AUSTRALIA finally clears air on POST STUDY WORK… Mostly on expected lines, though some surprises… Great News for Aussie Education…


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…

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  • semester 1 offshore
  • semester 2 onshore
  • semester 3 onshore
  • semester 4 onshore
  • semester 5 offshore
  • semester 6 onshore

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.



  1. Very interesting observations. Inclusion of broken 2 years( Graduate Diploma followed by Masters) is a welcome change, but not giving benefit to the students having started their qualification before Nov 5th 2011 should be re-considered.


  2. Professional Year requires that student must have applied for 485 visa (thereby meeting English and Skills Assessment requirements). So a student can do PY while on Bridging Visa A.

    PY cannot be done on a student visa.

    Under PSW, I believe similar arrangements will be in place (minus the nomination of an occupation, which was used for skills assessment).


      1. Sir have a packaged offer from UTS sydney 0.5 years of graduate certificate and 1.5 years of masters in engineering. Would this be counted as 2 year study?


  3. PSWR needs to be promoted to prospective employers in Australia so they understand what this type of visa is about and what the options are for them and the visa holders at the end of the 2 year year period. This will allow for students with PSWR to access some serious work opportunities in Australia. Currently, many employers continue to insist on PR from prospective candidates which will mean students with PSWR may not really benefit by working for some of the biggest and most reputed companies in Australia. If PSWR is about improving the competitiveness of Australian graduates by allowing them to work in Australia before returning to their country, employers in Australia need to be informed and educated about this visa to make it a successful initiative. Employers would be missing out on some of the best young international talent if they continue to insist on PR.


  4. if by the grant of 2 years of credit in a bachleors degree…and completing it in 1 year,followed by a 1 year of pg diploma in australia only….will it qualiffy for psw??????


  5. If i study year 12 (high school)(subclass 571) in Australia in 2012 and then continue to study Bachelor of IT in Australia (subclass 573) and will finish in 2018. Am I eligible for PSWR?


    1. If you entered Australia before the GTE checks in the student visa was introduced (I believe in 2012 November) then you may not be eligible for PSW though you may just be fine for the other 485 visa… You need to talk to a registered migration advisor. I am not a migration expert.


  6. I had a question. I’m interested in a 2 year Masters of International Business course. RPL (I did BBA earlier) gives me a credit of one semester. Hence, the entire course will become 1 and a half years long. If i do qualify for the RPL, would I not be eligible for the PSW visa?


    1. I believe that this should be fine. The FAQ on the immi site states that the 2 year course done in a minimum of 16 months is ok. However please double check. I am not a migration expert.


  7. If i study a 1.5 years post graduate course at an australian university will i get the work visa on that?


    1. My understanding is that you need to be enrolled in a degree or a linked package of degrees that is 2 years long. If a 2 year degree is completed in a little shorter period, this might be fine.


  8. Hi, I had got my student visa to study masters in Sydney in year 2008, but due to personal reasons…I wasn’t able to continue my studies and returned back to India and my student visa was cancelled. I’m planning to apply for phd in Sydney for the year 2016, will I be eligible for post study work visa?


    1. This is a tricky situation and my comments are only my opinion. I believe that you may not be eligible since your first visa was prior to November 2011. You can check with the immigration department directly by emailing them or putting comments on their site.


  9. Questions is whether the program is registered as a 2 year program. If you get a few subject credits and still complete a 2 year CRICOS program, it should be fine. This is my understanding from reading the FAQ on PSW that is on immigration site. You should study it further.


  10. Hi, I have finished Mater program in 1.5 years. I doing PhD as a 3 year program. Both of them are in Australia. Will I meet the 2-year study rules after I have completed 0.5 year of PhD program? Sorry if my question is not this topic.


  11. Hi, I lodged my first Student visa application on 31October 2011 but granted my first student visa on 27 January 2012. Am I eligible for the post-study work visa?


    1. You may need to check with the immigration on this. My gut feel is that it is driven around technicality and somewhere I had read that the words used was that the “first visa should be applied after — November 2011…)


  12. If i do a 1.5 years masters degree first then enroll in a 0.5 year graduate certificate course, will that be counted as a two year Australian study requirement for post study work visa?


  13. sir,
    I am a BSc holder in IT (full time 4 years). i would like to do a MSc or a PG in Australia. If so will i be able to get work visa after studies?


  14. Hi
    I have finished masters in June 2015 to apply 485 work visa I haven’t satisfy English requirement to stay in Australia so I have applied diploma in business and advanced diploma in business after finishing studies
    Should I eligible for 485 work visa are not


  15. Hello Ravi,
    I applied my first student visa through Global Reach in Oct 2011 but issued visa after Nov 5 2011. I completed my Masters studies, returned to home. Now I am again studying PhD later this year again in Australia. Am i eligible for PSW? If not what options are available, I will doing my PhD in education stream.

    Thank you


  16. hello Ravi,
    I already completed my 1st semester in Singapore, now I am planning to study further semester in Perth, which is exactly 1 year. Can I eligible for PSW requirements?


    1. For PSW you may have to enrol into a 2 year program atleast. This should be a degree or a combination leading to a degree. You may be able to reduce the duration due to your studies in Singapore and that might be acceptable. Please discuss with the institution and also look up the regulations on PSW (485 subclass) visa on DIBP site.


  17. Hi Ravi,

    I’m an exchange student from China and I enrolled a one-year exchange program provided by UNSW. After exchange I transferred to UNSW and will graduate from a 3-year bachelor degree after 2 more semesters study. Will the exchange program be calculated when I apply the PSW visa after my graduation? Am I eligible to apply PSWin this situation?



  18. Hi..i’m vanessa i studied in australia before and finished high school there but due to financial complications i had to go back in the philippines..11 years had past and im already 32yrs old and i never get to continue my studies at already married with 2 aunt who lives in australia offers me to go back there she will finance my studies but my concern is will i still have chance to apply for any course in australia with my case?


  19. Hi, I am enrolled in a MBA program, 12 subjects in 4 semesters. Would that comply with the study requirements for the graduate visa?


  20. I completed 52 weeks of a Non-AQF-Award study abroad program in Australia. Will these weeks be considerate as part of the 92 weeks of study? I am afraid that Non-AQF-Award courses do not comply with the study requirements..


  21. Hi, I am an international student pursuing my Master’s & have just completed my 1st year (8units).

    Since I have received 3 credit based on my offshore & onshore work experience, I am left with 5 more units to complete the course.

    Hence, the query is regarding if the credits received will create any complications while applying for TR? And if not, can I split my study load that is 3 unit in semester 1 and 2 units in semester 2 to maintain my 2-year study duration?


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