The wait for information and more information is now over and DIAC has prepared the final set of details. Under Australia’s legislative system, regulations must be approved by the Governor-General. This should be read as a proposed set of arrangements for the Governor-General’s consideration in due course. Which should happen “shortly”.
DIAC’s Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) Visa now has two streams – the Graduate Work Stream and the (new) Post-Study Work Stream.
The new information from DIAC can be found on the following links…
December 2012 FAQ from DIAC on PSW:
Also refer to the details on the new 485 visa category:
The comments below are only my initial observations and you may not use it as a professional advise.
My reading of the details indicate that contrary to earlier understanding, the following may apply…
- Packaging which contribute to the final award where the final award is an eligible program is acceptable. Great news indeed. My reading shows that one who does a 1 year Graduate Diploma and then takes that into a 2 year Masters where they have to only study for 1 years due to packaging may just be fine. This is only one example and there are several other such combinations. However one who has done a 1 year Masters and then studies a 1 year diploma may not be fine as this packaging is not leading to an eligible final qualification.
- Period of studies done overseas that reduces the duration of the studies in Australia mayn’t be counted. However RPL on its own doesn’t disqualify anyone if the studies in Australia is still of 2 academic years done in 16 months minimum.
So who is not happy…
- Students who got their “first student visa” prior to 5th November 2011 are not eligible for the PSW by any means or combinations. They will not be happy and there are many such in Australia currently midway in their studies. I personally feel that this is not a fair decision as these degree students chose Australia over 2010 and 2011, when the sentiments for Aussie degrees were on a negative. The saving grace is that the options for the Temporary Graduate Visa are still available to them.
- Also envious will be UK Universities which have lost out the PSW appeal to the UK education. Aussie Education will indeed be able to shine past the competition.
I have also been shared with the following detailed FAQ based on the advise received from DIAC.
New post-study work arrangements
Queries and scenarios from Universities Australia
|Eligibility of visa|
|Will students whose initial visas are granted before 5/11/2011 but extended after November 2011 be eligible for PSWV in early 2013?||The new post-study work arrangements will only be available to those students who lodged their first Student visa application on or after 5 November 2011. Other students may be eligible to apply for the Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485) through the Graduate Work stream.|
|Can access to PSWV be granted based on study undertaken pre and post GTE coming into effect?||Please see above.|
|574 packaged visa granted pre November 2011 but an academic preparation course or any qualifying program finished after November 2011 when actual research program commenced – should this student be given special consideration or access to transitional arrangements? If not, could the student exit on completion of current preparation program (EAP) and apply for the principal course again? Rationale in Knight was that students caught by the transitional period should be treated as generously as possible.||Please see above.|
|A significant number of international PhD students have commenced a 4 year PhD with some universities from mid- 2011 onwards. Given that they will have immediate access to the new extension of eCoE if required for the marking of their thesis (under the changes brought in from the Knight Review) which will be submitted at the end of 2015, it would seem unjust to not include access to the post study work visa for these students. They will have undertaken in excess of 3 years of study since this new visa became established. Could consideration be given to PhD students in this regard?||Please see above.|
|Australian study requirement|
|Does the proposed duration of 92 weeks relate to the study period, calendar year or another measure?||The 92 week component of the Australian study requirement relates to the duration of the course as registered on CRICOS. Please see the Australian study requirement factsheet for further detail.|
|If a student is granted advanced standing of one semester but is enrolled in a 92 week course will they be eligible for a PSW?||Credit granted on the basis of study undertaken in Australia in an eligible course registered with CRICOS may contribute towards meeting the Australian study requirement, but only once. Please see the Australian study requirement factsheet for further detail.|
|A student commences their degree with a university in 2012. They need to return home after 1.5 years and they have to apply for a new visa to recommence their program. At the completion of their program they are awarded their degree – however their most recent visa was for 1.5 years. Does the length of the gap make any difference to whether or not the student can access this visa?||The two academic year component is a measure of the amount of study undertaken, not the length of time taken to complete the study. The Australian study requirement does not have to be met as a result of consecutive study.|
|Will DIAC consider the number of units studied or only the length of the course as different courses have different structures and different units have different weightings? A shift from a duration measure (i.e. 2 years) to an academic study load measure (e.g. the student must complete two thirds of the program in Australia with the provider) would provide some flexibility for students and universities.||The two academic year component of the Australian study requirement relates to the duration of the course as registered on CRICOS. Please see the Australian study requirement factsheet for further detail.|
|A student who is enrolled at the University for 92-weeks but spends 1 semester on an overseas exchange. Are the weeks overseas deducted from the 92-week enrolment at the University? How will ELICOS only and student exchange/study abroad students be treated? It is important that enrolment at the institution is the measure of duration, not location as this will be a disincentive for international students to undertake mobility programs while they are here. Study abroad contributes significantly to the skills and experience of international students, improves their settlement prospects and chances of securing employment and therefore supports the aims of the Australian Study Requirement.||Study undertaken outside Australia does not contribute to the Australian study requirement. However, if a student undertook some study overseas but nevertheless completed at least two academic years of study in no less than 16 calendar months while in Australia in a CRICOS registered course, they can still meet the Australian study requirement.In this scenario, the study undertaken overseas would be deducted from the total duration of the course as registered on CRICOS.As a further example, an applicant who undertook a 3 year, 6 semester Bachelor degree in the following pattern would have completed 2 academic years study in Australia:
The pattern of study does not matter as long as the Australian study requirement is met.
