Some changes have been announced by the Minister Alan Tudge on 19 December 2020. These changes might bring relief to Graduate Subclass 485 Post Study Work Stream (PSW) visa holders and students who wish to apply for 485 visa but are stuck outside Australia due to Covid19 pandemic.
Two major changes that have been announced include introduction of a second (Regional) Graduate Subclass 485 Post Study Work Stream visa and ability of applicants stuck outside Australia to be able to make 485 applications from offshore.
Second 485 PSW visa – for Regional Graduates
Applicants who have formerly studied in designated regional areas in Australia and who while holding 485 PSW visa lived in designated regional area for at least 2 years may be eligible to get another/second 485 PSW visa. Designated regional areas in Australia means anywhere but not Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Main aim of the Australian Government behind these changes is the economic development of regional areas of Australia which will help strengthen the communities living in regional areas. Aim is to encourage students or 485 PSW visa holders to continue to live and work there.
This is to keep in mind that the changes are only for Post study work stream and not for the Graduate work stream. Graduate work stream visas remain the same.
Here are a few questions you may have in your mind:
Am I eligible for Regional Graduate Subclass 485 PSW visa?
If you have studied in any of the institutes in designated regional areas and you were granted a 485 PSW visa as a result of that study, and you have lived (worked or studied, if applicable) in a designated regional area in Australia from last two years, you may be eligible.
How long will my Regional Graduate Subclass 485 PSW visa be granted for?
The grant period of the visa would depend upon which regional area applicant had studied from and is living in from last two years before making the application.
Visa grant period
Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane
Cities and Major Regional Centres
Perth, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Newcastle/Macquarie, Wollongong/Illawarra, Canberra, Geelong and Hobart
International students who have studied at these places, hold a Graduate 485 PSW visa and are living at these places from last 2 years may be eligible to get 1 year of Second Regional Graduate Subclass 485 PSW visa.
Regional Centres and other Regional areas
All other locations
International students who have studied at these places, hold a Graduate 485 PSW visa and are living at these places from last 2 years may be eligible to get 2 years of Second Regional Graduate Subclass 485 PSW visa.
Same grant periods apply to secondary visa applicants as well.
When will I be able to make application for second Regional Graduate Subclass 485 PSW visa?
Department of Home Affairs will start taking applications for second 485 PSW visa commencing from 20 January 2021.
Where can I live after a second Regional Graduate Subclass 485 PSW visa is granted?
Condition 8610 will apply to grant of a second 485 PSW visa. This condition means person has to live, work or study in ‘cities and major regional centres’ or ‘regional centres and other regional areas’, whichever was applicable at the time of visa grant.
This condition will also apply to family members or secondary visa holders.
Where can I be at the time of application for second Regional Graduate Subclass 485 PSW visa?
To apply for a second 485 PSW visa, you should be physically present in Australia.
How much will a Regional Graduate Subclass 485 PSW visa cost?
Base application charge (for the primary applicant) – AUD 650
Additional applicant charges for an applicant who is at least 18 – AUD 325
Additional applicant charges for an applicant who is under 18 – AUD 165
Why did the Australian Government create the Regional Graduate 485 PSW Visa?
The explanatory memorandum for the Regulation creating the Regional Graduate 485 PSW Visa states:
“The purpose of the Regulations is to encourage international students to study in regional Australia on a student visa and to continue living in regional Australia on a temporary graduate visa.”
Comments by Chris Johnston – Lawyer and Registered Migration Agent
- Current benefits – A second 485 PSW visa can be very helpful for applicants who are holding a 485 PSW visa at present and are unable to fulfil the requirements of any other visa. It is a difficult time this year due to Covid 19 and things were not how they usually were! It was hard for people to get required work experience or employer sponsorships due to limited business activities this year. In such situation, a second 485 visa can provide some more time to the applicants so that they can fulfil the requirements for some further visas.
- Future enrolments – Students can get enrolled in any of the universities or institutes in regional areas and may be eligible to apply for a second 485 visa in future. Universities in regional areas with access to the 2 years second 485 visa might be more popular with the students. These cities could include:
- Central Coast
485 visa for people stuck outside Australia due to pandemic
Department of Home affairs has made technical amendments to allow applicants who have studied in Australia and want to apply for first 485 visa to make applications from outside Australia. This can be helpful particularly for applicants who are eligible to apply for their first 485 visa but at present are stuck outside Australia due to pandemic. Now they can make application from outside Australia.
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