The ultimate guide to Australian visas

Exploring your visa options can be an exciting yet overwhelming part of your Australian study or work journey – there are so many different visas, each with different conditions and restrictions, that it can become mega confusing to work out which one is the best fit for you. To help, we’ve broken down four visas of interest to both international students and skilled workers.  

Student Visa (subclass 500)

As the name suggests, this visa is open to international students who would like to study in Australia. You can participate in an authorised course of study, travel in and out of Australia and work up to 40 hours every fortnight once your studies have commenced. 

You can stay in Australia on a student visa for up to five years, and may be eligible for a Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485), or another suitable permit, after completing your studies. 

General information

  • The cost of this visa starts at AUD$575, with potential additional charges for documentation and exams
  • You must be aged six years of age or older to be eligible to apply 
  • You must be enrolled in a course of study and provide evidence of your enrolment via documentation such as a Confirmation of Evidence (CoE) 
  • You must provide evidence that you have enough money to fund the duration of your stay 
  • You must meet English language requirements, and provide evidence of obtaining the required scores by submitting your results from an approved English language test 
  • You must be covered by an approved Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) scheme for the duration of your stay 
  • You must meet health and character requirements. 

Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485)

This visa allows international students to live, study and work in Australia after the completion of their studies. It is available through two streams – Graduate Work, for students who have recently graduated with skills and qualifications that match Australia’s occupational needs, and Post-Study Work for those who have just graduated with a degree from an Australian institution. 

General information

  • The costs of both visa streams start at AUD$1,535
  • You must be under 50 years of age to apply for both visa streams 
  • You need to prove your English language proficiency by providing results from an approved English language test taken within the past three years 
  • You must hold appropriate health insurance for the duration of your stay 
  • You must meet health and character requirements 
  • You must not be in debt to the Australian Government.  

Graduate Work stream

  • You can stay in Australia for up to 18 months on this visa stream
  • You must hold a qualification from a CRICOS-registered course that is closely related to an occupation on the skilled occupation list 
  • You must have undergone an authorised assessment to prove that you have the skills suitable for an occupation on the skilled occupation list 
  • You need to have held a student visa in the past six months before submitting your application, and be the current holder of a bridging or substantive visa. 

Post-Study Work stream

  • You can work, live and study for between two and four years after the completion of your qualification 
  • You need to have held a student visa on or after November 2011 
  • You need to have been awarded a qualification from a CRICOS-registered course in the past six months 
  • You must hold an eligible qualification at bachelor degree level from an Australian education provider. 

Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189 - points-tested stream)

Skilled workers in occupations that are vital to the Australian economy are the perfect candidates for this visa. Workers must be invited to apply for this visa, but once granted it allows them to permanently work and live anywhere in Australia. 

People on a Skilled Independent Visa can work and study, sponsor eligible relatives for permanent residence and become an Australian citizen. 

General information

  • The costs of this visa begin at AUD$3,755, with additional charges applied to each sponsored relative 
  • You must be under 45 years of age at the time of application 
  • You need to first submit an expression of interest (EOI) before being invited to apply for this visa 
  • You must accrue a minimum of 65 points on the points test, with appropriate documentation to support your claims 
  • You must provide evidence that you are a competent level English speaker 
  • You must meet skill, health and character requirements. 

Skilled Regional (Provisional) Visa (subclass 489)

This visa gives skilled workers the opportunity to temporarily live, work and study in regional areas of Australia. It can lead onto the Permanent Skilled Regional Visa (subclass 887), which grants visa holders permanent residency. 

You can apply for this visa through one of three streams, with costs and conditions varying across each stream. 

Invited Pathway stream

  • Allows visa holders to live, work and study in a specific area of regional Australia for up to four years 
  • Requires you to be nominated for application by a state or territory agency 
  • Requires you to work in an occupation that is on the skilled occupations list 
  • Requires you to have undergone a suitable skills assessment for your occupation
  • Costs from AUD$3,755.  

Extended Stay stream

  • Allows you to stay in Australia for up to four years from the date you were granted your previous visa 
  • Requires you to live, work and study in specified regional areas of Australia 
  • Costs from AUD$335. 

Subsequent Entry stream

  • Is available to family members of someone who already holds this visa (or another specified temporary visa) 
  • Allows you to live, work and study in a regional area of Australia to the duration of your visa’s validity
  • Costs from AUD$3,755. 

Related blogs


Subscribe to our newsletter