Only study that results in the conferral of a degree, diploma or trade qualification will be considered against the Australian study requirement.
|Concerning the postgraduate Diploma in teaching and the Master in teaching for which students spend a total of 2 years in Australia, it seems under the old skilled migration rules this period of time didn’t meet one of the eligibility criteria but under the new PSWV it may.||For the purposes of applying for a subclass 485 under the Post-Study Work stream, all study at AQF Level 7 or above (Bachelor degree level or above) that leads to the conferral of an eligible degree level qualification may be considered against the Australian study requirement.|
|Combination of courses|
|If a student undertakes a Bachelors in 1.5 years (professionally qualified applicants) followed by a 12 month Masters will they be eligible for a PSWV? Similarly, what about a student completing the last year of a Bachelor degree followed by a one year Master program?||Applicants may satisfy the requirements for the new post-study work arrangements on the basis of any combination of eligible degree level qualifications.|
|In order to qualify for the 2 year post study work permit, will students be allowed to take two consecutive one year Masters (potentially with different CRICOS codes)? Many universities have postgraduate master degrees of varying duration, such as eighteen months or 12 months. Where a course has been registered specifically on CRICOS as a Master’s, does the work visa reflect what is on CRICOS or a straight two year work visa?||Please see above.The validity of the subclass 485 granted under the Post-Study Work stream will be contingent on the level of qualification attained, as specified on CRICOS.|
|Will the professional year programs be considered an eligible program for PSWV, for example a 1 year Master followed by a recognised Engineering Professional Year? These are currently available to Engineers, Accountants and IT Professionals; good examples are the Navitas professional programs.||No. The Professional Year Program has no relationship to the subclass 485 application process.|
|If a student enrolls with a university after completing a proportion of their degree i.e. 1.5 years with another Australian university which they commenced in 2012. The receiving university gives them credit for their previous study and they complete 1.5 years of study and are awarded their degree at the end of 2014. Can this student who has studied for 3 years in Australia at two separate institutions but at the same degree level access this visa?||If an applicant transfers to another education provider who gives them credit for study undertaken at the previous education provider, then this study may be considered towards the Australian study requirement.Please refer to the Australian study requirement factsheet for further detail on credits and exemptions.Please note: To access the new post-study work arrangements, all courses used to satisfy the Australian study requirement must have been undertaken at an eligible Australian university or other education provider accredited to offer degree level programs.|
|Packaged courses – onshore|
|Are Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma students who package with Masters courses and processed under streamlined visa processing eligible for PSWV? Some universities offer a 2 year postgraduate double degree package which is a Graduate Diploma in Professional Practice followed by a Master’s Program which is directly linked to the specialisation taken in the Grad Dip. Students receive credit for 4 courses from the Grad Dip once they enrol in the Master’s program so this results in a 1+1 (2 year full time) package. Graduate Diplomas should be included as an eligible program especially with the new AQF changes being imminent which will see changes to both program structure and duration in the foreseeable future.||To be eligible for the new post-study work arrangements, applicants must have obtained a Bachelor degree, Masters by coursework degree, Masters by research degree or Doctoral degree. All study undertaken at AQF Level 7 or above (Bachelor degree level or above), which leads to the conferral of one of these eligible degree level qualifications, may be considered towards meeting the Australian study requirement. This means that degree level courses that are packaged with a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma course may be eligible, provided that the total duration of study satisfies the Australian study requirement.|
|Will students who are studying with one of our partner high schools, and have received a packaged offer for high school + a Bachelor’s degree at a university be able to access the PSWV?||Study undertaken at an Australian high school cannot be considered against the Australian study requirement. In this scenario, the applicant would need to qualify for the new post-study work arrangements on the basis of completing a Bachelors degree and meet the other requirements for grant of a visa.|
