Top 6 tips for temporary graduate student visa (subclass 485)

485 visa

By now, you will have completed your studies in Australia and your student visa will expire soon. This means that if you wish to extend your stay in Australia, you have to plan and act now!

The Graduate Temporary Student Visa (subclass 485) (commonly known as the “485 visa”) is a great option for the graduate students to further stay in Australia and take this as a stepping stone to improve the eligibility to obtain a permanent visa.

The application process is not as easy as just filling in the form. There are many pitfalls if you are not familiar with the Laws and policy. FortuneChance is here to back with you and therefore we have prepared several tips for you.

Tip 1: Date of lodging your 485 visa application is critical

In order to lodge a valid application, you should lodge a complete application within six months of your course completion date.

Some students may mix it up with ‘the date of award or conferral’ on your graduate certificate. Unfortunately, this information is irrelevant. The completion date refers to the date you are notified that all your academic course requirements were met. Hence, this is the date that you are notified your final exams results. This may be shown on your academic report statement or transcript.

Tip 2:     Choose your visa stream carefully

There are two streams available for 485 visa depends on your qualification completed, namely the Post-Study Work Stream (PSWS) or the Graduate Work Stream (GWS).

PSWS stream is for students who have completed at least a Bachelor degree level qualification and applied for their first visa on or after 5 November 2011. This stream is generally more favourable as it offers a longer period of stay and no skill assessment is required.  

GWS stream is for students who have completed an eligible qualification that is closely related to an occupation on the Medium to Long-term Stratgic Skills List (MLTSSL). Students applied for this stream are required to provide evidence to show that they have applied to a relevant assessing authority for a skills assessment in their nominated occupation. The students should have a positive result of their skill assessment before the decision was made on granting the 485 visa.  

You should apply for the correct stream as you cannot change the stream  once you have  lodged your application.

For details features and requirement of the two different streams, you may refer to our International graduates  page.

Tip 3:     Allow some buffer time for your English test

You should make sure that you have overall Competent English (IELTS overall 6 with no less than 5 in any band or equivalent test) before lodging the visa unless you are the passports holders of the UK, Ireland, the USA, Canada or New Zealand. Please note that for application of 485 visa purpose, the validity of English result is 3 years from the date of the test.

If you have not done one, please book it now. The seat for every exam are limited and tend to be very competitive towards the expiry date of the student visas in March. You should also allow buffer time in case you need to retake another one before the expiry of your student visa.

Tip 4:     Arrange for Australian National Police (ANP) Check

The Law not only requires the main applicant, but also each of the secondary applicant aged 16 or above to apply for an ANP clearance. You should also note that no other state or territory police checks will not be accepted.  

The validity of the ANP check is 12 months immediately before the day of the application was made.  Students should at least provide the receipt number in the visa application as an evidence of having applied for the ANP clearance. 

Tip 5:     Get the correct type of health insurance cover 

You should provide evidence to show that you have adequate arrangement for health insurance. Evidence includes:

At the time of your application of 485 visa, you must show that you have a valid Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) if you are holding a student visa. 

During the process of applying 485 visa and once your student visa expires, you should have Overseas Visitor Health Cover (OVHC). 

After you have been granted 485 visa, you have to maintain an adequate level of the health cover. Failure to do so may result in cancellation of the visa.

Tip 6:     Make good use for your 485 visa 

You should well plan how to make good use of the extended period of stay in Australia as the 485 visa is a privilege for the international students and you can only apply for this visa once.

Here are some examples that graduates can do to improve their skill points if they intend to apply for Skilled migration.

  1. Sign up a professional year programme (PYP)

    Graduates of Accounting, IT and Engineering can get extra five points when they applied for skilled migration. PYP is a programme combining formal learning and workplace practice opportunity for the international graduates of these three fields.  

  2. Join an English language preparation class
    Graduates may consider spending time and effort to brush up their English language proficiency. Students who can achieve 7’s for all sections in IELTS tests (or equivalent tests) can get an extra 10 points, while if they can achieve 8’s for all sections in IELTS test (or equivalent tests) can get an extra 20 points. 

  3.  Accumulate Australian working experience that is related to your occupation
    You may gain extra points if you have Australian working experience for more than 1 year. During your stay, try to explore different states, territories and even their regional areas. If you get a job offer in regional Australia, you may have higher chances to be nominated by the state/territory government.


I am sure that you are now know more about the graduate visa. It is far more complicated that you expected. We are strongly encouraged students who are in doubt, should seek professional advice from a registered migration agent.

What FortuneChance can help:

We can advise you on every step in preparing the necessary evidence for your 485 visa application and help you to lodge the visa application.

We can also provide further advice you on how to make good use of your 485 visa in order to maximise your points for getting an invitation for skilled migration

Please do not hesitate to send email to us for a free consultation session with our registered migration professionals.

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