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A Quick Guide to Post-Study Work Visas in Australia

28th April 2017 Posted by: Becca Lawes

THERE have been some major changes to the Australian visa process, meaning staying as a postgraduate could be harder. However it isn’t all doom and gloom. We have put together a short guide explaining some of the options open to you if you’re currently studying in Australia and living there as a graduate is something you’re considering. 

If you’re not currently studying in Australia but would like to live there for a while check out the Australian governments helpful Visa Finder on their website. It allows you to enter your nationality and proposed length of stay to find out your options, whether you want to backpack, visit family or work on a farm. 

I’ve heard about new changes to Australian visas, will I be affected?

As you may have already heard, the government have opted to get rid of the 457 visa which allowed many foreign workers into the country based on their skills. The country are tightening up their immigration laws and subsequently 200 jobs that were previously listed on the 457 visa form as ‘desired’ are no longer present.

At present the highest number of people on this kind of visa are from India, followed by China and Great Britain. It is worth noting that this new system will not come into place until 2018 and will also not affect anyone currently on the 457 visa. 

I want to know what will be in 457’s place?

Australia is opting for temporary visas offered to people with three year’s work experience, aged under 45 and with a clean criminal record check.  This change is to allow for more jobs to be available to Australian citizens. The new scheme will be called the Temporary Skill Shortage Visa programme and will have two streams: one providing a two year visa and the other, a visa for up to four years. The biggest change is that the new programme will not provide a pathway toward permanent residency. It is also worth noting that English language requirements will be tightened up for all jobs too. 

I want to work in Australia temporarily after graduation
You can stay in Australia for between 18 months and four years after graduating depending on what kind of qualification you have. First you will need a Graduate Skilled Temporary (subclass 485) visa. To qualify for this visa you must be under 50, be in good health and be competent in English (an IELTS score of 6 or a passport from an English-speaking country). Additionally there is the Skilled - recognised graduate visa (subclass 476). This allows recent engineering graduates who are under 31 to gain 18 months of skilled work experience within Australia.

There are two types of Temporary Graduate Visa:

1. Post-Study Work Stream visa
This visa allows you and your family to live, work, travel and study in Australia for between two and four years if you have graduated from an Australian education institution within the past six months. If you have a bachelor degree you can stay for two years. If you have a master's degree you can stay for two or three years. And if you have a doctorate you can stay for four years.
 

However, if your qualification is below that of a bachelor degree (eg: certificate III, diploma or graduate diploma) you do not qualify for this visa. Also, you are not eligible for this visa if you applied for your first ever student visa before November 5, 2011.

2. Graduate Work Stream Visa
This visa allows you and your family to live, work, travel and study in Australia for 18 months if you have graduated from an Australian education institution within the past six months. Unlike the Post-Study Work Stream visa, you are eligible for this visa even if your qualification is below that of a bachelor degree - eg: a diploma or trade-level certificate, and even if you applied for your first ever student visa after November 5, 2011.

However, your qualification must be in a field which is in demand. Australia has a shortage of skilled workers in several fields including types of engineer, medic, scientist and teacher. These occupations are listed on the Skilled Occupation List. To qualify for a Graduate Work Stream visa you must pass a skills assessment in an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List. 

You must find work in a field that is the same as, or closely related to, the subject in which you gained your qualification. For example, if you gained a bachelors degree in commerce, you cannot work as a tradesman such as plumber.

What if I want to stay longer?

Australian immigration is keen to offer permanent visas to people who can contribute long-term to the economy and country. Skilled migrants wishing to work in Australia will be assessed on a points-based system with points awarded for work experience, qualifications and language proficiency. You have to first submit an Expression of Interest for a Skilled visa, via the SkillSelect process. If this is accepted, you can begin application for a full visa. There are several kinds of permanent visa but the main ones for recent graduates are:  

1. Skilled Nominated Visa (subclass 190)
This points-tested permanent visa allows skilled workers who are nominated by a state or territory government agency to live and work in Australia as a permanent resident. As well as being nominated, you must be under 50 years old, work in a field on the Skilled Occupation List and obtain a Suitable Skills assessment for the occupation.
 

2. Skilled Independent Visa (subclass 189)
If you are not nominated by a state or territory government, you can still apply as an individual. Again, you must be under 50 years old, work in an SOL occupation and obtain a Suitable Skills assessment. As with most Australian visas, your application will be judged on a points-based system, and you must obtain a certain number of points to be successful.

 3. Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186)

This visa is a permanent residence visa for skilled workers who are either being sponsored by an employer or who have been nominated by an employer who wants to offer them a permanent position. You must have been nominated by an approved Australian employer, be younger than 50 and meet the skills, qualifications and English language requirements.

For more information visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

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Photography: Koala by Jo Christian Oterhals, Australia by Google Maps

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