Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge has announced “COVID-19 Concessions” to Migration Regulations 1994 to aid visa holders stranded outside Australia effective Sept. 19, 2020. This includes concessions for those applying for the Subclass 485 and Subclass 887 visas, aimed at international graduates and skilled workers respectively, especially those on the pathway to permanent residency.

The Australian government began granting student visas again in July but has yet to welcome international students back since it enforced COVID-19 travel restrictions. However, those who study online remotely can still apply for and receive the Temporary Graduate visa from outside Australia. This post-study work visa is a major pull for international students to pursue higher education in the country.

Here’s a closer look at the updates for Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate visa applicants.

A woman walks past signage for Australian universities in Melbourne’s central business district on June 10, 2020. Source: William West/AFP

You can receive the visa from outside Australia

Once you have your visa, you would be ready to enter Australia as soon as border restrictions ease up, or if you are approved for a travel exemption. Migration agent Navjot Kailay confirmed with SBS that your visa duration will start from the date you enter Australia, not the day you are granted the visa.

You can apply later than six months after your student visa expires

Applicants would no longer need to hold a student visa in the six months prior to applying for the 485 visa. Plus, you now have 12 months to meet the Australian Study Requirement for this visa type. This means you can apply for it within 12 months from the time you completed your course.

Bear in mind that all changes above only apply to applicants who were offshore for all, part of, or a portion of the period beginning Feb. 1, 2020, and Sept. 19, 2020.

Separately, the Australian government’s long-awaited pilot programme to bring back 300 international students has received a verbal pre-Christmas deadline. Read more here.

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This temporary graduate visa is a pathway to permanent residency in Australia