Our website is currently being updated

The 485 visa explained – what international students need to know

Last Updated: 11:38am 11 October 2021

The 485 visa explained – what international students need to know

What is the 485 visa? Why is it so important to international students studying in Australia?  At Reach Community College, these are common questions we receive from students, so we’re here to give a detailed explanation to answer any queries you have about this temporary visa!

The 485 visa provides unique opportunities for international students after they’ve completed their studies, such as working, travelling, preparing for future opportunities or even further study. Keep on reading to find out how you can apply in the future.

You may know that international students need to study in Australia for two years, and after you graduate, you are eligible to apply, but did you know that there’s actually two types of the 485 visa? Let’s have a look at the differences between each type.

First, head over to the Australian Government’s Home Affairs website here:


Click on Visas and select Working in Australia

Click on Temporary Work Visas

Select the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) link

You should bookmark the page for future reference. Here it is if you need it:


Once on the page, you can see that there’s two streams for the 485 visa:

  1. Graduate Work Stream and
  2. Post-Study Work Stream (also called the PSW visa)

This visa is described as ‘a temporary visa that allows international students to live, study and work after you have finished your studies.’ The holder can stay in Australia on a short-term basis to work, study, travel, gain work experience or prepare for future immigration opportunities.

Tip: if you hold a valid 485 visa, you don’t have work restrictions like the subclass 500 student visa! That means you can work for as many hours as you wish!

Let’s have a look at the two streams of the 485 visa: 

  1. First is the Graduate Work Stream visa, which applies to international students who have completed a course with an AQF (Australian Qualification Framework) level lower than an undergraduate degree in Australia. The length of stay for this visa is 18 months, but Hong Kong passport holders can apply for a 5-year visa.  Most students applying for this stream have completed skills and qualifications related to the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector.
  • Second is the Post Study Work (PSW) visa, which applies to Australian university bachelor’s degree holders or graduate study holders. These PSW visa applicants can study any subject they choose but must complete an undergraduate degree or higher in order to apply. With this visa, individuals can stay in Australia for two to four years, depending on the level of their study qualification.

Today, we’re going to focus on the Graduate Temporary Work Visa.  

Back on the Home Affairs website, click Graduate Work Stream and look for eligibility requirements on the right-hand side of the screen. 


This outlines the basic requirements of the Graduate Work Stream Visa, in which you must:

  1. Be under 50 years of age;
  2. Hold an eligible Australian visa;
  3. Have held a valid student visa within the last six months prior to applying for a visa;
  4. Have a qualification relevant to an occupation on the skilled occupation list (SOL);
  5. Have applied for a career skills assessment;
  6. Provide adequate health insurance for all applicants at the time of the application;
  7. Provide proof that you have applied for an AFP check (Australian Federal Police);
  8. Provide evidence of the required level of English with the application.

You would think that this is the total list of requirements, but there are actually more specific conditions to be aware of.  

Notice the tabs at the top of the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) page. Select Eligibility.


Do you notice the Details drop-down boxes on the right? These explain additional requirements for all the basic requirements listed on the left side of the page. Once you click on the details box, you will find more information about each requirement.

So, let’s understand how to ‘Meet the Australian study requirement’.

Click Details

Here you find six points that relate to meeting the Australian study requirement. We’ve listed them below.

  1. The course must be registered in CRICOS;
  2. The course must be completed successfully;
  3. The course was taught in English;
  4. The course was completed in no less than two academic years (92 weeks study);
  5. The course was completed in no less than 16 calendar months;
  6. The student must have held a valid student visa in Australia;

This list may look confusing, so we’ll explain each of the points to you.

The first point mentions CRICOS. This is an acronym meaning Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). Click the link in the first bullet point to gain a full understanding.


The link takes you to the CRICOS Australian Government website listing all the Australian providers and courses that are available for international students.

All Australian institutions that meet the registration requirements to provide education to international students are listed on the Government’s CRICOS website. By law, if an international student wants to study in Australia, the education provider and course must be listed on the CRICOS website. While this may seem confusing, it is to protect international students’ interests and provide quality education from registered providers.  

For students who want to meet the Australian study requirement, the course and education provider must be registered on CRICOS. Since this is a requirement of the Government for the 485 visa, if the educator and course are not registered on CRICOS there is no possibility to receive a positive visa outcome.

Knowing that you need an education provider and course from CRICOS, let’s see how to confirm details on the CRICOS website.

Click the link in the title bar or on the right side of the screen, Institution Search. 

As an example, we have entered our CRICOS number for Reach Community College (03940B). You can find any education provider’s CRICOS number on your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) and usually on their website.

