Understanding the 485 Visa: a guide for international students


Many international students studying in Australia have heard of the 485 visa but may be unaware of how they can apply.

The 485 visa enables international students to travel, work, study and prepare for future opportunities after they graduate.

Today AIBT will give you an in-depth look at the 485 visa and show where you can find all the official information to apply and reference for the future.

What most international students know about the 485 visa is that you need to study in Australia for two years, and after graduation you are eligible to apply, but many do not know that there are two different types of this visa. So, what’s the difference? Why is that important?

To start things off, let’s head over the Australian Government’s Home Affairs website, to find all the information we need.

First, we need to log in to the website at:

Click on Visas and select Working in Australia

Click on Temporary Work Visas

On the next page, select Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) from the list of options.

Once on the 485 visa page, bookmark or save the following URL for future reference.

As you can see, the 485 visa falls into two streams:

  1. Graduate Work Stream graduate temporary work visa, and
  2. Post-Study Work Stream, (Commonly referred to as PSW Visa)

The official visa description states, the 485 visa is: ‘A temporary visa that allows international students to live, study and work after you have finished your studies.’  This is a short-term temporary visa for international students, which allows them to stay in Australia after graduation to travel, work or gain experience, study and prepare for future immigration opportunities.

It’s important to note that students who hold a valid 485 visa do not have work restrictions like the subclass 500 student visa and can therefore work for any length of time.  

Let’s go into more detail about the two streams of the 485 visa: 

  1. The Graduate Work Stream visa is applicable to international students who have completed a course(s) with an AQF (Australian Qualification Framework) level lower than an undergraduate degree in Australia, with the skills and qualifications required for a particular occupation.  The length of stay for this visa is 18 months, with exception to Hong Kong passport holders who can apply for a 5-year visa.  This visa is based around vocational skills in the Vocational Education and Training sector, also known as the VET sector.
  2. The Post Study Work (PSW) Visa applies to international students who have graduated from an Australian university and have earned a bachelor’s degree or above. PSW Visa applicants are not restricted by their field of study; but they must complete an undergraduate degree or higher. This visa allows students to stay in Australia between two and four years, depending on the level of their study qualification.

Today, we will be focusing on the Graduate Temporary Work Visa.  

Click on the Graduate Work Stream title and you can see eligibility requirements on the right:

The basic requirements of the Graduate Work Stream Visa are you must:

  1. Be under 50 years of age;
  2. Hold an eligible Australian visa;
  3. Have held a valid student visa within the last six months prior to applying for a visa;
  4. Have a qualification relevant to an occupation on the skilled occupation list (SOL);
  5. Have applied for a career skills assessment;
  6. Provide adequate health insurance for all applicants at the time of the application;
  7. Provide proof that you have applied for an AFP check (Australian Federal Police);
  8. Provide evidence of the required level of English with the application.

These are the basic requirements for the application. Most students stop here and believe there are no other conditions, when, in fact, there more specific application conditions required.

At the top of the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) page, click on the ‘Eligibility’ tab.

On the right side of the page, you will notice the ‘Details’ boxes which explain the additional requirements for each basic requirement specified on the left-hand side of the page. Each line has a ‘Details’ box that you need to click to access more information.

As an example, let’s see what it means to ‘Meet the Australian Study Requirement’. 

Click Details

Here you can see that there are six points that outline how to meet the Australian study requirement.

  1. The course must be registered in CRICOS;
  2. The course must be completed successfully;
  3. The course was taught in English;
  4. The course was completed in no less than two academic years (92 weeks study);
  5. The course was completed in no less than 16 calendar months;
  6. The student must have held a valid student visa in Australia;

OK, so a few of you may be confused.  What is CRICOS? How do you know if you meet the minimum of 92 weeks of study? What are 16 calendar months?  

Let’s explain each of these concepts to you.

