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Skilled Graduate Visa Subclass 485

Skilled Graduate Visa Subclass 485 - Temporary Residency 

Since 1st September 2007 eligible applicants can apply for this visa subclass designed to give overseas students who have completed eligible study in Australia and who do not meet the requirements for a GSM permanent residency visa an opportunity to remain in Australia for up to 4 years (depending on the type of study completed) to gain the additional skills, English langugae ability or Work Experience they need.

  • Graduate Work stream – for international students who graduate with skills and qualifications that relate to an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL): Schedule 1. A visa in this stream is granted for 18 months.
  • Post-Study Work stream – for international students who graduate with an eligible qualification. 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. A visa in this stream can be granted for up to four years, depending on the qualification.


With additional points now available for Australian Work Experience/Professional Year, as well as increased points for Proficent English language ability, after a certain period in Australia on this visa subcalss applicants may be eligible to apply for an onshore GSM permanent residency visa.

The Graduate Skilled Visa will also assist former overseas students by allowing them to work and live in Australia, enhancing their cultural awareness and giving them greater exposure to the Australian labour market, thus allowing the possibility to organise employer sponsorship.

This visa subclass has no conditions restricting work or study.

Options for visa holders include, but are not limited to:

  • working
  • completing a professional year
  • studying to improve their English skills


  • travelling

A visa holder will be eligible to apply for GSM or an employer sponsored visa at any stage during the course of the visa.

There are no provisions to extend this visa.

To be eligible for a Skilled - Graduate (subclass 485) visa, applicants must:

  • hold an eligible student visa or have held an eligible student visa in the last 6 months;
  • have met the 2 year study requirement in the last 6 months;
  • have applied to have their skills assessed for their nominated skilled occupation; and
  • have competent English;

Changes to Skilled - Graduate (subclass 485) visa - effective 27 October 2008

Changes relating to the provision of evidence of English language ability for the Skilled - Graduate (subclass 485) visa are being introduced from 27 October 2008. People who have made an application for a Skilled - Graduate (subclass 485) visa before 27 October 2008 will not be affected by the changes.

People lodging an application for a Skilled - Graduate (subclass 485) on or after 27 October 2008 must provide evidence at the time they lodge their application that they have met the relevant English language standard. 

The standard for professionals, para-professionals and managerial occupations is ‘competent' English (a score of at least six (6) on each of the four (4) components of the International English Language Test Scheme (IELTS) test or equivalent standard in a specified test). 

For people who nominate an occupation in the Major Group IV in the Australian Standard Classification of Occupations, the standard is ‘vocational' English (a score of at least five (5) on each of the four (4) components of the IELTS test).

IELTS test results must be no more than two (2) years old at the time of application.

This is a departure from the current regulations which allow an applicant to apply having only booked an English language test.  Please note that from 27 October 2008, applicants will need to provide evidence of English language ability when lodging their application.  Failure to do so may result in applicants being unable to satisfy the criteria for this visa, and this application may be refused.

Exception: Applicants who hold an eligible passport from one of the following specified countries are not required to submit evidence of their English language ability:

  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Ireland
  • United Kingdom (UK)
  • United States of America (USA).

Pathway to General Skilled Permanent Residency 

Skilled - Graduate visa holders may choose to focus on improving their English language skills or gaining skilled work experience in the Australian labour market. Alternatively they may choose to complete a professional year that has been specified by the Minister (where available in their chosen occupation).

Those applicants who can demonstrate at least 12 months Australian work experience in their skilled occupation or a closely related skilled occupation will be awarded 5 points under the GSM points test. An example of working in a 'closely related' occupation would be if an applicant has nominated 'social worker' as their skilled occupation but has 12 months post-graduate work experience as a 'counsellor'.

This replaced the 5 points previously awarded for 6 months Australian work experience.

Applicants who do not have 12 months local skilled work experience but who have completed a professional year instead will also be awarded 5 points.

Skilled- Graduate visa holders can apply for a:

  • provisional Skilled - Regional Sponsored (subclass 487) visa
  • permanent Skilled - Independent (subclass 885) visa or
  • permanent Skilled - Sponsored (subclass 886) visa at any time while their visa is valid.
Skilled - Graduate visa holders can also apply for an employer sponsored visa at any time.