Enter the CRICOS code and click Start Search.

Once the page loads, you can see that Reach Community College is a CRICOS registered institution. Next, let’s see what courses are available by clicking on the tab List of Courses Offered by the Institution.

On the top row, you can see it lists the Course Name, Level and Duration, in weeks.

Let’s select a course. Click on the second page and select Diploma of Civil Construction and Design to see more information about this course.

At the top of the page, you can see the CRICOS course code (106654C), VET national code (RII50520), course level (Diploma), duration (104 weeks), course language (English), and other details.

On CRICOS’s course page and register, you can confirm course registration and language of delivery and duration (104) weeks.  This exceeds the 92-week requirement for the Australian study requirement. It’s important that when choosing an education provider, you ensure they are registered on CRICOS through the information above to avoid any issues.

But wait, there are additional steps to understand more about the duration mentioned on the 485 visa criteria page. Let’s examine this further.

Open your bookmark for the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) webpage, select Eligibility and click on the Details box next to Meet the Australian study requirement. The below information will be shown.

We need to verify our selected course on CRICOS’s website to make sure the duration meets the Australian Study Requirement. Simply look for the row of information that shows ‘Duration (weeks)’ and remember its length. If it’s 92 weeks or more, then you meet the requirement. 

Above, we’ve highlighted a section: ‘You can take longer to complete your course, but you will only be credited with the number of weeks that CRICOS determines as the standard duration.’  

In the example they have given, if you take 92 weeks to successfully complete a course that CRICOS says should take 78 weeks, you will only receive credit for 78 weeks. You can’t extend your course to meet the 92-week requirement.

Also, if you fail any subjects, they won’t count towards the 92-week duration requirement. 

If you realise that your course duration is less than the 92-week requirement, you should discuss this with a professional to understand your options. If you still have time before you apply, you should make sure your course meets the 92-week requirement.

Next, let’s get a better understanding of the 16-calendar month requirement.

This concept is relatively simple. You cannot complete your 92-week course in less than 16 calendar months. There are some providers who allow students to shorten their duration through what’s called a ‘fast-track’ option, but just make sure that if you select this option, you don’t reduce your total duration below 16 months, or you’ll run into duration requirement issues when applying for the 485 Graduate Work Visa.

As a general rule, students who choose a course that has a duration of 92 weeks can meet the requirements of the 16 calendar months.

What about credit transfer from another CRICOS completed course? Most credit transfers reduce the amount of time to complete a course, so students should be careful as this may impact the duration and, therefore, the Australian Study Requirement when applying for the 485 visa.

Credit transfers are a great way to reduce your duration, but just make sure you still meet the 16 calendar months requirement.

Example: if a student has received course credit from another CRICOS registered institution, they can use the credits towards the new course, even if they did not receive a qualification for the first course. The actual period of study (credit transfer and main course combined) may then be used to meet the 16-month requirement.

If, however, your study credits shorten the amount of time you physically studied your course in Australia to less than 16 calendar months, then you may not meet the Australian requirement.

If you are concerned that this is the case, you can:

  1. Have the education provider cancel the credits and complete the subjects needed for the qualification, or
  2. Complete extra units in order to meet the 16-calendar month requirement.

Next, we will look at the Completion Date Requirement. Did you know that you must apply for the 485 Temporary Graduate Work Visa within six months of the date of your course completion? We’ll show you how to know when the last date to apply is. This oversight is sometimes an unfortunate reason to become ineligible to apply.

Institutions usually provide graduates with a Completion Letter which specifies the date you have met the academic requirement for your qualification. The Department of Home Affairs will accept this letter as proof of course completion. Just for good measure, we have included a link below that shows a list of other acceptable forms to prove the course completion date.


At any point, you can contact your sales manager within Reach Community College or our Student Support Team if you need help understanding how to meet the Australian Study Requirement.

With the knowledge on how to “Meet the Australian study requirement”, let’s look at the next requirement in the application process towards the 485 Graduate Work stream visa.

The second challenge is to understand how to: ‘Have skills and qualifications that Australia needs’.

Just like before, we need to select the Details box on the right to see the additional requirements and information.

It mentions that a student will need to:

  • ‘nominate one occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)’
  • have a qualification that is closely related to that occupation
  • be assessed to prove you have the skills suitable for that occupation.

So, what is the MLTSSL? How do students nominate an occupation? Which occupation should they choose? Where do I look for information?

Let’s tackle these one at a time, starting with finding a corresponding occupation on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). 

