The natural progression for most international students completing their studies in Australia is to apply for the Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa. This visa is useful for students that wish to possess full work rights for between 18 months and 4 years. It is also an easy way for students to gain relevant work experience, so that they can increase their points score and improve their chances of obtaining permanent residency in the long run. This visa is also often used by international students as a way of achieving permanent residency.  

The Temporary Graduate Subclass 485 visa is a great opportunity for international students that wish to complete their studies in Australia. Unfortunately, the Subclass 485 visa is more complex than one may think.  Sometimes simply satisfying the criteria for a Subclass 485 visa grant is not enough. Even though the criteria is viewed by many as simplistic, uncomplicated and easy to satisfy, there are many examples of Subclass 485 visas being refused.  

Below are 6 common mistakes that are often made by students applying for the Temporary Graduate 485 visa.  

1. Getting the timing right

In order to apply for a Subclass 485 visa, you must lodge your application within 6 months of completing your course. The completion date is from the date that you are alerted about your final results. Students often mix up the completion date, with the date of graduation. However, the date of graduation is often many months after the date of completion, or the day that the final results are released.  

2. Physical Presence in Australia  

According to the Department, you must be physically present in Australia for at least 16 months between the commencement of your course and the completion date. Make sure to carefully assess how many days you were in Australia for, before lodging an application. 

3. English Tests  

You must complete an English Test before lodging your Subclass 485 application, with the exemption of those that have passports from the UK, USA, Canada, NZ or Ireland.  

It is recommended that you do not leave this until the last minute, given the long waits for testing dates. It is important to complete the English test in advance, as many students find that they do not score as well as they expected and have to re-sit the test.  

If you do not pass the English test, your visa application will be refused. The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) will not be able to refute these changes, as English requirements must be satisfied before the lodgement of your application.  

4. AFP Clearances 

You must have applied for an Australian Federal Police (AFP) check, before lodging your application. You must ensure that you apply for an AFP in the 12-months before lodging your application. Any AFP clearance that is older than this time frame will not be accepted.  

5. Documentation 

When lodging your application, you must include a letter of completion that contains the exact dates of your study and also confirms your qualifications. In order to obtain this letter, you should specifically request the document from your university, as it is often not given automatically.  

It is also recommended that you provide evidence of your official final transcript, which may also need to be requested.  As you will need to have completed a course that is registered for at least 92-weeks on the CRICOS (the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students), it is important to check how many weeks your course is registered for and that you satisfy the Australian study criteria. If you do not satisfy the Australian study criteria, then your visa application may be refused.  

This problem happened to a citizen of Nepal, who had completed both a Master of Professional Accounting, as well as a Master of Business Administration. Both courses fit the criteria for the Subclass 485 visa as they were both registered CRICOS courses and each course went for a 78-week duration. However upon review, it was found that the applicant had completed the two courses concurrently, instead of consecutively. It was argued that the time-period of the courses could only count as 78-weeks, as they were both completed within the same 78-week period, instead of two periods of 78-weeks (156-weeks).  

The criteria for the Subclass 485 visa states that the applicant must complete at least 92-weeks of study, otherwise they will not meet the requirement of studying at least 2 academic years. In the case discussed above, the applicant was able to complete some of the two courses at the same time and that some of their coursework was credited to both courses.  

Fortunately for the visa applicant, the Tribunal found that, as both courses were registered with the CRICOS as being more than 92 weeks in total, the applicant did actually meet the requirement of completing at least 2 academic years of study. Even though the completion of the courses occurred simultaneously, the Tribunal was willing to count the time period of each course separately. The Tribunal concluded that the applicant satisfied the Australian study requirement, in addition to satisfying the criteria for a grant for the Subclass 485 visa. If you are ever applying for a Subclass 485 visa, it is important to understand that even if you are taking two courses at the same time, they will still satisfy the Australian study requirement as long as the courses are registered with CRICOS as 92 weeks or more.  

6. Health Insurance  

You must make sure that you have made all adequate arrangements in Australia for health insurance, in order to meet the Subclass 485 criteria. You need to provide evidence at different stages of your application cycle including:  

  • At lodgement – provide evidence of health cover, which can be Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)  
  • Processing your application – show that you have maintained health cover throughout the duration of processing.  
  • On Grant – show that you have OVHC, as OSHC is not sufficient.  
  • Whilst on your visa: maintain health cover throughout your visa, otherwise you could be subject to the cancellation of your 485 visa.  

All too often students are making mistakes when lodging their own 485 visas and are subsequently losing their opportunity to access the Subclass 485 visa. As there is little room for error, you must make sure that you get it right the first time.  

If you need assistance or advice with your visa application, Results Migration are the best in the field, with a team of experienced migration lawyers and registered migration agents that are available to guide you through this complex area of law. Call Results Migration on 1800 808 717 or email us on [email protected] and book your free consultation today!