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Looming deadline for student visa holders

March 15th holds particular significance to many international students who have recently completed their studies.  This date in most cases signals expiry of their student visa.  By now most students would have completed their studies and received or about to receive their qualification.  These bright individuals are about to enter the next chapter of their journey living in Australia.  Naturally, the question on the minds of student visas holders wishing to remain in Australia and their employer where applicable is “Where to from here?”

If you are employing a student visa holder, there certain considerations to bear in mind:

  • Have you conducted a VEVO check and kept record on file;
  • Can you document the number of hours worked by student visa holder during the study session;
  • When is the visa due to expire, it may not necessarily be March 15th; and,
  • What visa options are available to continue employing a student visa holder

If you are a holder of a student visa, it is worthwhile considering whether:

  • You intend to continue to study in Australia
  • An employer can sponsor you
  • Permanent residence an option
  • You complied with conditions imposed on your visa

With over 100 visa categories to choose from, there are a number of visa options but it is important to get it right to avoid disappointment.  With this in mind, student visa holders generally consider the following immigration pathways upon completion of their studies:

Option 1) Temporary Graduate - Subclass 485 Visa

Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) lets students live, study and work in Australia temporarily after finishing their studies. This is a temporary visa.  Students are only able to access the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) once as a primary applicant.  This visa offers a platform to gain further employment experience in order to qualify for subsequent visas such as General Skilled Migration (more on this topic later). 

In order to apply, an applicant will need to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be under 50 at the time of application
  • Be in Australia
  • Hold eligible visa
  • Meet study and English language requirements
  • Have recently graduated with either an eligible qualification or with skills and qualifications that relate to an occupation on the skilled occupation list (SOL).

Option 2) Temporary Work Skilled Visa (Subclass 457)

The Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457) allows skilled workers to work in Australia and work for an approved business for a period of up to four years. If you are a student currently undertaking skilled work, you must be sponsored by an approved business to qualify for this visa. A business can sponsor someone for this visa if they cannot find an Australian citizen or permanent resident to do the skilled work.

It is a three-stage process:

  1. Australian employer applies to become a Standard Business Sponsor
  2. Australian employer nominates the position within their company that they wish to have filled by you
  3. Subclass 457 visa application. The visa would be valid for four years when/if granted.

Subclass 457 visa may also open up pathway for you to permanent residency and subsequently Australian Citizenship.

Option 3) General Skilled Migration

General skilled Migration is suitable to eligible students who wish to remain in Australia on a permanent basis.  It is points tested visa which requires individuals to satisfy the following eligibility criteria:

  • nominate an occupation that is on the relevant skilled occupation list
  • obtain a suitable skills assessment for that occupation
  • be under 50 years of age
  • achieve relevant English test score

Above are just some of the visa options which may allow a student visa holder to remain in Australia beyond expiry of their current visa.

With March 15th being less than a month away, this is the time to get all your ducks in a row.  If you are on a student visa, it is worthwhile starting to consider your visa options and also seeking advice to map out an immigration strategy based on your individual circumstances.  If you are employing student visa holder it is important that as an employer, you know and understand the implications, determine which visa options may be available and whether company sponsorship is something that can be offered to your employee.

For further information including immigration advice and assistance relating to visa options which may be available please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call +61 2 9283 6500.

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