Subclass 485 Visa Graduate Work Stream

Subclass 485 Visa grant in Graduate Work stream for study related to occupation in demand in Australia.

Temporary Graduate Visa 485 Graduate Work Stream Criteria

Criteria for grant of Temporary Graduate Subclass 485 visa in Graduate Work stream

Temporary Graduate Visa 485 Graduate Work Stream Criteria

The Graduate Work stream is open to graduates who nominate a skilled occupation that is specified by the Minister for this stream. Applicants seeking to satisfy the primary criteria for the grant of a Subclass 485 visa in the Graduate Work stream must nominate in their application a skilled occupation specified for this stream. The criteria specified for this stream is as follows:

The Australian Study Requirement

The primary applicant must have satisfied the Australian study requirement: Six months immediately before the application is made; or 12 months immediately before the day the application was made if the applicant was unable to apply during the 6 months period because the applicant was outside Australia during all or part of the period commencing on 1 February 2020 and ending on 19 September 2020.

This means that the applicant completed their eligible qualification in the 6 months (or12 months) immediately before the day the Subclass 485 visa application was made; or where the applicant completed multiple qualifications, any eligible qualification that was completed in the six months (or 12 months) immediately before the day the Subclass 485 visa application was made can be used to satisfy this criterion.

Completion Date is the Critical Date

The date of completion of the eligible qualification is the date the primary applicant was notified that all academic course requirements were met. The critical date, therefore, is the date on which the results of the applicant's final exams or notice of completion of the course were available or published. This is the date which triggers the 6 month (or 12 months) period during which the applicant may apply for the Subclass 485 visa.

Evidence of this Completion Date could be Notification of Final Exam Results

  • In a letter to the applicant.
  • On the internet.
  • In a newspaper; or
  • On the education institution’s bulletin board. 

Although degree certificates generally show the date of award or conferral, that information is irrelevant. The applicant has to provide evidence of the date of completion of their course, not the date of conferral of their degree.

Date Cannot be Extended Because Results Withheld

If an applicant’s academic results were with held because, for example, they had unpaid library fines or course fees, the date that these fines or fees were paid is not the date that they completed their degree, diploma or trade qualification. As stated above, the date of completion is the date of notification that all academic course requirements were met.

Submission of Thesis is Not Enough

An applicant cannot be considered to have completed a course simply by having submitted their thesis. If, as a component of a course, the applicant has submitted only their thesis, it cannot be said that the applicant has successfully completed all course components as there might be further work or amendments required by the applicant before the education provider considers all course components to have been completed. In this situation, an applicant is considered to have completed their course only once their thesis was accepted and they were informed that they had met the academic requirements for conferral of the award.


It is the applicant's responsibility to provide evidence of the date of completion. A student's academic transcript normally shows the date that the student completed their course of study. It’s the date of completion that is important, not the date of conferral.

Study and Nominated Occupation Must be Closely Related for 485 PSW Visa 

Each degree, diploma or trade qualification used to satisfy the Australian study requirement is closely related to the applicant’s nominated skilled occupation. Eligible qualifications for a Subclass 485 visa in the Graduate Work stream include:

  • Degree; including bachelor’s degree,bachelor’s degree with honors.
  • Master’s degree by coursework, master’s degree by research, master’s extended degree.
  • Doctoral degree.
  • Diploma.
  • Advanced Diploma.
  • Associate Diploma.
  • Trade Qualification.


The intention of the ‘closely related’ criterion is to ensure that Subclass 485 visa applicants have the skills necessary to work in their nominated occupation and to positively contribute to the Australian economy as soon as possible. 

Closely Related

Even if an applicant otherwise meets the Australian study requirement, it is still required that each of the completed Australian degree/s, diploma/s or trade qualification/s to be ‘closely related’ to the applicant’s nominated skilled occupation. One way of evaluating this is to consider whether the qualification/s closely relates to the tasks the occupation undertakes. 

For this the structure of Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the standard to be followed. Using the ANZSCO list, occupations are grouped together to form ‘unit groups’, which are allocated four-digit numbers. Each unit group identifies relevant occupations, an indicative skill level, any necessary qualifications/relevant experience, and a non-exhaustive list of the tasks the unit group undertake. This information in ANZSCO assists in evaluating whether the qualifications used to meet the Australian study requirement can be considered ‘closely related’ to the applicant’s nominated skilled occupation. Only entry-level tasks will be weighed up to check whether a qualification is “closely related” to a nominated occupation. 

Acceptable Combinations

The following are examples of qualifications that are regarded as closely related to the nominated occupation:

  • The applicant nominates Biomedical Engineer as their skilled occupation and has completed a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree of Biomedical Engineering in Australia.
  • The applicant nominates Construction Project Manager as their skilled occupation and has completed an Advanced Diploma of Building and Construction in Australia.
  • The applicant nominates Automotive Electrician as their skilled occupation and has completed a Certificate III in Automotive (Electrical) and a Certificate IV in Automotive Technology in Australia.
  • The applicant nominates Air-conditioning and Mechanical Services Plumber as their skilled occupation and has completed a Certificate III in Plumbing and a Diploma of Plumbing and Services in Australia; and
  • The applicant nominates Chef as their skilled occupation and has completed a Certificate III in commercial cookery and a Diploma of Hospitality Management.

