5 Things You need to Know about the new Temporary Graduate visa rules
Updated: Sep 22
It is no secret that overseas Students have endured great difficulties since Australia introduced Covid-19 travel restrictions in February 2020. Particularly affected are recent graduates intending to apply for their Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa.
Many fresh graduates who went overseas for a holiday before returning to Australia to apply for their Temporary Graduate visa, found themselves trapped offshore and ineligible to apply. The Australian Department of Home Affairs has finally made the necessary legislative changes to allow graduates to apply for, and be granted Subclass 485 visas from offshore, for a limited time.
A raft of amendments has been made to several visa subclasses, to help holders and applicants cope with the impact of the pandemic in the migration context.
The changes also ensure that graduates who missed their opportunity to apply for the Temporary Graduate visa due to Covid-19, will get a second chance. Here's what you need to know about these changes:
The Concession Period
This is the period during which the new arrangements for Temporary Graduate visas will be available. It commences on 20 February 2020 - the day the Australian Government first introduced travel restrictions due to Covid-19. The Concession Period is open ended and ongoing, until the Department of Home Affairs decides it is no longer required.
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Applicants (primary and secondary) who are outside Australia, may now apply for, and be granted a Subclass 485 visa during the Concession Period. This will allow those who are unable to return to Australia due to the travel restrictions be granted the visa, in anticipation of the easing of travel restrictions.
Holding a Student visa
One key requirement of Temporary Graduate visa applications is holding or having held a Student visa in the 6 months prior to lodging the application. Starting from 19 September 2020, this requirement only applies to applicants who are in Australia.
In other words, during the Concession Period, offshore applicants are not required to have held a Student visa in the 6 months prior to applying.
Australian Study Requirement
The Australian Study Requirement is another essential criterion of subclass 485 visas. Briefly, it means completing a course which took at least 2 academic years to complete, full time and in Australia.
Normally graduates have 6 months to apply for the Temporary Graduate visa after they complete their course. The changes extend this time frame to 12 months for applicants who were unable to return to Australia from 1 February to 19 September 2020.
Once granted, Subclass 485 visa period will commence on the date of first entry, so there will be no disadvantage caused to visa holders if the travel restrictions remain in place for a further period.
The Temporary Graduate visa changes follow a previous round of Student visa concessions. Both are aimed to relax visa requirements for international students who are affected by the pandemic.
These concessions represent the Australian Government's commitment to looking after international students and allowing the return of those affected by the travel restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so.
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