There is a link in the first bullet point.  Click on this to go to the list:


Scroll down until you see legislative instrument and click on it.

Once on the Legislative Instrument page, look for a link next to the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485), Specification of Occupations and Assessing Authorities.

Here we’ve have found the complete list of occupations related to our 485 Temporary Graduate 485 visa. You’ll notice that the list is quite comprehensive and includes a list of assessment agencies. With this list, you can confirm whether your skills and qualification match the occupations that Australia needs.

When you look carefully, you’ll notice that the list is split into medium and long-term occupations and short-term occupations. If you are applying for a 485 Graduate Work Visa, you must have an occupation in the medium to long term list, not in the short-term list. Let’s look below for more information:

Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List

Short-term Skilled Occupation List

By looking at the list, we can see the numbered occupations on the left with corresponding ANZSCO codes and assessing authorities. As you can see, each occupation has different evaluating/assessing authorities which verify whether students meet the skills and requirements of the course. This is a validation of the skills, knowledge, and placement.

There are a few assessing authorities like: VETASSESS, TRA, AIM and others. For students seeking to nominate the occupation: civil engineering draftsperson, the corresponding occupational assessment agencies are VETASSESS or Engineers Australia.

Now that you have some understanding of the Australian Strategic Skills List (also known as Skilled Occupation List (SOL)), students applying for a 485 visa need to be aware of the nomination of their career on the application. Just a reminder that the occupation of choice and its corresponding qualification needs to be on the medium to long term list.

Let’s move on to the assessing authority in Australia and what the common assessment agencies are.

For students applying for a temporary visa for 485 graduates, the most common assessment agencies are:

When students apply for a 485 Temporary Graduate visa, they need to have applied for a skills assessment through various assessing authorities. As mentioned, each assessment authority corresponds to the nominated occupation and qualification. These authorities will confirm whether you can complete skills assessment once contacted.

To minimise confusion, let’s go through some examples to see how to choose an occupation and the corresponding course.

Reach Community College have a list of courses that correspond to current mid to long-term occupations, including their duration, so students can have a guide on which qualification to choose when looking to apply for the 485 visa in the future.

Course name and codeCRICOS CodeNominated occupationCourse LengthCampus
SIT40516 – Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery105422EChef104 weeksTAS
Package: RII50520 – Diploma of Civil Construction Design + RII60520 Advanced Diploma of Construction Design  106653D + 106655BCivil Engineering Draftsperson104 weeksTAS
AUR30320 – Certificate III in Automotive Electrical Technology105385EAutomotive electrician92 weeksTAS
AUR30620 – Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology105382HMotor mechanic (general)92 weeksTAS

Looking at the table, you can see that the selected courses meet the occupation requirement as well as the 92-week CRICOS registration duration when applying for the 485 Graduate Temporary Work Visa. You may want to check for yourself, but how?

By going to the authority assessor’s website, we can see qualifications and occupations in the table above. Let’s go to Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) https://www.tradesrecognitionaustralia.gov.au/

Go to their Frequently Asked Question Page by selecting FAQS.

Select Migration Skills Assessment

Find the question:

  • What is the relevant Australian qualification for my nominated occupation?’

There is a link to a PDF which you should click to download the file and see a complete list of Australian Qualifications by occupation.

We’ve also included the link below:


Here you can see the ANZSCO (Australia New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations) code, occupation (job) names, qualification (course) names, and qualification codes all recognised by the Trades Recognition Australia (TRA). 

Start by checking the qualification code against the selected course. As an example, we’ve chosen RII50520 – Diploma of Civil Construction Design. Copy the qualification code RII50520 located on the righthand side of the list. 

Head back to the table that outlines Reach Community College’s qualifications and occupations which can be used to apply for the 485 visa located on the list of current mid to long-term occupations. Remember that this list has all the official nomination occupations, qualifications as well as the names of the assessment bodies, which can be verified in the legislative instruments on a case-by-case basis. Look at the MLTSSL list (Skilled Occupation List) and the corresponding qualification codes and qualifications shown below.

SIT40516 – Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery; TRA

AUR30320 – Certificate III in Automotive Electrical Technology; TRA

AUR30620 – Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology; TRA

RII50520 – Diploma of Civil Construction Design; Engineers Australia VETASSESS

RII60520 Advanced Diploma of Construction Design; Engineers Australia VETASSESS

As you can see, these qualifications from Reach Community College can be found in the list of medium and long-term occupation list. Upon completion of one of these courses, you will be able to apply for a skills assessment at the corresponding vocational assessment body. 

Now, let’s see how you can find more information about Reach Community College qualifications through the CRICOS website.

