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485 Post Study Work Stream Visa

The Post Study Work stream of the 485 subclass visa or PSWV is a work visa lasting between 2 and 4 years. Students must study at a Bachelor, Masters or Doctorate level, at a minimum of at least 2 academic years.

The 485 visa is a great option for students wanting to extend their stay in Australia after their studies. Additionally, visa holders wanting to remain in Australia on a permanent basis can do so through General Skilled Migration or employer sponsorship.

No occupations lists are created for the Post Study Work Visa, as the specialised areas are not relevant, as long as your studies are at the correct level.

A skills assessment is not required for the post study work visa, while it poses full work rights, and also full study rights.

The visa allows you to travel to and from Australia completely unrestricted during the validity of the visa.

485 visas are currently taking 2-3 months to process for a complete application.

VALIDITY PERIOD The duration of the visa depends on which studies have been completed as follows:
  • PhD: 4 years
  • Masters by Research: 3 years
  • Masters by Coursework or Bachelor Degree: 2 years
First Student Visa Requirement You can only qualify for a Post Study Work Visa if you have applied for and been granted your first student visa on or after 5 November 2011. If you have held a student visa which you applied for prior to 5 November 2011, then you are not eligible. This would include situations where you have studied and returned to your home country, have held a visa to study non-award courses or English courses, or even if you held a student visa as a dependent. Even if you hold a student visa which you did apply for on or after 5 November 2011, you will still be ineligible if you have held a student visa which you applied for prior to this date. Note that it is the date you applied for the visa which is critical, not the date of grant. If you made a student visa application prior to 5 November 2011 but it was not approved (eg due to refusal or because you withdrew your application), then you may still be eligible.
AUSTRALIAN STUDY REQUIREMENTS You must complete a course or series of courses in Australia which take at least 2 academic years. There are a number of requirements:
  • Only studies at the Bachelor, Masters or Doctorate level count towards the 2 years requirement
  • The studies must be registered on CRICOS (see, and the total registered study period according to CRICOS must be at least 92 weeks
  • If you have exemptions due to overseas studies, these may count against you when calculating the 92 week requirement
  • You can count more than one course, providing each course meets the above requirements and results in 2 academic years of study
  • You can have a break in between studies
ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS You will need to establish your English language ability when you lodge your 485 visa application. You can show this in one of the following ways:
  • Hold a passport from the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada or New Zealand; or
  • IELTS (Academic or General Training): overall average of 6 and at least 5 in each band; or
  • Occupational English Test (OET): B Pass in each band; or
  • Pearson (PTE Academic): overall average of 50 with at least 36 in each band; or
  • TOEFL iBT (Internet Based Test): total score of 64, with at least 4 in Listening and Reading, and at least 14 in Writing and Speaking; or
  • Cambridge (CAE): 169 overall average with at least 154 in each band.
Note that from 18 April 2015, average band scores apply with lower minimum scores apply to most English tests for the purposes of 485 visas.
HEALTH INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS You will need to show that you have adequate arrangements for health insurance when your 485 visa is granted. Whilst it is OK to have OSHC (Overseas Student Health Cover) at the time of application, you will need Working Visa cover for approval of your 485 visa. You also need to maintain your Working Visa cover whilst you hold your 485 visa. If you do not maintain this level of cover, your 485 visa might be cancelled.
HEALTH CHECK You would generally need to do medicals for grant of a 485 visa. If you’ve recently applied for a student visa extension, you may be able to re-use these medicals.
POLICE CHECKS You will need an Australian Federal Police (AFP) Check for yourself and any members of your family aged 16 or over. You must apply for the AFP checks prior to lodgement of your 485 visa. Note that from February 2015, police checks for countries you have lived in outside Australia are no longer required.
TIME LIMITS You must apply for your 485 visa within 6 months of completion of your Australian studies. You must either hold a student visa when you apply, or to have held a student visa within the last 6 months. You must also make sure that you apply prior to expiry of your student visa, or at least have applied for another visa and are on a bridging A or B visa when the 485 application is lodged.
BRIDGING VISA When you apply for your 485 visa, you would in general receive a Bridging A visa allowing you to remain in Australia during processing of your 485 visa application. The Bridging A visa has full work rights. If you held a substantive visa (eg student visa) when you apply for your 485, the work rights on the bridging visa will come into effect when the substantive visa expires. The Bridging A visa may cease if you depart Australia. If you wish to travel whilst waiting for a decision on your 485 visa, you may wish to apply for a Bridging B visa to facilitate your travel.