Work Rights for Post Study Work Visa and Graduate Temporary Visa Holders

What is a Graduate Temporary Visa?

Graduate Temporary visas are granted to international students who have completed studies in Australia.

The graduate temporary visa allows the student to live and work in Australia for anywhere between 18 months and 4 years depending on the studies completed.

Graduate Temporary visas are also referred to as Subclass 485 visas. Two streams are available:

  • Post Study Work – for students who have completed studies at the bachelor degree, masters or PhD level
  • Graduate Work – for students who have completed a trade certificate, diploma or graduate diploma, or who commenced studies in Australia prior to November 2011

How Many Graduate Temporary Visa Holders Are There in Australia?

As of 31 March 2019, there were 80,800 485 Visa holders in Australia. This includes both primary visa holders (ie the person studying the course) as well as secondary visa holders (dependents such as a spouse or children).

How Long Does a Graduate Temporary Visa Last?

The duration of the 485 visa depends on the studies undertaken and the stream applied for.

1. Post Study Work Stream

  • 2 Years: Completion of Bachelor Degree or Masters by Coursework
  • 3 Years: Completion of Masters by Research
  • 4 Years: Completion of PhD

2. Graduate Work Stream

The visa is valid for 18 months from date of grant.

Work Rights on a Graduate Temporary Visa

Holders of 485 Visas have unrestricted work rights in Australia and can work full time.

Work Rights on a Graduate Temporary Visa – Secondary (Dependent) Visa Holder

Spouses and children who hold 485 visas as secondary applicants can also work full time.

Risk of Cancellation of a Graduate Temporary Visa

In general, there is a low risk of cancellation for graduate temporary visas.

In the past, the Department of Home Affairs detected widespread fraud in the graduate temporary visa holder cohort. This led to cancellation of some graduate temporary visas and permanent visas.

Further Visa Options for Graduate Temporary Visa Holders

Many students seek to remain in Australia after their graduate temporary visa.

Examples of visas graduate temporary visa holders often apply for after being in Australia for some time include:

  • General Skilled Migration
  • Employer sponsored (457 or TSS visa)
  • Partner Visas
  • Working Holiday Visas
  • Occupational Trainee Visas
  • Further student visas

These visas may not have work rights as beneficial as the original visa held by the employee. Unless visa status is checked regularly, these issues will not be picked up by employers.

A good example of this is where a student is working full time for Employer A whilst on a graduate temporary visa. If they then transition back onto a student visa, they can only work for 40 hours per fortnight. If the student continues working full time for Employer A, they will be in breach of visa conditions.

How Often Should I Check Work Rights for Graduate Temporary Visa Holders

At the very least, all employers should check visa status for staff before employment, and also at the time the visa is due to expire.

Because the duration of graduate temporary visas can vary and it is common for holders to move onto different visas, it can be difficult to track work rights for holders of graduate temporary visas.

We would recommend checking visa status for Graduate Temporary Visa holders once a month.

Summary – Employing Staff on a Graduate Temporary Visa

Graduate Temporary Visa holders are a large and skilled workforce which can be attractive for employers.

However, Graduate Temporary Visa often change status to another visa type which may not have work rights as beneficial as their original visa.

We would recommend checking visa status for Graduate Temporary Visa holders before employment and once a month during employment.

How vSure Can Help

If you only have a few foreign workers, use vSure Instant Check to confirm your employee’s work rights.

The vSure Work Rights app has been built to ensure medium to large employers are compliant with the obligations to take “reasonable steps at reasonable times” to check employee work rights.

Rather than having to manually check individuals, vSure has been built specifically for employers with more than 10 foreign workers to check and automatically keep checking work rights. The app will email or SMS you each time it checks (generally monthly), ensuring you maintain your compliance, without the manual effort.

If you want the easiest and most effective way to ensure work rights compliance, please click here to request a demonstration today.