Head back to the CRICOS website and click on the CRICOS Institution Code and enter Reach’s CRICOS code: 03904B

Click on the list of courses offered by the Institution:

You can see that there are two pages of vocational qualifications registered on CRICOS.  When you choose to apply for a course, you can refer to this page when deciding on the occupation and course required to apply for a 485 visa. 

Now we’ll go through an example of looking at the information of a specific course. On the second page, click on RII50520 – Diploma of Civil Construction Design.

Once the course is located, click on it to find further details, including the qualification level, the language of delivery, duration, and location.

Once again, you can see that this course is registered in three locations across Australia and has a duration of 104 weeks, meeting the duration requirement mentioned earlier.

Copy the VET National Code (RII50520). Click on the CRICOS logo in the top right of the screen.  Click on the course search and paste the code into the box and click search.

Now you can see that there are only four colleges in Australia that offer this course, one of which is Reach Community College.

As an example, let’s check the locations for the third provider, Site Institute Pty Ltd. When we click on the college, we can see under course locations that it’s in Brisbane, Queensland.

Now, click on Reach Community College.

This course is taught in Tasmania, (Hobart).

As we know that there are three other providers registered on CRICOS. B, by checking through all four providers, we can easily understand that Reach Community College is the only college that delivers RII50520 – Diploma of Civil Construction Design in Tasmania.

By following these steps, you can check any course you that would like to find out more information.

Let’s move on to our next topic. For those who are in the process of applying for the 485 visa, note the highlighted text below, which states: ‘You must provide evidence when you apply that you have at least applied for a skills assessment or we cannot process your visa application.’

While many may believe that you need the result(s) of a skills assessment, this is not required by the Australian Government. You only need to provide evidence that you have applied for a skills assessment.

Now you know more about the medium and long-term occupation list and its assessment agencies. If you would like to apply for a 485 temporary graduate visa, you can follow the steps we have talked about to select the nominated occupation in the list of courses and check with the associated assessing body for the correct skills assessment.

Another requirement we have not mentioned is the English requirement, ‘Have this passport or this level of English language’. Once you click on the Details box, you can see that the requirement is IELTS 6 with no individual band less than 5. If, however, you have taken another test such as TOEFL ibt, or PTE Academic, the relevant requirements can be found through the links in the list.

Now that we are near the end of this article, let’s go over some changes that have been made due to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Students currently applying for a student visa or a future program can start or continue their course by remote learning with Reach Community College;
  2. Overseas/online learning will be calculated into the 92-week duration requirement of CRICOS registered course. Graduation will not be delayed because of the global pandemic or distance learning.
  3. As a result of the above, students can still meet the requirements for applying for a 92-week CRICOS registration course for the 485 temporary work visa.
  4. Students can even apply for a 485 temporary graduate work visa overseas if they have completed all their course(s) and the Australian border remains closed due to the pandemic.
  5. Students applying abroad may not be subject to the six-month restriction before they apply for the 485 visa.
    1. For those who are unable to return to Australia to submit their applications due to travel restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, the time for applying for a 485 visa within six months of graduation is extended to 12 months after completion of your course;
  6. The validity of the 485 visa (18 months to 5 years (Hong Kong passport holder) is calculated from the day the visa holder enters Australia.

Essentially, due to the current global pandemic, if a student completes an online qualification and is currently located overseas and meets the requirements to be able to apply, they can apply for the temporary work visa 485 while still abroad. Many students are not applying for the 485 visa because they are worried that the duration of the 485 visa will be shortened, however, the visa validity period is calculated from the date of the visa holder lands in Australia. So, don’t hold off on applying for your 485 visa. Apply now if you meet the requirements!

If you are interested in reading up more about this, details can be found in the legislative instruments section on the Australian Government website:


You now hopefully have a better understanding of the process that a student must go through in order to appropriately choose a qualification that leads to the 485 temporary graduate visa. 

We’ve outlined the process of course selection, verification of the course’s duration on CRICOS, corresponding occupation and validation of the associated assessment body. All of these relate directly to the requirements needed to submit an appropriate application for the 485 temporary work visa.

So, what are you waiting for? Talk with a Reach Community College sales manager now to start your career today!

Learn more about our courses through our website: https://reachcollege.edu.au/courses/

Click the button below to consult our Sales Team

*The information within this post is correct at the time of publication. For the most up to date information, please refer to the Australian Government’s Home Affairs website. Reach Community College does not commit to securing migration or education assessment outcomes for overseas students. We strongly advise that you consult with a registered migration agent if you require more specific information.