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Australia extends stay back period by 2 years for international students

The post-study work visa offered by a country is an important aspect that many students wanting to study overseas take into account. Australia, where more than 350,000 overseas students study every year, now allows international students to stay back for an additional 2 years after completing their Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree – Course Work and Research.
Previously, the students were allowed to stay back and work for a period of up to 3 years on a Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485). However, the recent changes made to immigration policies by the Government of Australia allow international students to stay back & work for 2 more years after completing their studies and initial stay back period. This can be done by applying for a second Temporary Graduate Visa.

The new visa rules which came into effect from November 16, 2019, are aimed at encouraging international students to study in institutions in regional areas. The revised stay-back rule would definitely encourage many prospective students to investigate the possibility of studying in Australian universities in specified regional areas.

Changes to Post Study Work Stream Visa Rules – What You Need To Know

Basically, this visa offers a great opportunity for international students to remain in Australia after their studies and work for a longer duration. With access to more job opportunities, you can now be assured of more promising ways to secure your future. All international students aspiring to work in Australia for a longer period upon completion of their studies can apply for admission to regional colleges/universities.

The good news is that the visa allows you to study, work and enjoy the freedom of traveling to and from Australia during the validity period. Your field of specialization is not a determining factor at all as there is no occupation list in the post-study work visa. While it is important that you have a degree from a course listed in the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS), assessment of skills is not a prerequisite when applying for this visa. However, you will have to fulfill the requirements related to English language proficiency.

Major Cities, Regional Centres, And Other Regional Centres/Areas – Incentives For Overseas Students

Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane are classified as major cities. International students who complete their studies in colleges and universities in these cities will not be eligible for the extended stay back period post education and will retain the existing PSWR of up to 3 years.

Perth, Adelaide, Sunshine Coast, Canberra, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Gold Coast, Wollongong/Illawarra, Geelong, and Hobart are categorized as cities and major regional centres. Overseas students who complete their Bachelor’s and Master’s programs at the colleges/universities in these regions are eligible for an additional year of post-study work visa.

All other locations as listed in Migration (LIN 19/217: Regional Areas) Instrument 2019, are considered as Regional Centres/ Other Regional Areas and international students who complete studies from these places will be eligible for an additional 2 years of post-study work visa.

Designated Regional Area Postcodes:

A list of postcodes that specify designated regional areas has now been officially released by the Australian Department of Home Affairs:

New South Wales:

Cities & Major Regional Centres: 2259, 2264 to 2308, 2500 to 2526, 2528 to 2535 and 2574
Regional Centres & Other Regional Areas: 2250 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


Cities & Major Regional Centres: 3211 to 3232, 3235, 3240, 3328, 3330 to 3333, 3340 and 3342
Regional Centres & Other Regional Areas: 3097 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


Cities & Major Regional Centres: 4207 to 4275, 4517 to 4519, 4550 to 4551, 4553 to 4562, 4564 to 4569 and 4571 to 4575
Regional Centres & Other Regional Areas: 4124 to 4125, 4133, 4183 to 4184, 4280 to 4287, 4306 to 4498, 4507, 4552, 4563, 4570 and 4580 to 4895

Western Australia:

Cities & Major Regional Centres: 6000 to 6038, 6050 to 6083, 6090 to 6182, 6208 to 6211, 6214 and 6556 to 6558
Regional Centres & Other Regional Areas: All postcodes in Western Australia not mentioned in ‘Cities and major regional centres’ category above.

South Australia:

Cities & Major Regional Centres: 5000 to 5171, 5173 to 5174, 5231 to 5235, 5240 to 5252, 5351 and 5950 to 5960
Regional Centres & Other Regional Areas: All postcodes in South Australia not mentioned in ‘Cities and major regional centres’ category above


Cities & Major Regional Centres: 7000, 7004 to 7026, 7030 to 7109, 7140 to 7151 and 7170 to 7177
Regional Centres & Other Regional Areas: All postcodes in Tasmania not mentioned in ‘Cities and major regional centres’ category above

Australian Capital Territory:

Cities & Major Regional Centres: All postcodes in the Australian Capital Territory
Regional Centres & Other Regional Areas: None

Northern Territory:

Cities & Major Regional Centres: None
Regional Centres & Other Regional Areas: All postcodes in the Northern Territory

Norfolk Island:

Cities & Major Regional Centres: None
Regional Centres & Other Regional Areas: All postcodes in Norfolk Island

Other Territories:

Cities & Major Regional Centres: None
Regional Centres & Other Regional Areas: All postcodes in a territory other than the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory or Norfolk Island.