|Packaged courses – offshore|
|A large number of pathway students enroll at universities from offshore university partners who complete 1.5 years of a Bachelor’s degree and are awarded our degree on the basis of credit recognition of their home university degree. A number of these students stay on with us to complete a Master’s program for 1.5 years. Their total study time with us is 3 years and they will have gained 2 consecutive awards from us. Could consideration be given to allow access to this visa for these pathway students as their studies are in the spirit of the intent of the visa?||Study undertaken while not physically present in Australia cannot be used to satisfy the Australian study requirement. However, if a student undertook some study overseas but nevertheless completed at least two academic years of study in no less than 16 calendar months while in Australia in a CRICOS registered course, they can still meet the Australian study requirement.In this scenario, the applicant would need to qualify for the new post-study work arrangements on the basis of the qualifications attained in Australia and meet the other requirements for grant of a visa.|
|3 years bachelor degree offshore with an overseas partner institution + 1 year study abroad at our University (obtaining a bachelor degree from the offshore university) followed by a 1 year or 1.5 year Master studied onshore at our University – is the student eligible for a PSWV?||Please see above.|
|Conditions and restrictions|
|Is it possible to change back to a student visa? Would a PSWV be granted once in a lifetime only, or could it be granted on completion of further studies again (e.g. granted once after 572 undergraduate course then progress to research degree few years later – could work rights be granted again on completion of each different category/criteria?)||Students will only be able to access the subclass 485 as a primary applicant once. If a subclass 485 visa holder seeks to apply for a Student visa, they must meet the requirements for grant of that visa at the time they make their application. Regardless of whether their application for a student visa is successful, they will be unable to apply for a second subclass 485.|
|A holder is granted work permit for 2 years, but needs to return home urgently for family reasons for an extended time – could the permit be suspended or cancelled, and could not be applied again in future?||The subclass 485 is a temporary visa that is granted for a specified period of time. Visas cannot be suspended.|
|Will DIAC be monitoring if students are using PSWV to gain professional work experience in a field related to their study and prevent the opportunity for a working holiday?||No. Subclass 485 visa holders have no work or study restrictions.|
|Could dependants be added to this permit subsequently, say if holder gets married or in de-facto relationship during their stay in Australia?||Subsequent entrants may be added to the subclass 485 visa.|
|Does DIAC have any concerns with students who may apply and receive 2 years credit, then complete one year equivalent of study over a 2 year period i.e. slowing down their progress in order to access work rights?||The two academic year component is a measure of the amount of study undertaken, not the length of time taken to complete the study. As such, this arrangement would not meet the Australian study requirement.|
|Subclass 485 visas|
|Impact on 485 – is the work permit designated to replace 485 visas? If so when will the 485 be phased out? Will students graduating in July 2012 and Dec 2012 still be eligible for 485 visas?||The new post-study work arrangements will operate as a new stream of the subclass 485. The existing subclass 485 arrangements will remain available for other eligible students through the Graduate Work stream.|
|Expected processing time for PSWV, and conditions of bridging visas, if applicable – at which point should they apply and what happens to the student while they wait for the PSWV to be approved? Will they be on a bridging visa with unlimited work rights?||Subclass 485 applicants are granted a bridging visa which permits work when they make their visa application.Information about processing times for the new Post-Study Work stream of the subclass 485 will be available closer to implementation.|
|PRISMS – does not allow bulk uploads therefore notification of completion through PRISMS would result in high workloads (looking up and actioning thousands of records on PRISMS). We suggest the current practice of students providing an official statement of completion to DIAC continues.||Subclass 485 applicants will be required to submit a completion letter and any relevant academic transcripts with their visa application.|
Note: Under Australia’s legislative system, regulations must be approved by the Governor-General. The information provided explains how the department intends the post-study work arrangements to operate. This should be read as a proposed set of arrangements for the Governor-General’s consideration in due course.