Australia announces major extension of post-study work rights for international students

Australia announces major extension of post-study work rights for international students

Great news for international students who aspire to stay and work in Australia. Jason Clare, the Minister of Education, has extended the Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) Post-Study Work stream by two years for international students who work in areas of verified skills shortage.

Currently, international students who graduate from an Australian university can travel, work, or study in the country for two to four years through the programme. Extension allows qualified international student graduates to stay and work in Australia for an extra two years.

  • Select bachelor’s degrees will provide international students with a four-year post-study work permission – up from the current limit of two years.
  • Select master’s degrees will now afford students up to five years of work experience after graduation – up from the current limit of three years.
  • And graduates of select PhD degrees will be able to work for up to six years – up from the current limit of four years.

This could dramatically boost the country’s competitiveness as a study abroad destination. This could be life-changing news for anyone studying (or planning to study) in-demand skills in Australia. 

The extension applies to international student graduates in areas of verified skill shortages. Qualifying courses haven’t been announced yet, but will address current sector skill gaps. Relevant areas of study may include accounting, engineering, nursing, and information technology—all popular fields of study for international students.

This post-study work rights extension is another great reason to study in Australia, and makes it easier than ever to find career success after graduating. 

The extensions should help Australia to increase the stay rate of the international students the country’s economy needs the most. Minister for Education Jason Clare points out that “At the moment, only 16% of international students stay on after their studies end.” He says the longer work permits “will mean they can stay on longer and use the skills they’ve gained in Australia to help fill some of the chronic skills shortages we have right now.”

A working group is being formed to advise the Department of Home Affairs on which degrees will lead to the longer work permits. This group will include representatives from the Council of International Education, the National Tertiary Education Union, Universities Australia, and the Departments of Home Affairs and Education, and their input is due by 28 October 2022.

Universities Australia’s CEO Catriona Jackson welcomed the government’s news, saying that “extending post-study work rights sends the right signal to international students who want to use their Australian education in Australia’s regions and cities, when and where there is a clear need for their skills.”

The government also announced that it will funnel AUS$36.1 million into visa processing “to support 500 surge staff over the next nine months.” The idea is to reduce the amount of time students must wait for visa processing and decisions. Delays in this area have dismayed many international students over the past few months and some students have switched their study destination as a result.

Earlier this year, the government removed caps on the number of hours international students could work in any sector of the Australian economy while studying. This policy has been under review – amid some concern about whether students could maintain a healthy balance between studying and working. Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil has announced in June 2023, limits will be reintroduced on the number of hours that international students can work while studying. work hours for international students will be capped again in June next year following feedback from stakeholders.