We will start with an understanding of CRICOS. The acronym CRICOS means Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

To find out more, click on the CRICOS-registered course link in the first bullet point (or via the link below), which will take you to the CRICOS website.

This is the official Australian Government website that lists all Australian education providers and their courses that international students studying in Australia can choose from.

The CRICOS system is a list of all Australian institutions that meet the international registration requirements in order to provide education to international students. Under Australian law, any Australian educational institution that enrols international students must register with CRICOS, and courses for international students are required to be registered in the system.  

To put it simply, when choosing a provider, we must pay attention to whether the school and its curricula are currently registered with the Australian Government. 

Please note that for schools and courses that are not registered on CRICOS, the future outcome and 485 Temporary Work Visa application will not be recognised by the Australian Government.

With this knowledge, we can navigate through the CRICOS website and check if our course and education provider is registered with the Australian Government.

Select CRICOS Institution Code. 

As an example, we have entered our CRICOS number for AIBT (03430J). This can always be found on your Confirmation of Enrolment (COE), as well as on our website. It is usually located on any education provider’s website.

Once we enter the CRICOS code, click Start Search.

You can see that AIBT is a qualified educational institution registered on CRICOS and after selecting the tab ‘List of Courses Offered by the Institution,’ you will find the list of courses offered which are available and registered with CRICOS.

On the top row, you can see it lists the Course Name, Level and Duration, in weeks.

Let’s select a course. On page 2, we have selected: Certificate IV in Asian Cookery, as shown below:

Click on the course and you will find specific course information:

At the top of the page, you can see the CRICOS course code (093488A), VET national code (SIT40816), course level (Certificate IV), duration (104 weeks), course language (English), and other details. We can also see that this course is available in three locations: Brisbane, Sydney, and Hobart.  

Through the information provided on the CRICOS course page, we can confirm that the course is registered on CRICOS and is delivered in English. We can also see that the course is registered for 104 weeks by looking at the duration, which exceeds the 92 weeks study required for the Australian Study Requirement.

When you choose an education provider and one of its courses, you must confirm the authenticity of this information to avoid any issues meeting the Australian Study Requirement.

Now let’s take a closer look at the next steps for identifying the duration of the course in weeks and calendar months as shown on the 485 visa criteria page.

Go back to the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) page, and the ‘Eligibility’ tab, then click on the Meet the Australian study requirement  “Details” box. Here you will see the information below:

To verify if your CRICOS registered course’s duration meets the requirement, look for the row that specifies ‘Duration (weeks)’ and take note of its length. 

In the highlighted section it states: ‘You can take longer to complete your course, but you will only be credited with the number of weeks that CRICOS determines as the standard duration.’  

In the example they have given, if you take 92 weeks to successfully complete a course that CRICOS says should take 78 weeks, you will only receive credit for 78 weeks. Therefore, you cannot extend your course to meet the 92-week requirement.

It’s also important to know that if you fail any subjects, they will not count towards the 92-week requirement. 

So, if your course is registered for less than 92 weeks on CRICOS, discuss with a professional to gain further information on your case before you decide on your course.

Next, let’s get a better understanding of the 16-calendar month requirement.

16 calendar months means that your qualification cannot be shorter than 16 months.  Some providers allow students to shorten the duration of the course by providing a fast-track solution, but you must be careful to not reduce your studies below 16 months or you will be ineligible to apply for the 485 Graduate Work Visa.

As a general rule, students who choose a course that has a duration of 92 weeks can meet the requirements of the 16 calendar months. 

It is also mentioned in this section that students may transfer credits from other CRICOS completed courses, which may reduce the amount of time to complete the course.

For example, if you have received credit for your studies in another course also registered on CRICOS, then you could use these credits towards the new course, even if you did not receive a qualification for the other course. The actual period of study (credit transfer and main course combined) may be used to meet the 16-month requirement. 

However, if your study credits shorten the amount of time you physically studied your course in Australia to less than 16 calendar months, then you may not meet the Australian requirement.

