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Correct as at 22 February 2023

On 21 February 2023, the Australian Government announced a a two-year extension to post-study work rights for international graduates with eligible Australian qualifications. This is welcome news for Australia’s international students that have graduated from an Australian higher education provider, as well as their Australian employers. By increasing the time that graduates of Australian bachelor, masters and doctoral degrees can remain and work in Australia, the Government seeks to address the ongoing skills shortage in key industries and to rebuild the international education sector. Examples of those who are eligible for the extension include international students who have graduated with Australian bachelors or masters degrees and hold qualifications as dental professionals, engineers, pharmacists, registered nurses, surgeons, teachers, and web and system specialists. PhD graduates in any discipline are also eligible for the two-year extension.


In a joint media release The Hon Clare O’Neil MP and The Hon Jason Clare MP, the Australian Government have announced a two-year extension to post-study work rights for subclass 485 (Temporary Graduate) visa holders.

These extended work rights will come into effect from 1 July 2023.

However, the two-year extension is only available to international graduates with select degrees that are in areas of verified skill shortage, extending the subclass 485 visa validity from:

  • two years to four years for select Bachelor degrees
  • three years to five years for select Masters degrees
  • four years to six years for all Doctoral degrees

Eligible graduates with a valid subclass 485 visa on 1 July 2023, or who apply for a subclass 485 visa on or after 01 July 2023, will be considered for the two-year extension.

At the announcement, The Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neill said that: ‘enabling students that gain an education in Australia to stay longer and contribute to our economy benefits us all.”

An indicative list of eligible occupations and related qualifications eligible for the extension has been released. Note that this is only an indicative list which may be subject to change as the Government reviews targeted skills in demand on an annual basis. Applicants should refer to the published list, once released, to confirm their eligibility.

Transitional Arrangements

The Australian Government has also announced transitional arrangements for Post-Study Work Stream (subclass 485) visa holders whose visa expired or will expire between 1 September 2022 and 30 June 2023, as well as those subclass 485 visa holders who remained in Australia contributing to the economy during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

These subclass 485 visa holders may be eligible for the subclass 408 (COVID-19 Pandemic event) visa with a two-year stay period.

This subclass 408 visa gives the holder unlimited work rights.

To be eligible, the applicant must be working in Australia or have an offer of employment and must apply for the subclass 408 (Pandemic event) visa within 90 days before their subclass 485 visa expires, or within 28 days after their subclass 485 visa expires. Please review the Department of Home Affairs website for further eligibility requirements.

The Minister for Education Jason Clare, enthusiastically endorsed the announcement stating that: “as well as delivering the skills and qualifications Australia needs, the measure will make Australia more attractive as a study destination, helping the recovery of the international education sector and boosting earnings from Australia’s education exports.”

For more detail, the Australian Government has released a Post-study work rights factsheet.

We expect the Australian Government to announce further details of these arrangements as 1 July 2023 approaches.

Please do not hesitate to reach out should you have any questions concerning the above.