The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) is once more taking a sensible approach to the Australian migration program by providing new concessions to prospective visa applicants. In this case, the Department has formalised the promise to streamline application requirements for Temporary Graduate visa applicants, made by Alex Hawke, former Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, in a joint media release in November 2021.
The Temporary Graduate (Subclass 485) visa is a provisional visa for international students who have recently completed their studies in Australia. It is intended to provide visa holders with an opportunity to complete relevant work experience in Australia, improve their skills in a professional environment and possibly apply for skilled or employer-sponsored visas in the future.
The Temporary Graduate visa compromises three streams, the Graduate Work stream, the Post-Study Work stream and the Replacement stream, each catering to a different cohort of students. The new concessions published on 23 June 2022 apply to the Graduate Work stream only, which primarily caters for international graduates with Australian diplomas and trade qualifications.
An essential requirement for visa applicants in the Graduate Work stream is to:
- nominate an eligible occupation from the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL) and
- obtain a positive provisional skills assessment with the nominated occupation and
- have Australian educational qualifications (degree, diploma or trade qualification) closely related to the applicant’s nominated occupation.
This concession will apply from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023; however, the legislation provides that the duration of the concession may be extended at the discretion of the Department and if current labour shortages continue.
The Australian Study Requirement
It is important to note that this concession does not remove the Australian Study Requirement (formerly the ‘2-year study requirement’). International students must still satisfy this requirement to be eligible for a Graduate visa.
The Australian study requirement (ASR) has two related elements:
- the visa applicant has completed at least two academic years of study in Australia and,
- the visa applicant must have been physically in Australia while studying for at least 16 calendar months.
Only study resulting in the completion of a degree, diploma or trade qualification (an eligible qualification) can be counted towards meeting the Australian study requirement. The terms degree, diploma and trade qualification are defined in legislation; for example, a degree is a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, a doctoral degree or a postgraduate diploma.
In terms of the two academic years requirement, this is also defined in legislation and is currently at least 92 weeks. In considering whether the two-year requirement is met, the Department considers the standard duration of the applicant’s course registered on CRICOS. Therefore, if an applicant has no recognised prior learning (RPL) and uses a single course to meet the Australian study requirement, this course must have a registered duration of at least 92 weeks. When candidates intend to use multiple courses to meet the Australian study requirement, they must demonstrate that the various courses are all eligible qualifications or the same course or packaged courses.
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