Skills Assessment for 485 Visa

At time of Visa Application

When the Subclass 485 visa application was made in the graduate work stream, it must have been accompanied by evidence that the primary applicant had applied to a relevant assessing authority for an assessment of their skills in their nominated skilled occupation. 

The applicant must include with their visa application evidence that they have applied to a relevant assessing authority to have their skills assessed for their nominated occupation. For example, an acknowledgment letter from a relevant assessing authority or a ‘yes’ answer to the application form question “Has the applicant applied to a relevant assessing authority for an assessment of their skills for their nominated skilled occupation?”, accompanied by a skills assessment reference number on the visa application form. 

If evidence of applying for a skills assessment is not provided by the primary applicant at the time of lodgement of their application, and if they did not apply for a skills assessment before they made their Subclass 485 visa application, they should withdraw their application as they will not meet eligibility requirements for visa grant. If the evidence provided later is dated after the application was made, the application will be refused. 

Can Not Later Change Nominated Skilled Occupation

There is no mechanism that allows an applicant to change their nominated skilled occupation after applying for this visa. If an applicant has skills in more than one occupation on the Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List, they must decide before making their Subclass 485 visa application which one of those occupations they will nominate as their nominated skilled occupation.

At Time of Visa Decision

At the time of decision on the visa application, the primary Subclass 485 visa applicant must have a suitable skills assessment in relation to their nominated skilled occupation. Assessing authorities give applicants written advice of the outcome of the assessment as to whether the applicant’s skills are suitable for the nominated skilled occupation.

If the Subclass 485 visa applicant does not receive a suitable skills assessment, or if the assessing body determines the applicant’s skills are successful for a different skilled occupation, the applicant has the option to withdraw their application or appeal their skills assessment with the assessing body. 

Different Assessing Authority at Time of Decision

Applicants will satisfy the skills assessment criteria when they have a suitable skills assessment from a relevant assessing authority as specified at the time of their visa application. This means, if the specified assessing authority for an occupation has changed between the time the applicant made a valid visa application and the time of decision, the original skills assessment from the previously specified assessing authority will be accepted.

Period For Skills Assessments

Some relevant assessing authorities specify in their skills assessment letters that the assessment is valid for a specific period of time for visa or migration purposes. If a skills assessment specifying an expiry date is provided after the stipulated expiry date, the skills assessment will not meet the requirements for skills assessment criteria.

Where a relevant assessing authority does not specify an expiry date, the applicant’s skills must have been assessed by a relevant assessing authority during the last three years (immediately preceding the time of decision) as suitable for the nominated skilled occupation. If more than three years have passed between the date the skills assessment was issued and the date of decision, the assessment will not meet the requirements for skills assessment criteria.

Professional Membership or Registration is Not a Skills Assessment

Evidence of membership of an Australian professional society - for example, membership of the Australian Institute of Management - is not an assessment by a relevant assessing authority of the skills of an applicant for a nominated occupation and does not satisfy the requirements for skills assessment criteria. 

Provisional registration or State Board registration is only acceptable evidence of a suitable skills assessment in relation to the occupation of: Solicitor (ANZSCO occupation group 271311), Barrister (ANZSCO occupation group 271111) or General Medical Practitioner (ANZSCO occupation group 253111) to satisfy the requirements for skills assessment criteria. It is not acceptable for any other occupation.

If Skills Assessment Based on Australian Qualification

If an applicant’s skills were assessed on the basis of a qualification obtained in Australia while the applicant held a student visa, the qualification must have been obtained as a result of studying a CRICOS registered course. This requirement is intended to support the provisions of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 that prohibits education providers offering non-registered courses to overseas students studying in Australia. 

Skills Assessment for an Overseas Qualification

A positive skills assessment undertaken by a relevant assessing authority can be provided for the Graduate Work Stream regardless of whether the qualification was completed in Australia or overseas. The applicant is still required to separately fulfill the Australian study requirement in a closely related field of study to their nominated occupation.

Example: An applicant completed the following courses in Australia to meet their Australian study requirement within an appropriate time-frame:

  • Diploma of Building Surveying; and
  • Advanced Diploma of Building Surveying.

The applicant then applied under the Graduate Work stream and the nominated skilled occupation was Civil Engineering Draftsperson (ANZSCO Code: 312211).

Applicant received a suitable Skills assessment from VETASSESS for the nominated skilled occupation. However, the qualification used in the skills assessment was a Diploma of Specialist (Building engineer) that the applicant completed outside Australia. There was no mention in the assessment that the Australian qualifications were considered.

Australian qualifications meet Australian Study requirement and are closely related to nominated occupation. It follows that the applicant has met the requirements for Australian study as well as Skills Assessment, although different qualifications have been used for each requirement.


Disclaimer: ‘Atlantis International Pty Ltd’ and its associates are independent consulting entities which are not associated in anyway with the Australian ‘Department of Home Affairs’ (DOHA). Information on this website does not constitute personal migration advice. For a customized migration advice based on your personal circumstances, please call and talk to one of our Immigration Consultants or register your interest with our Associates.

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