The basics
Australia: Applying to University

Post-study visa options in Australia

Our guide to your post-study options as an international student in Australia...

Engineers Australia

The pulls of staying on to work in Australia after you’ve completed your studies may be many, but the nation’s incredibly strict immigration laws are inescapable. But whilst it’s easy to get lost amongst the many visa subclasses and document requirements, the good news is that there are plenty of options for international students to embark on graduate life Down Under.


Let our overview of your main post-study options as an international graduate in Australia help illuminate your possibilities.



Before your student visa expires...

You will be able to remain in the country for up to three months after the completion of your study programme on your student visa, so if you’d like to remain in Australia to work then you will need to apply for and secure a work visa before this grace period ends.


Most of the time, the best option for foreign graduates will be to apply for a Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485), which will allow you to work full-time in Australia for a set amount of time. Some graduates with specific skill sets may also be eligible for a Skilled Graduate visa.


Applying for permanent residency in Australia is a much more complicated process with very strict requirements and application procedures. If you’d like to live in Australia permanently you should contact your local Australian embassy or consulate on how best to proceed, and consult the Australian immigration website in the meantime. Students from New Zealand should apply for a separate visa that enables them to travel, work and study indefinitely in Australia.


Find my nearest Australian embassy or consulate



SkillSelect (Skilled Nominated Visa)

If you have a skill or qualification that is considered to be in demand in Australia, you can register an Expression of Interest (EOI) with SkillSelect to be considered for a skilled visa. Once you have entered all your details, Australian employers and governments can search for someone with your skill set and invite you to apply for a visa. You MUST first receive this invitation in order to lodge a skilled visa application.


You will need to submit your EOI online via the Australian Immigration website. You will need to first research which type of skilled visa you would like to apply for and be able to demonstrate that you meet all of the eligibility criteria. If you do not meet the requirements, you will need to deselect the visa on your online form before you are able to submit your EOI. Whilst there are no requirements for supporting documents, you will need to have completed an English language proficiency test (and be able to produce the test scores,) and have completed a skills assessment based on your occupation. You can find out how to get a skills assessment from the Australia Skills Recognition Information (ASRI) website.


You should be careful to have all your information handy BEFORE you begin the online application process: incomplete EOIs are stored in the system for two years, and if your application is saved as incomplete you will be ineligible to apply for a visa until it expires. All EOIs are valid for two years.


Once you have been invited to apply for the visa, you may formally apply for the Skilled Nominated Visa (subclass 190) up to 60 days after receiving your offer. Specific application instructions will be outlined on your application invitation, including a list of required supporting documents. You will need to complete the application online via the Australian Immigration website, and will need to register with the system and create an ImmiAccount to do so.


Find out which skills are currently in demand



Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485)

Whilst eligibility criteria for each of these visa streams are different, the application process for both is the same. You may apply for this visa online, or download the application form, collect all supporting documents and then lodge your complete application by post to the Temporary Graduate Visa Centre in Adelaide. The processing time on your visa however will be quicker if you apply online.


To be eligible for this visa you will need to meet relevant study requirements: i.e, you will need to hold an acceptable qualification from an Australian institution. To complete the online application you’ll need a valid passport, and hold or have held a valid student visa in the 6 months prior to your application. You’ll also need to demonstrate that you’ll have adequate health insurance during your stay in Australia, and have proof of your English language proficiency.


There are also a number of specific supporting documents you will need to either attach to your application digitally or include as certified copies in your application via post. You can find a comprehensive list of all these documents on the Australian Immigration website. You’ll also need to pay relevant application fees. You can find out what you’re likely to pay in visa fees using the visa pricing table.



Graduate Work stream

To be considered beneath this stream you will need to have skills and qualifications that are directly relevant to an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL). You will be able to remain in Australia to work, travel or complete a further study programme for up to 18 months on this visa.  To apply, you will need to have completed a trade qualification, diploma or degree at an Australian institution at the time of application. Your field of study must also be directly related to the occupation you’re looking to fill.



Post-study work

In line with the changes to Australian visa requirements, ONLY students who applied for their first student visa (whilst they were completing their study programme,) on or after November 5, 2011 may apply for this visa.


Under this visa stream you will be able to stay in Australia for up to four years, depending on the level of your qualification. Bachelor and Masters by coursework graduates may remain in the country for up to two years, whilst Masters research students may stay for three. Doctoral graduates may stay in Australia for the full four years.



Now that life after graduation doesn’t seem so scary, why not browse courses in Australia now and kick-start your plans to study abroad?



Read more:

'Finding a graduate career in Australia'

'Applying for an Australian student visa'

'3 Fields to study in Australia'

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About Author

Engineers Australia

Monica Karpinski received her BA (Media and Communications) and Diploma in Modern Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. An art and culture aficionado, in her spare time Monica enjoys film, reading and writing about art.


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