The popularity of the subclass 485 visa (Temporary Graduate Program) has grown in the July to September 2014 quarter with the number of applications lodged increasing by 24% compared to the same quarter last year. This is the first time an increase has been recorded since 2011.
Last quarter (July to August 2014) just over 30,000 visas were granted to international students who had finished their studies on a student visa. While almost 30% moved to a tourist visa and another 22% chose to study further on another student visa just over 11% selected the subclass 485 visa.
While 7,381 temporary graduate program visa’s were lodged last quarter, only 3,412 were granted by the Department Of Immigration And Boarder Patrol. This may indicate that the next quarter will see an increase in applications granted or that many applications are either rejected or withdrawn which may relate to processing times of up to 12 months!
Since changes were made to the temporary graduate program the overall popularity has dwindled with a decrease of just under 28% 485 visa holders in Australia compared to last year.
The subclass 485 visa went through a large change in recent years with the introduction of two streams which made what used to be a straightforward and easy to understand system into a complicated one. These changes combined with excessive processing waiting times by the Department Of Immigration & Boarder Patrol has led to it’s popularity dwindling over time. Whole the increase in lodged application is encouraging the real test is the number approved combined with the overall number of 485 visa holders in Australia…both which continue to reduce.
The simple fact is, the 485 visa is expensive both when it comes to application fees and other requirements such as ongoing 485 visa health insurance. There are other schemes in Australia and options overseas that don’t have these costs and with students being the most price-sensitive segment they are choosing not to adopt this scheme.
The government needs to make the scheme more streamlined like the subclass 457 visa with a clear pathway as to the period that you can work, ability to renew the visa and pathway to PR (Permanent Residency). It’s a loss for Australia to attract some of the best minds to Australia to study only for them to return back to their home country with the skills taught by Australian institutional. The government must review the scheme and make reforms to ensure Australia’s productivity and competitiveness increases both now and in the future!