If this is the case, you can simply:

  1. Have the education provider cancel the credits and complete the subjects needed for the qualification, or
  2. Complete extra units in order to meet the 16-calendar month requirement.

To sum up: There’s no problem with transferring credits, just remember that you must still meet the 16 calendar months requirement.

Next, we will look at the Completion Date Requirement.

You must apply for the 485 Temporary Graduate Work Visa within six months of the date of your course completion. You can find the date of your course completion from the date you first met the academic requirement for your qualification.

For example, AIBT provides a Completion Letter to all graduates, and the date on the letter is clearly marked. The Department of Home Affairs will accept this letter as proof of course completion. They have also listed other acceptable forms to prove the course completion date.

If you find yourself questioning whether you meet the Australian Study Requirement, you can always contact your sales manager with AIBT or our Student Support Team. 

Now that we have explained how you can “Meet the Australian Study Requirement”, let’s go back and look at the next requirement to apply for the Graduate Work stream of the 485 visa. Next on the list is: ‘Have skills and qualifications that Australia needs’.

Click Details, which will show you the further requirements needed and other information about this requirement.

You will see that a student will need to nominate one occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL), have a qualification that is closely related to that occupation, and be assessed to prove you have the skills suitable for that occupation.

By now, you might have a few questions like;

  • What is the list of medium- and long-term occupations?
  • Which occupations are nominated in the list?  
  • What is a skills assessment and where do I complete one?
  • How do I get accurate and official information?

A student’s selected course must have a corresponding occupation that is on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL).  Let’s see how you can make sure it does.

First, click on the link in the first bullet point which will take us to the list:

After entering the Legislative Instrument page, click on the Specification of Occupations and Assessing Authorities link located next to the Temporary Work Visa for 485 Graduates

Here is a compiled list of occupations for the 485 Graduate Work Visa and the corresponding list of assessment agencies. Using this list, we can confirm whether the vocational skills you are currently studying or would like to study are included.

In particular, this list is divided into a list of medium and long-term occupations and a list of short-term occupations.  If you are applying for a 485 Graduate Work Visa, you must have an occupation in the medium to long term list, not in the short-term list. Let’s look below for more information:

Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List
Short-term Skilled Occupation List

Occupations are listed on the left, followed by the ANZSCO code and finally the assessing authority. Depending on the occupation selected, there will be a corresponding evaluating/assessing authority that will ensure that you meet the requirements of the course. This is a validation of the skills, knowledge and placement.

The different assessing authorities are shown on the right, such as: VETASSESS, TRA, AIM and others. For example, for the occupation: child-care centre manager, the corresponding occupational assessment agency is Trades Recognition Australia, or TRA.

Now that you have some understanding of the Australian Strategic Skills List (also known as Skilled Occupation List (SOL)), students applying for a 485 visa need to be aware of their nomination of their career on the application. Just a reminder that the occupation of choice and its corresponding qualification needs to be in the medium to long term list.

Let’s move on to the assessing authority in Australia and what the common assessment agencies are.

For students applying for a temporary visa for 485 graduates, the most common assessment agencies are:

Through these assessing authorities you can confirm whether you can complete a career assessment based on the assessment body corresponding to the vocational course you are studying.

You may still be a bit confused, so let’s use practical examples to see how to choose an occupation and its course. We have had students ask, ‘How can I confirm that my chosen career course meets the requirements of a temporary work visa application for 485 graduates?’  We’ll provide an example:

AIBT has compiled a list of current mid to long-term occupations with corresponding courses, their duration, and the available locations that can be used to apply for a 485 visa in the future.

