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The basics
Australia: Visa Guides

Post-study visa programme

From November of 2019, students who have studied and graduated at a regional institution, as well as those who have worked regionally over the course of their first post-study visa, will have an extra year to live and work in Australia.

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The period of a student’s life as they begin exploring potential study destinations can be one of uncertainty, anxiety and a touch of angst, as future plans are designed. The ever present “What should I do?” question can rob even the most stoic of sleep. Perhaps future job prospects are a consideration, or it could be funding opportunities and visa requirements that are front and centre in the deliberation process. Such permutations can have significant implications for international students, with one of the most critical aspects being able to make informed decisions with a sense of certainty.


Students who have their gaze turned towards Australia can breathe a sigh of relief and are in a good position given recent initiatives announced by the Australian government. The information is outlined in detail in the government paper entitled Planning for Australia’s Future Population. Australia has begun implementing a set of comprehensive and wide-ranging investment programmes that aim to meet the requirements of a growing population in a sustainable manner. A prominent aspect of the plan has been a focus on regional locations that lie outside of the major metropolitan areas. The intention is to stimulate local economies of scale, create meaningful interaction between regions as well as collaboration with major cities.



A critical element of the plan pertains to education and especially to international students. Students are viewed as an essential part of the fabric of regional communities, both during their studies and when embarking on a potential career. In light of this the Australian government will make 4,720 Destination Australia scholarships available over a period of four years. These are earmarked for international students studying at regional institutions, including vocational education and training, with yearly allowances of up to AUD 15,000.  



There have also been amendments made to the temporary graduate post-study visa. From November of 2019 students who have studied and graduated at a regional institution, as well as those who have worked regionally over the course of their first post-study visa, will have an extra year to live and work in Australia. This means that those with bachelor’s degrees will have their stay extended to three years, while PhD graduates will be allowed to remain for five years. It’s important to note that the visa extension is dependent on remaining in a regional area of the country for work and residence. This needs to be for at least two years after graduating. Regional areas are defined as anywhere in the country that is not viewed as a major metropolitan location. This sees Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth excluded.


The new visas are available as of November 2019 and holders of current visas do not have to worry, as their status is not affected by the changes. This is also true of permanent residents and those who hold permanent visas. Those with current temporary graduate visas can lodge an application for the new programme in cases where the requirements are met. The first group of graduates who will be able to take advantage of the new visas will be those in the class of 2021. The new programme does not however fundamentally alter current regulations pertaining to student visas and the requirements for the application process. However, they do represent a good opportunity to explore living and working in Australia after graduating.

Study in Australia


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