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Successfully addressing time of application criteria for a Subclass 485 Visa

Recent legislative changes to skilled migration particularly those relating to the introduction of subclass 482 visa placed further restrictions on student visa holders’ ability to remain in Australia on completion of their studies.

The Graduate Work stream is one of the streams which is open to graduates with an eligible qualification, including those from the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector, who graduate with skills and qualifications that relate to an occupation that is considered in demand in the Australian labour market on the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL). 

To add to the burden, the complexity of subclass 485 visa lies in the fact that there are six “Schedule 1” requirements (or time of application criteria):

The following six Schedule 1 item 1229 requirements for making a valid Class VC application are self-explanatory:

  • 1229(1) (application form)
  • 1229(2) (visa application charge)
  • 1229(3)(c) (where and how application must be made)
  • 1229(3)(f) (location if applying as a family member of a Class VC visa holder)
  • 1229(3)(g) (location, all other applicants)
  • 1229(3)(h) (provision for combined application).

Whilst some of the above criteria cannot be “bypassed” for example, an applicant is required to be in Australia at the time of application, of the information can be provided once the application is lodged even if this appears to be schedule 1 requirement.  Knowledge in this field is particularly crucial if an application needs to be made urgently due to a visa expiry. 

Evidence of English

For the applicant to satisfy this clause, when the application was made it must have been accompanied by evidence that the applicant:

  • holds a passport of a type specified by legislative instrument
  • or
  • undertaken a (English) language test specified in a legislative instrument
    • conducted in the 3 years immediately before the application was made and
    • achieved the score specified by legislative instrument.

In this situation if an applicant is relying on satisfying the English language criteria by way of English language test, the Policy is clear that the applicant must have undertaken the test prior to lodgement of their 485 application.  There is no requirement for the test result to be made available at the time of application.  In instances where English language test result is provided post lodgement, the test date must pre-date lodgement of the 485-visa application. 

On average it takes approximately the following number of days to receive English test result in Australia:

  • IELTS – 13 days for screen shot results (paper based testing) and 5-7 days (computer delivered)
  • CAE – 42 days
  • OET – 16 business days 

***NB Home affairs do not accept online screen shots of the results which is what become available in 13 days with IELTS.  You need to wait for the actual certificate to arrive. That takes 28 days. **

Skills Assessment

A subclass 485 graduate work stream application must have been accompanied by evidence the primary applicant had applied to a relevant assessing authority for an assessment of their skills in their nominated skilled occupation.  The skills assessment body will depend on the occupation as listed in the ANZSCO dictionary.

To satisfy the time of application criteria, it is not necessary to provide a copy of the skills assessment result when lodging the application.  The applicant should attach to their visa application evidence of making an application to the relevant assessing authority to have their skills assessed for their nominated occupation.  This may include a test reference number or an acknowledgement of a skills assessment application.

Generally, an assessing officer will issue a request for further information to provide evidence of positive skills assessment.  An applicant will have 28 days respond to this request.  If a positive skills assessment cannot be provided within the specified period, the Department can grant further extension of 120 days.  To seek further extension, applicants need to email: SA Temporary Graduate Team, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Some relevant assessing authorities specify in their assessment letters that the assessment is valid for a specific period for visa or migration purposes.  Skills assessments that do not specify an expiry date are valid for a period of 3 years from the date of the assessment.

On average it takes approximately the following number of days to receive a positive skills assessment result in Australia:

  • TRA – 90 days
  • VETASSESS –  84 days


Applying for a skilled graduate visa a complicated, document heavy process, however in many circumstances it may be the only visa available for an applicant to remain in Australia.  Whilst time of application criteria must be addressed  in order to achieve a desired positive outcome, it is important to understand what information must be provided at the time of application as well as  the information that can be provided during the processing of the application.

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