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Introduction of Temporary Graduate visa (subclass 485) COVID-19 Replacement Stream

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If you are a Temporary Graduate visa holder and are concerned about losing your work rights due to being locked out of Australia, this article is for you. Following border closure and the uncertainty surrounding international travel, the Australian Government has introduced a new visa stream to aid international students stranded overseas. Normally, applicants can only be granted one Temporary Graduate visa, and a further visa is usually only available on the basis of regional work and study. However, in response to the abovementioned concern, it was announced that Temporary Graduate visa holders offshore who have been unable to travel to Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be offered a COVID-19 replacement stream as a means of applying for a replacement Temporary Graduate visa.

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The COVID-19 replacement stream is a replacement for the initial Temporary Graduate visa. It is only available for Temporary Graduate visa holders impacted by the Australian travel restrictions. This means, people who could not stay in Australia for the full period allowed by their previous Temporary Graduate visa.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Currently hold, or have held a Temporary Graduate visa that expired on or after 1 February 2020; and

  • Have been outside Australia at any time between 1 February 2020 and 1 December 2021.

Other announced details of the COVID-19 replacement stream
The Temporary Graduate visa’s existing features will also be amended so that international students’ time spent offshore studying will be recognised to qualify for applying for Temporary Graduate visas.

Applications for the replacement visa will be open from mid-2022. The Department of Home Affairs is still determining details on the application requirements, it is likely that applicants will need to supply some supporting documents to apply for this COVID-19 replacement stream.

Once granted a visa under the COVID-19 replacement stream, applicants will receive the full validity of their initial Temporary Graduate visa, which is determined by the level of their qualification.

Our office will provide more details on the COVID-19 replacement stream requirements when the information becomes available. Please contact our office if you would like to receive our advice on your eligibility for this Temporary Graduate visa replacement stream.