Friday the 29th August 2014
Volume 333

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Today we discuss the Post Study Work stream 485 visa which has specific rules about how much study must be completed and at what level to meet its requirements.


We also look at the article in The Australian today releasing information about how some 457 visa holders can be paid 10% less than their Australian counterparts. 


Diploma leading to Bachelor - making sure you meet the 485 visa requirements

The words Compliance, Rules, Regulations and Guidelines on colorful arrow road signs directing you
The 485 visa has two separate streams so be sure your in the right one
By Jee Eun Han
Executive Manager
Australian Immigration Law Services

With the 485 Post Study Work (PSW) stream visa, there are benefits of not having to nominate an occupation from the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) and the visa duration is longer.  

 For the 485 Graduate Work (GW) stream, applicants must nominate an occupation from the SOL and this can be a major problem for many whose occupations are not there.


Now we have covered the new 485 visa streams before in Volumes 238 and 214 but recently we have seen a number of students with potential problems to apply for a 485 PSW  stream visa. Many were hoping to use this visa but their study programs of completing a Diploma first then going on to complete the Bachelor degree has in many cases created a difficulty for them.


Where the problem can occur


In the 485 Post Study Work (PSW) stream the following regulation must be met;


Regulation [485.231] (1) The applicant holds a qualification or qualifications of a kind specified by the Minister in an instrument in writing for this subclause.


Currently the DIBP Minister specifies an applicant must have completed a specific type of degree program. These are either a Bachelor, Bachelor with Honours, Masters by Coursework/Research/Extended or Doctoral. These rules also insist that these qualifications must be achieved "as a result of study undertaken at Australian Qualifications Framework level 7 or higher."


This is the catch you must be very careful of. The completion of one of these qualifications cannot be a result of study lower than Level 7, which is Bachelor Degree level.


However this regulation has a catch, as follows;


485.231 (3) The applicant's study for the qualification or qualifications satisfied the Australian study requirement in the period of 6 months ending immediately before the day the application was made.


This means that before you apply for the 485 PSW visa, you must have completed one of those qualifications listed above and that the Australian Study Requirement was met in obtaining that qualification.  


In many instances we have found that some packaged courses where students have completed their Diploma first then enrolled into the Bachelor program, do not meet Reg 485.231(3). In some cases  too many credits given for the Diploma towards the Bachelor meant that they did not meet the Australian Study Requirement in completing their degree.


Example 1


Jill comes to Australia on a study package where she will complete a Diploma at XYZ College and then a Bachelor Degree and ABC University. The College and the Uni have an agreement whereby Jill will be given 1.5 years of credit of her 2 year Diploma at XYZ towards her 3 year degree at ABC Uni.


When completing her Bachelor Jill applies for the 485 Post-Study Work stream visa. She is promptly refused this visa. The DIBP point out that her time spent completing the Bachelor Degree (Level 7) did not meet the Australian Study Requirement as it was completed in only 3 semesters and below the 92 week/16 calendar month threshold. (read: Australian Study requirement)


Even though Jill had completed her Bachelor Degree after a total of 3.5 years of study and spending tens of thousands of dollars in doing so, she does not qualify for the PSW stream 485 visa.


The DIBP explain that her Diploma at XWZ College cannot be counted in the Post-Study Work stream requirements because Diploma level study in Australia is only at Level 6 and not at the minimum Level 7 required. This means that the 1.5 years of credit given to her towards her Bachelor was too much for it meant that she only studied 1.5 years at the Level 7 to obtain the qualification as outlined in 485.231(3) (above). It would have been better that she only obtained 1 year credit for her Diploma and then studied 2 years to complete her Bachelor and she could have been granted the visa.


Now Jill has an even bigger problem for her Bachelor in Business, specializing in Marketing does not qualify to nominate an occupation from the SOL. This means she is not able to apply for the 485 Graduate Work stream visa either. This stream forces applicants to nominate occupations from the SOL. This is despite the fact that the Australian Study Requirement can be met using the Diploma + Bachelor Degree qualifications.


What is Jill's Option for further study to solve this problem so she can apply for the PSW stream 485 visa?


Complete a Bachelor with Honours for this extra year of study will mean she will meet the 2 year Study Requirement at level 7 and above. This also means the qualifications obtained is on the Ministers list (above).


Complete a Masters Degree. In completion of a Masters Degree which is also listed, this will also place Jill in a position to meet the 2 year study requirement.


If Jill contemplates completing a Graduate Diploma this will not work for the 485 PSW stream. Even though Grad Dip is at Level 8 on the scale, it is not listed as one of the approved type of qualifications (above). Applicants can use Graduate Diploma's and Graduate Certificates if credit is given for these courses towards one of the qualifications on the list, eg; Masters Degree (Coursework) would be the likely scenario.


Example 2


Hiro comes to Australia on a one year student visa and completes a Graduate Diploma of Accounting. He decides he wants to work in Australia as an Accountant so enrolls into the 2 year Masters of Accounting at the same university. The Uni gives him 1 year exemption based upon his Australian Grad Dip and he goes on to finish the Masters after another 1 year of study.


Hiro meets the 485 PSW stream visa requirements even though the Grad Dip he first completed is not on the list of qualifications specified by the DIBP Minister (above).


The facts are that he completed his Masters degree which is on the list after meeting the 2 Year Study Requirement (Grad Dip + Masters). Secondly the Grad Dip is a qualification that is at Level 8 so its direct credits towards the 2 year Masters is acceptable.




You see it is not as simple as just completing a Bachelor after studying here for more than two years if you have completed a Diploma or Advanced Diploma and given credits towards your degree. To be able to apply for the PSW stream 485 visa you must be careful to ensure that the Australian Study requirement is met in completing the Bachelor Degree.



Some 457 visa holders to be paid less  
Group of industrial workers. Isolated on white background.

By Karl Konrad - Editor

News released by The Australian this morning has detailed news from Senator Cash's office that in some special regions known as
"Designated Area Migration Agreements" 457 visa holders can be paid 10% less than their Australian workers counterparts.

Darwin seems to be the first area to be "designated" for this purpose.

Interestingly the official media release has not surfaced at the time we send this out.

In practice this will mean that 10% less than the current TSMIT $53,900 will be about $48,510. That is a significantly lower wage employers can pay.

However whilst this is good news for employers in the Darwin region, I'm confused.

On the 13th August Senator Cash said in her media release;

"Australian workers cannot be undercut by workers on 457 visas - market rates and conditions that would be paid to an Australian in the same job in the same workplace must also be provided to the foreign worker. If the market salary rate for the position that is to be sponsored does not exceed the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), then the person will not be able to access the subclass 457 visa programme. TSMIT is currently set at $53 900."

Now, what is it they say about politicians?
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Jee Eun Han

   Executive Manager

           Jee Eun Han

Australian Immigration Law Services






Karl Konrad

    Managing Director

          Karl Konrad

Australian Immigration Law Services




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