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Employment of international students and graduates in Australia

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Does your organisation embrace a diverse workforce? Monash University is truly international, with students and graduates from over 170 countries who can offer you:

  • their innovative ideas
  • multilingual skills and cultural diversity
  • international and regional networks
  • insight into overseas markets.

Recent changes in government policies have simplified the process for employers to employ international students during or after their study in Australia, notably with the introduction of the post-study work rights visa (subclass 485).

Post-study work rights visa

Did you know that most international students upon graduation are eligible to apply for a post-study work rights visa (subclass 485)? This allows them to work in Australia for specific durations depending on their qualifications:

  • Bachelor / Masters by Coursework - 2 years
  • Masters by Research - 3 years
  • Doctoral Degree - 4 years

There are no visa sponsorship costs to you for recruiting applicants who hold these new visas.

Workplace Conditions

Under the Fair Work Act (2009), all people working in Australia, including international students/graduates have the same rights and protections in the workplace, including minimum pay and conditions.

Temporary visa expires

The following options may be available if you choose to continue employing the worker after their temporary visa expires, please seek independent advice for other options:

Employees may also be eligible to apply for permanent residency themselves if their work experience in your organisation is relevant to their nominated skilled occupation.

Sponsoring an employee for temporary and permanent residency would have cost and other implications. View the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) website or seek independent advice from a registered migration agent.

Skilled migration visa processing times

Regional Sponsored and employer-sponsored visas receive priority processing by DIBP. The estimated processing time for an employer-sponsored visa is between three to twelve months so you should consider whether to sponsor the employee for temporary or permanent residency at least six months prior to the conclusion of their current work visa. Check the DIBP Skilled migration visa processing times for the latest processing time.

When the application is lodged the employee may be provided with a bridging visa that could allow them to continue working in Australia while the application is assessed.

Other considerations

Fair Recruitment Practices

It may be unlawful to exclude international students and graduates (who have rights to work in Australia) from your recruitment. Find out more:

Unpaid Work Experience

You should check the Fair Work Ombudsman for full details about unpaid work.

Short Vocational Placements

We can connect with you with Monash faculties to match your requirements with course skills to develop suitable unpaid work-integrated learning placements.

More flexible work entitlements

International students now have greater flexibility to undertake paid work while they study. Students are able to work a maximum of 40 hours work per fortnight during semester and unlimited hours during semester breaks. Masters by research and doctoral degree students can work unlimited hours once they start their course.

This flexibility allows international students to work on short-term projects or extra hours during peak periods. Find out more by viewing work conditions for student visa holders.

Useful resources

Employer hub

Information for businesses, agents and trade professionals about employing and sponsoring workers. Visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection Employer Hub.

Workplace Diversity Tool

The Australian Human Rights Commission has a free online Workplace Cultural Diversity Tool to help businesses to assess themselves and enhance productivity through a culturally diverse workplace.

Live in Victoria

Provides information about services offered to prospective skilled and business migrants, Victorian industry and employers, and migration agents. Find out more, view Live in Victoria.

Employing overseas talent

Victorian employers seeking to connect with overseas qualified professionals in Victoria, can find information on employing overseas talent.

Assessment of Overseas Qualifications

The Victorian State Government Overseas Qualifications Unit (OQU) assists employers to appropriately interpret overseas education and qualifications.

Seeking Migration Advice

Only a registered migration agent can legally give immigration assistance in Australia, with or without cost. An agent can explain the visa options that are available to your prospective employee and recommend a suitable option should you decide to sponsor an international graduate on a permanent basis. Information to help you when using a migration agent, visit the DIBP - Using a migration agent in Australia. To search for a registered migration agent, visit the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA).

It is not compulsory to use a migration agent to lodge a visa or sponsorship application with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The Department has information on applying for a visa yourself.

Disclaimer: This page sets out information of a general nature obtained from government websites at the time of publication and does not constitute legal or migration advice. Check the websites referenced for up to date information and seek legal or migration advice from a lawyer or registered migration agent. Published May 2016.