to provide an incentive for international students to select an education provider that is based outside metropolitan centres. 

How it works 

Currently a 3-year bachelor’s degree graduate from a regional university would be eligible for a 2-year Temporary Graduate visa in the Post-Study Work stream. After the change, when the initial 2-year period nears expiry they could apply for an additional year. Those graduating with a master’s degree by research would be eligible for 3-years plus 1, and a doctoral degree graduate would be eligible for 4-years plus 1.  

Those that are eligible for an 18-month Temporary Graduate visa in the Graduate Work stream would also become able to apply for an additional 12 months. 

The big winners 

Universities and education providers in capital cities such as Hobart, Canberra, Adelaide, Darwin, and Perth are likely to be the big winners of the updated legislation. Gold Coast based educational institutions in particular will especially be advantaged. The Gold Coast and Perth were both added to the definition of ‘regional’ just before the new provisions became operational. 

For more information about the subclass 485 – Temporary Graduate visa and these legislative amendments, contact Mr Craig DoRozario or Mr Tom Foran in our Immigration Law team. 

Next Steps

To obtain a free 20 minute consultation in relation to your immigration matter, please contact our office on (07) 5532 3133. Your immigration matter will be conducted by Craig DoRozario (MARN 1910298) and/or Tom Foran (MARN 1172414).

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