*Article content has been updated. Please see here for current information on post-study work visas.
The Knight Review of Australia’s student visa program has led to a number of changes that will benefit international students. One of the most exciting changes is the proposed introduction of a post-study work visa, which will give students who graduate from Australian degrees with the opportunity to enrich their studies by gaining work experience in Australia.
The post-study work visa provides a huge incentive for many people to consider studying in Australia. Here we will answer your questions about the visa with the latest information available from the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).
Will I be eligible for the post-study work visa?
- To be eligible, you will need to have graduated from an Australian bachelor degree, masters by coursework degree, masters by research degree or doctoral degree in the six months before applying for the visa. Students who graduate from courses below bachelor degree level are not eligible to apply for the post-study work visa.
- You will need to meet the Australian study requirement, meaning that your course of study must have been completed in Australia (in English) over a period of at least two academic years (92 weeks) and be registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).
- You will need to meet English language requirements (a minimum score of 6 in each component of the IELTS exam or equivalent score in another specified English language test), as well as health, good character and security requirements. You will also need to provide evidence that you have health insurance to cover the duration of the post-study work visa.
How long will the post-study work visa be valid?
- Students who are graduating from a bachelor degree or masters by coursework degree will be eligible for a two-year post-study work visa.
- Students who are graduating from a masters by research degree will be eligible for a three-year post-study work visa.
- Students who are graduating from a doctoral degree will be eligible for a four-year post study work visa.
Has the post-study work visa been approved and introduced?
The post-study work visa has been ‘proposed’ but has not yet been officially approved or introduced. While DIAC has proposed the introduction of the post-study visa and provided information about how it will function, the Governor-General needs to approve the arrangements before legislation can be put in place. A decision will be made in the near future (be sure to check Studies in Australia for updates), and more detailed information will be available once legislation is finalised.
When will the post-study work visa be available?
DIAC has proposed that the post-study work visa will be available for students who made their student visa applications after 5 November 2011, who will begin graduating in early 2013. As a result, DIAC aims to have the visa arrangements ready in 2013 for these graduating students. Remember that this is still subject to approval.
Is the post-study work visa linked to skilled migration?
The post-study work visa is designed to enable students to gain work experience in Australia before returning home and is not linked to Australia’s skilled migration program. This means that applicants do not need to nominate a skilled occupation on the Skilled Occupation List or complete a skills assessment.
What if I don’t qualify?
Students who do not qualify for the post-study work visa (including those who are graduating with a qualification below bachelor degree level and those who applied for their student visa before 5 November 2011) are eligible to apply for the current Temporary Skilled Graduate Visa (subclass 485), which allows them to remain in Australia and work for a period of up to 18 months after completing study.