Course name and codeNominated occupationCourse LengthCampus
SIT40516 – Certificate IV in Commercial CookeryChef104 weeksNSW/QLD/TAS
SIT40816 – Certificate IV in Asian CookeryChef104 weeksNSW/QLD/TAS
CHC30113 – Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care,

CHC50113 – Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care  

Package: CHC30113 – Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care + CHC50113 – Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
Childcare Centre Manager104 weeksNSW/QLD/TAS
UEE32211 – Certificate III in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration  

UEE42720 – Certificate IV in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Servicing    
Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Repairman / Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic 104 weeksNSW/QLD
AUR30316 – Certificate III in Automotive Electrical TechnologyCar Mechanic / Automotive Electrician92 weeksNSW/QLD
AUR30620 – Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical TechnologyCar Mechanic / Automotive Electrician92 weeksNSW/QLD/TAS
CPC30620 – Certificate III in Painting and DecoratingPainter / Painting Trades Worker104 weeksNSW/QLD

Looking at the table, you can see that the selected courses meet the occupation requirement as well as the 92-week CRICOS registration duration when applying for the 485 Graduate Temporary Work Visa. 

  • But how do you prove this?

Let’s check with the Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) website, the assessing authority responsible for the qualifications and occupations in the table. 

Once on the website, look at the top and click on the tab, ‘FAQS’. 

Then select Migration Skills Assessment

Scroll down to the question:

  • ‘What is the relevant Australian qualification for my nominated occupation?’

A PDF link will appear as shown below. Click and download the .pdf to see a list of Australian Qualifications by Occupation.

If you are having trouble accessing the link, use the link below.

In this PDF, you can see the ANZSCO (Australia New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations) code, occupation (job) names, qualification (course) names, and qualification codes all recognised by the TRA evaluating body. 

We should check the qualification code to confirm that the course of our choice is on the list of evaluating agencies. For example, we’ll choose SIT40816 – Certificate IV in Asian Cookery; and copy the qualification code SIT40816 located on the right side of the list. 

Next, we will outline different qualifications that are recognised by TRA and also registered with AIBT. 

Let’s go back to the table of AIBT qualifications, and occupations which can be used to apply for the 485 visa that are located on the list of current mid to long-term occupations. Remember that this list has all of the official nomination occupations, qualifications as well as the names of the assessment bodies, which can be verified in the legislative instruments on a case-by-case basis. Take a look at the MLTSSL list (Skilled Occupation List) and the corresponding qualification codes and qualifications shown below.

SIT40516 – Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery; TRA

SIT40816 – Certificate IV in Asian Cookery; TRA

CHC50113 – Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care; TRA

UEE32211 – Certificate III in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration

UEE42720 – Certificate IV in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Servicing; TRA

AUR30316 – Certificate III in Automotive Electrical Technology; TRA

AUR30620 – Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology; TRA

CPC30620 – Certificate III in Painting and Decorating; TRA

As you can see, these qualifications from AIBT can be found in the list of medium and long-term occupation list. Upon completion of one of these courses, you will be able to apply for a skills assessment at the corresponding vocational assessment body. 

Now, let’s take a look at how you can find out more information about AIBT qualifications through the CRICOS website.

Head back to the CRICOS website and click on the CRICOS Institution Code and enter AIBT’s CRICOS code: 03430J

Click on the list of courses offered by the Institution:

You can see that there are five pages of vocational qualifications registered on CRICOS.  When you choose to apply for a course, you can reference this page when deciding on the occupation and course required to apply for a 485 visa. 

Now we’ll go through an example of looking at the information of a specific course. On the second page, click on SIT40816 – Certificate IV in Asian Cookery.

Once the course is located, click on it to find further details including the qualification level, language of delivery, duration and location.

Once again, you can see that this course is registered in three locations across Australia and has a duration of 104 weeks, meeting the duration requirement mentioned earlier.

Copy the VET National Code (SIT40816). Click on the CRICOS logo in the top right of the screen. Click on the course search and paste the code into the box click search.

Now you can see that there are only two colleges in Australia that offer this course, one of which is Brighton Pacific T/A Australian Institute of Business Technology (AIBT).

