New Changes to the Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) in 2024

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May 26, 2024

Recently, the Australian Government announced their Migration Strategy for 2024 which outlined key changes that will affect international students. These changes aim to strengthen the quality of international education by raising standards for international students and making sure their contributions address current skill shortages. Understanding these changes is crucial for international students planning their education journey in Australia. In this blog, we will explore what changes will be made to the Graduate visa, including new English language requirements, a new age limit, reduced length of stay, post-study work extension, and temporary Graduate visa streams.

New English Language Requirements

The Migration Strategy outlines how changes to English language requirements will support international students to have a positive educational experience in Australia, and ensure a smooth transition into the workforce. The required English language test score for a Graduate visa will increase from IELTS 6 to 6.5 (or equivalent), with a minimum score of 5.5 for each test component of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. The specific English language test changes are as follows:

 

Test name Old required test score New required test score
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • An overall band score of at least 6.
  • A score of at least 5 for each test component.
  • An overall band score of at least 6.5.
  • A score of at least 5.5 for each test component.
Cambridge English: Advanced test (CAE)
  • An overall band score of at least 169.
  • A score of at least 154 for each test component.
  • An overall band score of at least 176.
  • A score of at least 162 for each test component.
Occupational English Test (OET) A score of at least B for each test component. A score of at least B for each test component.
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE)
  • An overall band score of at least 50.
  • A score of at least 36 for listening.
  • A score of at least 36 for reading.
  • A score of at least 36 for speaking.
  • A score of at least 36 for writing.
  • An overall band score of at least 57.
  • A score of at least 43 for listening.
  • A score of at least 48 for reading.
  • A score of at least 42 for speaking.
  • A score of at least 51 for writing.
Test of English as a Foreign Language internet-based test (TOEFL iBT)
  • A total overall score of at least 64.
  • A score of at least 4 for listening.
  • A score of at least 4 for reading.
  • A score of at least 14 for speaking.
  • A score of at least 14 for writing.
  • A total overall score of at least 83.
  • A score of at least 7 for listening.
  • A score of at least 8 for reading.
  • A score of at least 16 for speaking.
  • A score of at least 18 for writing.

 

In addition to the above changes, the validity of the English Language Proficiency test has been reduced from 3 years to 1 year. Applicants now need to provide evidence that they have completed an English language test within 1 year of submitting their visa application, otherwise their score will be invalid.

 

These changes apply to all Student and Graduate visa applications lodged on or after the 23rd of March 2024.

New Age Limit

To emphasise the role of emerging professionals in the Australian workforce, the age limit for Graduate visa applicants has been reduced from 50 to 35 years. This change repositions the Graduate visa as an option for early career professionals who can contribute to the economy over a longer period. It also improves the alignment of the Graduate visa with permanent residence options. As the cut off age for permanent residency in Australia is 45, many older graduates have missed the opportunity to apply for permanent residence and have been stuck in a temporary position after they finish their studies. Reducing the age limit for Graduate visa applicants will eliminate this problem and make sure that international students can still apply for permanent residency upon the completion of their studies.

 

This change applies to all Graduate visa applications lodged on or after the 1st of July 2024.

Reduced Length of Stay:

The duration of stay for international graduates will be reduced in some circumstances based on the level of qualification. The changes are as follows:

 

Level of qualification Old length of stay New length of stay
Bachelor 2 years Staying the same
Masters by Coursework 3 years 2 years
Masters by Research 3 years Staying the same
PhD 4 years 3 years

 

This change is expected to be implemented from mid-2024.

Post-Study Work Extension:

On the 1st of July 2023, an extension of 2 years was provided to certain holders of a Graduate visa. However, this Graduate visa extension has been reconsidered in the Migration Strategy, given Australia’s changing economic environment. As such, international students will no longer be able to apply for this extension when they complete their studies. Extension will only be granted for applicants completing studies in a regional area of Australia.

 

This change is expected to be implemented from mid-2024.

Temporary Graduate Visa Streams:

The Graduate visa has two streams; the Graduate Work stream and the Post-Study Work stream. These streams will be renamed as the following:

 

  • The Graduate Work stream will be renamed to the Post-Vocational Education Work stream. Applicants with a degree level qualification or higher will no longer be eligible for this stream and must apply through the Post-Higher Education Work stream.
  • The Post-Study Work stream will be renamed to the Post-Higher Education Work stream. The Seconds Post-Study Work stream will also be renamed to the Second Post-Higher Education Work stream.

 

In addition to the above changes, the Skilled Recognised Graduate visa (Subclass 476) will be discontinued. The Australian Government has set the maximum number of places for this visa at 3,735 for the 2023-2024 year. Once all of these visas have been issued, no further applications will be accepted. Fortunately, there is an alternative to this visa; the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (Subclass 491).

 

This change is expected to be implemented from mid-2024.

 

If you are an international student who is considering applying for a Graduate visa, these recent Graduate visa changes may impact you. Contact us at AustraliaMigrate for advice and assistance in relation to this visa.

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