Post-COVID Revisions of Australian Study Requirements for the Subclass 485 Visa

Zhanna Heenan

Visa News

Australia, renowned for its world-class education system, continues to attract international students seeking academic excellence and post-study opportunities. Among the various visas available to international graduates, the Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate Visa serves as a pathway for those wanting to live, study, and work in Australia temporarily after completing their studies. In a recent development, the Australian government has implemented changes to the online study requirements for the 485 visa, marking a significant shift in policy.

Reversion to pre-COVID Settings:

Effective from 25 November 2023, the online study requirements for the Subclass 485 visa have reverted to pre-COVID settings. This means that international students are once again expected to fulfil in-person study obligations to meet the Australian Study Requirement. The move reflects a return to the traditional format of education delivery, emphasizing the importance of on-campus learning experiences.

The period of on-line learning that will still be counted towards the Australian Study Requirement:

Despite the shift to pre-COVID settings, a notable concession has been made for students who pursued online study during the COVID concession period, spanning from 1 February 2020 to 25 November 2023. Online study undertaken during this period will continue to count towards the Australian Study Requirement. This ensures that students who adapted to virtual learning during the height of the pandemic are not unfairly penalized for their circumstances.

TEQSA’s Role and In-Person Study Requirement:

The decision to revert to pre-COVID settings aligns with the directives issued by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), Australia’s regulatory and quality assurance agency for higher education. TEQSA mandated that all students return to in-person study by July 2023. This move was aimed at maintaining the integrity and quality of education delivery, emphasizing the importance of face-to-face interactions, collaborative learning, and the overall student experience.

Addressing Potential Disadvantages:

It is anticipated that the requirement to resume in-person study will not disadvantage students. The decision is aligned with the broader goal of ensuring the quality and effectiveness of the Australian education system. While acknowledging the challenges and adjustments that students may face during the transition, the government and educational institutions are committed to providing support and resources to facilitate a smooth return to on-campus learning.

Clear End Date to Previous Announcement:

The reversion to pre-COVID settings also provides a clear end date to the announcement made by the previous government in November 2021. This announcement, which introduced temporary adjustments to visa requirements due to the pandemic, had created uncertainties about the future of online study eligibility. With the recent changes, international students now have a defined framework to navigate their study plans and visa applications.

The recent adjustments to the online study requirements for the Subclass 485 Temporary Graduate Visa underscore the Australian government’s commitment to maintaining the high standards of its education system. While signalling a return to traditional in-person learning, the inclusion of the COVID concession period acknowledges the unique challenges posed by the pandemic. International students are encouraged to stay informed about these changes, collaborate with educational institutions for support, and plan their academic and visa journeys accordingly.



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