Student visa ending? Read our guide on what to do next

If your student visa is coming to an end, you may have other visa options.

By Joy Hay – Registered Migration Agent MARN 1465325

Is your student visa ending? Thousands of student visas are due to expire in March. So, what’s your next move?

Graduate student in ceremony with a hat.

If you’re one of the many people whose student visas expire in March, it’s time to start planning your next step.

Depending on the course you studied, your relationship status and your occupation, you may be able to extend your stay in Australia after graduation.

Feelings of uncertainty are never pleasant, so why not get in touch with the team at True Blue Migration Services today for a free eligibility check and find out exactly what your options are.

Student visa to partner visa

It’s not unusual for a student to find love with an Australian permanent resident or citizen during their studies, and for those people, a partner visa might be the best option.

It’s a myth that you need to have been in a de facto relationship for at least a year to apply for a partner visa. Whilst this is sometimes the case, registering your relationship – if you’re in a location where this is allowed – can speed things up.

Couple travelling in a backpack.

An important thing to remember with partner visas is that, depending on the expiry date of your student visa, you won’t automatically move to a Bridging Visa A with full work rights. The BVA will only come into effect once your student visa expires or your partner visa is granted, so be sure not to beach the working conditions attached to your student visa.

If your partner is also on a visa – for example a temporary work visa, temporary activity visa or training visa – you may be able to apply as a dependent and be added to theirs. For some visa subclasses, you only need to show that you’ve been in a de facto partnership for six months.

Additionally, if your other half has a pending PR application, it’s also possible to be added to that and have your residency granted at the same time.

Student visa to 482 visa

Does your employer want to sponsor you? Your employer might be able to sponsor you on a Temporary Skill Shortage (482) Visa if you’re working in an occupation that is listed on the short-term skilled occupation list or the medium-term skilled occupation.

You can count work experience gained prior and during your studies towards the minimum required for this visa type.

If they’re not already an approved sponsor, your employer will need to apply for Standard Business Sponsor approval and then nominate you to fill a position within their business.

You’ll move on to a bridging visa if your application isn’t granted before your student visa expires.

Once your 482 visa is approved, you can continue to work and live in Australia for as long as you’re with that particular employer.

One really important point to make here is that labour market testing is required for most 482 visa applications. This takes at least 28 days, so a last-minute lodgement just isn’t possible with this visa subclass. You’ll need to start the process in the next few weeks to make your March deadline.

Man drawing an architecture plan.

Student visa to 407 training visa

If you don’t have enough work experience to apply for a 482 visa, you could be eligible for a Training Visa (Subclass 407).

The 407 is a visa aimed at people undertaking training or professional development in Australia.

You may be eligible for a 407 visa if you’ve worked or studied full-time in an eligible occupation for at least 12 months out of the last 24 months.

There’s no set validity period for 407 visas; a case officer will determine the visa’s length based on the training period you apply for and how long they believe is required.

You’re only allowed to work for your sponsor whilst holding a 407 visa, you must be employed for at least 30 hours weekly and you need to be paid at least Award rate.

There are other streams to this visa type, but here at True Blue Migration Services we only manage applications for candidates doing paid on-the-job training

Carpenter Trainee.

Student visa to graduate visa

The Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) has two streams: the Post Study Work Stream (PSWS) and the Graduate Work Stream.

Here a True Blue Migration Services, we only manage PSWS applications.

The length of visa you can apply for depends on the qualification you obtained. For example, if you’ve just graduated with a bachelor’s degree, you’ll be granted a two-year visa, whilst a PhD graduate can expect a four-year visa.

It’s important to note that most applicants for this visa subclass must sit an English test, unless you’re exempted based on the passport you hold.

One of the best things about this visa type is that your occupation doesn’t need to be on the Skilled Occupation List in order for you to apply.

Student visa to permanent residency

Some international students are eligible for permanent residency under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) program upon graduation.

A major hurdle faced by this cohort is the time needed to gather the documents necessary to make an application. For example, a skill assessment could take 12 weeks or more.

As a result of this, some graduates are forced to leave Australia and make an offshore application. If you’ve settled down here and have a lease, a job and a social circle, leaving the country for an extended period is a majorly disruptive option.

If time isn’t on your side, it can be better to apply for a subclass 485 or seek one of the other options listed above before going down the GSM route.

Image of woman doctor.

Continue studying

Plenty of international students remain in Australia and progress to higher qualifications, like moving from a bachelor’s degree to a masters’ program.

Although this can be a costly option, it’s a way of enhancing your skills and making you a more appealing candidate for Australian employers.

You can stay with your current institution or move to another provider in a different part of the country. It’s simply a case of applying for your next course and lodging a new visa application before your current one runs out.

Eligibility check

If you’ve read all of this and you’re still not sure which option best suits you, contact True Blue Migration Services for a free eligibility check. We’ll recommend the most suitable pathway for you to take.

Whatever you do, though, don’t drag your feet. That March deadline is looming.

Get in touch now to find out how we can help you contact us