Written by Scarlett Murray,
15th March 2023

The Australian government have announced that visas will be lengthened for near 400 bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as for all doctorates. This is intended as a remedy for numerous shortages in the Australian job market.

Australia has significant job shortages in several sectors. The country is heavily reliant on migration to keep its economy going. Unfortunately, restrictions on travel during the pandemic meant that these job shortages were left even more exposed. As a result, the Australian government is actively trying to encourage skilled foreign workers to their shores. Part of this effort is their decision to add two years to the temporary graduate visa for those studying select subjects.

We find out more about the changes to the temporary graduate visa. Additionally, we look at how you could take advantage of job shortages in Australia, and head over there yourself.

study and work from Australia!

What is a temporary graduate visa (subclass 485)?

The temporary graduate visa allows you to live, study, and work in Australia after you have finished your studies. It is an excellent opportunity to stay in Australia and move towards gaining permanent residency.

How is the temporary graduate visa changing?

From July 1st, the post-study work rights for students with select qualifications will be increased from:

  • Two years to four years for select Bachelor degrees.
  • Three years to five years for select Masters degrees.
  • Four years to six years for all doctoral qualifications.

What qualifications have been selected for this increase?

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The Australian government have created an indicative list of the subjects that will qualify for the visa extension. The subjects chosen are all within the following fields: medical and nursing, professional health, diagnostic, allied health, teaching, engineering, agriculture, and ICT. For just a snapshot of the type of degrees those include: Bachelor of Veterinary Science, Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth to 5), Master of Medical Imaging, Master of Music Therapy. Doctoral subjects are not listed individually as they all qualify for this extension.

Why have these particular qualifications been chosen and not others?

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The Jobs and Skills Australia and the Department of Education complied a list of job shortages in Australia to determine which degrees should qualify for this visa extension. They highlighted jobs that there were either in strong or moderate demand, on a national or regional level.

For example, there is a strong, national demand for the following jobs: midwife, registered nurse, web developer. There is a moderate, national demand for: construction project manager, special needs teacher, and neurologist.

Currently, Australian minister Paul Papalia has initiated a drive to recruit 31,000 workers to be doctors, teachers, police officers and civil engineers in Western Australia.

“We’re here to steal your workers”: the lure of Western Australian  

The number of hours you can work with a temporary graduate visa has also changed

With a temporary graduate visa, it used to be that you were restricted to working just 40 hours a week. This was lifted during the pandemic to address immediate labour shortages. However, in July, the limit will be re-imposed, but it will be increased to 48 hours a week.

“This is a practical change that will increase the availability of a well-trained and highly capable workforce to help ease current pressures.” – Claire O’Neil, the Minister for Home Affairs.


How does lengthening select visas fit into a wider effort to better Australia?

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Could you be a midwife in Australia?

In a statement, the Minister for Home Affairs, Claire O’Neil said of the visa changes, “This will support businesses across the country and help rebuild the international education sector following the pandemic. This is a practical change that will increase the availability of a well-trained and highly capable workforce to help ease current pressures.”

So, even if you are not planning on moving to Australia to study and then work, I would recommend looking at this list of identified job shortages. Australia is currently overtly encouraging workers to move there for work. Therefore, if you are a qualified midwife or teacher, you are more likely to find employment and have a smoother transition over there.

I am interested in moving to Australia, but I don’t think the temporary graduate visa suits me. What other visa options are there in Australia?

For a comprehensive list of the different visas in Australia, please see here. If you plan to work in Australia, then you might want to look into the Skilled Nominated Visa (subclass 190). This allows skilled workers to be nominated by an Australian state or territory government to study and work in the country. This visa is offered on a points-based system, taking into account factors such as: your age, education level, marital status.

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