Extensions announced for Graduate Visa Holders who have studied in regional areas

Migration Law 18 December 2020

The recent government announcements are great news for international students who are currently studying or have studied in regional Australia.

This initiative is to encourage international students to study at regional institutions and continue to reside in regional areas after their studies to boost diversity and the economy in regional Australia.

Who is eligible?

From 2021, if you are a temporary graduate (post study work stream) visa holder (subclass 485 Visa) who has studied and lived  in regional Australia, you will be eligible to apply for a second temporary graduate visa for up to one or two years. This extension also applies to international graduates who have studied at a regional campus of a metropolitan university.

Upon completing studies, you must continue to live in regional Australia to be eligible for a further extension.

If a second temporary graduate visa is granted, you will need to remain in a regional area for the entire duration of the visa.

What is a regional area?

The regional definition consists of 3 categories and offers regional incentives for skilled migrants who migrate to locations classified as Category 2 or Category 3.

Only international students who have studied and lived in Category 2 and 3 will be eligible under this new government initiative.

The three categories are:

Category 1 – ‘Major Cities’ of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane do not receive any regional incentives and as such if your study has been in these areas you will not be eligible for an extension;

Category 2 – ‘Cities and Major Regional Centres’ of Perth, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Canberra, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Wollongong/Illawarra, Geelong and Hobart;

Category 3 – ‘Regional Centres and Other Regional Areas’

See below for a table of postcodes to show what category your area falls into

What does this mean for International Students?

This new government initiative offers many benefits for international students looking for pathways to permanently migrate to Australia.

The skilled migration program offers incentives for prospective applicants who intend to live and work in regional Australia. This allows prospective visa applicants to meet certain criteria to apply for a temporary or permanent visa.

Importantly, this provides graduates with more time to apply for jobs and settle into regional living once they have graduated, compared to the standard temporary graduate visa which is only valid for two years.

Are you living and studying in regional Australia or are interested in relocating? Contact Migration Lawyer Traci Yan Yan Chen today for a 15 minute no cost initial consultation to discuss your matter.

Designated regional area postcodes

State or TerritoryCategoryPostcodes
New South WalesCities and major regional centres2259, 2264 to 2308, 2500 to 2526, 2528 to 2535 and 2574
Regional centres and other regional areas2250 to 2258, 2260 to 2263, 2311 to 2490, 2527, 2536 to 2551, 2575 to 2739, 2753 to 2754, 2756 to 2758 and 2773 to 2898
VictoriaCities and major regional centres3211 to 3232, 3235, 3240, 3328, 3330 to 3333, 3340 and 3342
Regional centres and other regional areas3097 to 3099, 3139, 3233 to 3234, 3236 to 3239, 3241 to 3325, 3329, 3334, 3341, 3345 to 3424, 3430 to 3799, 3809 to 3909, 3912 to 3971 and 3978 to 3996
QueenslandCities and major regional centres4207 to 4275, 4517 to 4519, 4550 to 4551, 4553 to 4562, 4564 to 4569 and 4571 to 4575
Regional centres and other regional areas4124 to 4125, 4133, 4183 to 4184, 4280 to 4287, 4306 to 4498, 4507, 4552, 4563, 4570 and 4580 to 4895
Western AustraliaCities and major regional centres6000 to 6038, 6050 to 6083, 6090 to 6182, 6208 to 6211, 6214 and 6556 to 6558
Regional centres and other regional areasAll postcodes in Western Australia not mentioned in ‘Cities and major regional centres’ category above
South AustraliaCities and major regional centres5000 to 5171, 5173 to 5174, 5231 to 5235, 5240 to 5252, 5351 and 5950 to 5960
Regional centres and other regional areasAll postcodes in South Australia not mentioned in ‘Cities and major regional centres’ category above
TasmaniaCities and major regional centres7000, 7004 to 7026, 7030 to 7109, 7140 to 7151 and 7170 to 7177
Regional centres and other regional areasAll postcodes in Tasmania not mentioned in ‘Cities and major regional centres’ category above
Australian Capital TerritoryCities and major regional centresAll postcodes in the Australian Capital Territory
Regional centres and other regional areasNone
Northern TerritoryCities and major regional centresNone
Regional centres and other regional areasAll postcodes in the Northern Territory
Norfolk IslandCities and major regional centresNone
Regional centres and other regional areasAll postcodes in Norfolk Island
Other TerritoriesCities and major regional centresNone
Regional centres and other regional areasAll postcodes in a Territory other than the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory or Norfolk Island

 

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