As an example, let’s check the locations for the first provider, Evolution Systems for Training & Development. When we click on the first college, we can see under course locations that it is located in Sydney.

Now, click on Brighton Pacific T/A Australian Institute of Business Technology.

This course is taught in three locations: New South Wales (Sydney), Queensland (Brisbane) and Tasmania, (Hobart).

As we know that there is only one other provider registered on CRICOS, we can easily understand that in Queensland and Tasmania, AIBT is the only college that delivers SIT40816 – Certificate IV in Asian Cookery.

By following these steps, you can check any course you that would like to find out more information.

Let’s move on to our next topic. For those who are in the process of applying for the 485 visa, note the highlighted text below which states: ‘You must provide evidence when you apply that you have at least applied for a skills assessment or we cannot process your visa application.’

While many may believe that you need the result(s) of a skills assessment, this is not required as per the Australian Government. You only need to provide evidence that you have applied for a skills assessment.

Now you know more about the medium and long-term occupation list and its assessment agencies. If you would like to apply for a 485 temporary graduate visa, you can follow the steps we have talked about to select the nominated occupation in the list of courses and check with the associated assessing body for the correct skills assessment.

Another requirement we have not mentioned is the English requirement, ‘Have this passport or this level of English language’. Once you click on the ‘details’ box, you will note that the requirement is IELTS 6 with no individual band less than 5.  If, however, you have taken another test such as TOEFL ibt, or PTE Academic, the relevant requirements can be found through the links in the list.

Now that we are near the end of this information session, let’s go over some changes that have been made due to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Students currently applying for a student visa or a future program can start or continue their course by remote learning with AIBT;
  2. Overseas/online learning will be calculated into the 92-week duration requirement of CRICOS registered course. Graduation will not be delayed as a result of the global pandemic or distance learning.
  3. As a result of the above, students can still meet the requirements for applying for a 92-week CRICOS registration course for the 485 temporary work visa.
  4. Students can even apply for a 485 temporary graduate work visa overseas if they have completed all their course(s) and the Australian border remains closed due to the pandemic.
  5. Students applying abroad may not be subject to the six-month restriction before they apply for the 485 visa.
    1. For those who are unable to return to Australia to submit their applications due to travel restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, the time for applying for a 485 visa within six months of graduation is extended to 12 months after completion of your course;
  6. The validity of the 485 visa (18 months to 5 years (Hong Kong passport holder) is calculated from the day the visa holder enters Australia.

Essentially, due to the current global pandemic, if a student completes an online qualification and is currently located overseas, and meets the requirements to be able to apply, they can apply for the temporary work visa 485 while still abroad. Many students are not applying for the 485 visa because they are worried that the duration of the 485 visa will be shortened, however, the visa validity period is calculated from the date of the visa holder lands in Australia. So, don’t hold off on applying for your 485 visa. Apply now if you meet the requirements!

If you are interested in reading up more about this, details can be found in the legislative instruments section on the Australian Government website:

You now hopefully have a better understanding of the process that a student must go through in order to appropriately choose a qualification that leads to the 485 temporary graduate visa. 

During this session, we have outlined the process of course selection, verification of the course’s duration on CRICOS, corresponding occupation and validation of the associated assessment body. All of these relate directly to the requirements needed to submit an appropriate application for the 485 temporary work visa.

So, why are you waiting? Talk with an AIBT sales manager now to start your career today!

Learn more about our courses through our website:

Click on the link to consult our Sales Team:

*The information within this post is correct at the time of publication. For the most up to date information please refer to the Australian Government’s Home Affairs website. AIBT does not commit to securing migration or education assessment outcomes for overseas students. We strongly advise that you consult with a registered migration agent if you require more specific information.

Brighton Pacific Pty Ltd T/A Australia Institute of Business and Technology RTO: 41138 | CRICOS: 03430J

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