What to know about remaining in Australia beyond a student visa

For many individuals, receiving their first visa that entitles them to move to Australia won’t be the only time they seek a visa. While some will choose to depart Australia once their first visa has expired, many others will look to transition to another category.

One of the most important categories where this consideration might be required is for those who entered Australia on a student visa and are now looking to move into a graduate subclass after receiving their qualification.

To help, here are answers to three of the most common questions for individuals who find themselves in this position.

Does it matter what qualification has been sought in Australia

Anyone who has pursued a university qualification in Australia will be eligible to apply for a subclass 485 visa in order to remain in the country following their graduation. Within this subclass, there are two different subclasses which individuals can apply under – either the graduate stream or the post-study work stream.

Individuals should also be aware that they will be required to have graduated from their qualification before moving onto a 485 visa.

What is the difference between the two students streams

The two streams of the 485 visa program will depend on the qualification a person is pursuing. The post-study work stream is for those who have completed a higher education degree from an Australian education provider, regardless of their field of study.

This stream is only available to students who applied for, and were granted, their first student visa to Australia on or after 5 November 2011.

The graduate work stream, on the other hand, will only apply to individuals who have completed a qualification in an industry that is on the skilled occupation list. This also means that those studying diplomas and trade qualifications can qualify under this stream.

What other criteria will applicants need to meet

Eligibility for this program will also depend on a number of further issues that applicants will need to keep in mind. For example, they will need to have studied for two years in Australia, meet minimum English language proficiency standards and already hold an eligible student visa.


The Australian student visa is approved only if combined with an accredited course provided by a registered Australian Education Provider, College or University. The Student Visa is linked to the confirmation of enrolment (COE = Confirmation of Enrolment), which identifies the start and end date of the course.