Top Regional Universities In Australia:

If you wish to study in one of the top-rated universities in Australia to avail the extended post-study work rights, then here is a list of the registered universities with regional campuses that you can choose from:

● Australian Catholic University: Canberra & Ballarat
● Southern Cross University: Lismore, Coffs Harbour & Gold Coast
● University of Wollongong: Wollongong
● James Cook University: Townville & Cairns
● Flinders University: Adelaide
● University of Adelaide: Adelaide
● University of South Australia: Adelaide
● Deakin University: Geelong & Warrnambool
● Federation University: Ballarat, Churchill & Horsham
● La Trobe University: Bendigo, Shepparton, Wodonga & Mildura
● Curtin University: Perth & Kalgoorlie
● Edith Cowan University: Perth & Bunbury
● University of Canberra: Canberra

Benefits of Studying In Regional Australia

  • You get additional points during the points test. Graduates from regional universities (even some colleges) of Australia are eligible for 5 extra points when applying for permanent residency.


  • International students who opt to study in a regional university can now avail the Destination Australia scholarship, making them eligible for grants of up to AUD 15,000 per year. Apart from this, students can also look forward to receiving additional scholarships from universities located in regional areas.


  • Under the subclass 485 of Temporary Graduate Visa for Post-Study Work Stream, overseas students who choose to study in regional institutions become eligible for extended work rights as mentioned above. However, they should have lived for at least two years in a regional location while holding their first Temporary Graduate (subclass 485) visa. This benefit will be fully available to the first cohort of graduates from 2021.


  • The opportunities for employment will be higher. The Australian government is working towards creating more jobs in the country’s regional areas.


  • The cost of living in regional locations will be significantly lower compared to that in large metropolitan cities. While the monthly rental charges for a standard single-bedroom apartment would be around AUD 2,400 in Sydney, it would range from AUD 1,200 to AUD 1,700 in regional locations.


  • Students get to experience the best of both worlds; a combination of city and country lifestyles. Cities and towns in many of the regional areas in Australia boast of the same entertainment facilities available in larger metropolitan cities. As such, you don’t have to forego any comfort when living in a regional area. In fact, you also get to enjoy the laidback countryside lifestyle.


Final Thoughts

The changes to the immigration program have opened up additional pathways for international students who will study in regional universities in Australia when it comes to receiving the Permanent Residency status. In addition to getting a chance to enjoy the tranquillity of the Australian outback, other benefits available to those who study in regional areas include more job opportunities and lower rents as well as living costs.

Students who are interested in exploring Australia and understanding its people, communities, and traditions will find studying in regional universities very satisfying. Further, the post-study work visa could open doors to exciting careers for them in Australia. As such, there is no doubt about the fact that the regional cities in Australia are great to live, study, and work.

While Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane are already very popular, cities like Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, and Gold Coast are gaining prominence among international students. This is sure to create a sustainable balance among cities and increased opportunities for everyone involved. This is to say that the changes in visa policies will work to the advantage of overseas students in several different ways.

If you are planning to study in Australia and would like to know more about how to avail the extended post-study work rights, then feel free to get in touch with our counselors for a free student counseling session. With over 11 years of expertise, we, at Abe Services, offer students a gateway to study in the finest universities in Australia.

Abe Services
Abe Services | December 31, 2019

Being a pioneering overseas education consultancy in India, we at Abe Services aims to provide valuable insights for students seeking higher education opportunities across many international destinations. With the help of a highly dedicated and skilled team of academic experts, we keep ourselves in track with the latest trends and updates in the world of overseas education. We hope that our informative articles will help students embark on a promising academic journey abroad.

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