Houston College of Education Information and Career Counselling

Australian Post-study work visa Extensions

Latest statistics have shown that international student enrolments in Australia are down 17% as of August 2021 compared to 2019 with ELICOS enrolments taking the biggest dip of 71% in the same time period. Due to the huge losses incurred due to COVID-19, Australia has taken a few measures for post-study work visa rights to provide flexibility to international students.

In order to help the international student market recover the Australian government has made some announcements recently, here are some important points:

  • Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa holders who unfortunately haven’t been able to travel to Australia due to COVID-19 restrictions will now be able to apply for a replacement visa which allows them to remain in Australia to study, live or work after completion of studies.
  • Former and current Temporary Graduate visa holders can re-apply for a new subclass 485 visa of the same duration as their original visa (only if their visa expired on or after February 1, 2020).
  • Length of stay for Temporary Graduate visa holders is increased from two to three years for masters by coursework graduates (now matches with the pre-existing duration for masters by research graduates.
  • Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector graduates will also receive a two year Temporary Graduate Visa.
  • Recognition of time spent offshore studying online to count towards qualifying for a temporary graduate visa. 


In a joint statement by Education Minister Alan Tudge and Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, Tudge expressed that he strongly believes these measures will accelerate the recovery process. He said “This will help ensure the rapid return of international students” and “it provides clear incentives for institutions and students and ensures students are not disadvantaged from being prevented from coming to Australia earlier. The extension of the innovation grants will help English language providers who have been hit particularly hard by COVID.”

Intended to support the implementation of the soon to be released Australian Strategy for International Education these new measures are assuring for international students who have been hampered due to COVID-19 or left wondering about the feasibility of studying in Australia.