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  • Writer's picturePratibha Sharma

Second 485 visa for regional university graduates available from 20 January 2021

The announcement back in March 2019 that international graduates from regional universities would receive additional time on their Subclass 485 - Temporary Graduate visa is now enshrined in the form of a second 485 visa application available from 20 January 2021.

The amendments to the Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth) was registered over the weekend. Those who obtained their qualification and lived, worked and studied in a designated regional area for the last 2 years, among other things, will want to consider this visa to continue to do so for either a further one or two years.


Designated regional areas

The definition of a designated regional area in the Regulations will be amended to include two further definitions. These will be either a:

  • Designated city or major regional centre, or

  • Regional centre or other regional areas.

This is required as the duration of the second 485 visa, criteria for grant and the applicability of additional visa conditions if granted depends on which designated regional area the applicant has lived, studied, and worked.

This will enliven similar distinctions under the current instrument, which is likely to be replaced on 20 January 2021.

Lodging a second 485 visa

Key amendments to lodging a second 485 visa under the Post-Study stream includes:

  • The visa application charges being greatly reduced (just under 40 per cent of the first 485 visa application charges) to $650 for the primary applicant, $325 for any additional applicant who is at least 18 years old, and $165 for any additional applicant less than 18 years old.

  • Any second 485 visa applicant must be in Australia at the time of applying. The COVID-19 concessions that allow offshore applications will not apply.

  • Only holders of a 485 visa under the Post-Study stream can apply for a second 485 visa under the same stream. Any person who does not hold this visa and under this particular stream will not be able to lodge a valid visa application.


Second 485 visa criteria

Important amendments to the criteria for the grant include:

  • Allowing a person to only ever hold: one 485 visa under the Graduate Work stream, one 485 visa under the Post-Study stream, or a second 485 visa under the Post-Study stream if they meet the criteria for the second Post-Study stream. Previously, you could only ever hold one 485 visa as the primary visa holder. This continues but allows the second 485 visa only if those criteria were met, preventing the possibility of being granted two 485 visas under the Post-Study stream after completing two separate courses.

  • Evidence of English proficiency or the need to apply for an Australian Federal Police check is not required for a second 485 visa.

  • Splitting the major requirement into two “sub-streams”. For a further 2-year 485 visa, the applicant must have:

    • undertaken their study for the qualification that led to the grant of their first 485 visa, while living in a regional centre or other regional areas, and their study must have been undertaken at a campus located in a regional centre or other regional areas;

  • lived only in a regional centre or other regional areas for at least two years immediately before applying for the second 485 visa;

  • worked or studied in a regional centre or other regional areas if they have done either in that immediate 2-year period; and

  • declare as part of the visa application that they and any family members included in the application will live only in a regional centre or other regional areas, and are living in such a place at the time of decision.

  • If they cannot meet any of the above criteria, the “fallback” stream is that all the above was undertaken in a designated regional area, which is either a designated city or major regional centre, or a regional centre or other regional areas. This will grant them a 1-year additional 485 visa.

When a second 485 visa is granted, it will either add one or two years to the end of any existing 485 visas if still held or grant a period of one or two years if they hold any other visa.


Visa condition 8610

New visa condition 8610 requires the visa holder including any family members to live, work and study only in a part of Australia that is either a regional centre or other regional areas if granted a 2-year visa, or a designated regional area if granted a 1-year visa at the time the visa was granted.

While the purpose of this additional visa is to encourage international students to study in regional Australia on a student visa and to continue living in regional Australia on a 485 visa, it seems strange to exclude the Graduate Work stream, which is primarily the stream for those who studied a trade. This is particularly so if an international graduate works for an Australian business who may be inclined to nominate the graduate for a Subclass 482 – Temporary Skill Shortage visa.

The clear issue here is that a 485 visa under the Graduate stream is valid for 18 months, while the minimum work experience requirements for a 482 visa is 2 years. A further 485 visa for those studying trades would remedy this shortfall.


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