Wellbeing Common post-graduation paths for international students March 01 2021
Arvin Navarro Arvin On-campus Consultant at Bupa

“What’s next?” is the most common asked question after graduation. Most international students, however, may have a more specific question in mind - “what’s the next visa?”. The article highlights the common paths (and visa) that international students take once they finish their studies here in Australia.

Congratulations! You have finally (or almost) completed your hard-earned degree here in Australia. All those times when you had to spend holidays away from your family, balance work and studies, explore different part-time jobs, or made a career sacrifice, are now starting to pay off. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t cheap either, but you have made it! Give yourself a pat in the back.

Now, you move on to the next phase which is post-graduation. “What’s next?” seems to be most commonly asked question after one finishes his/her studies and this applies to both domestic and international students. For the latter, however, it might be a bit different since it won’t be just a matter of choosing whether to pursue further education or finding which company to for.  To be more precise, an international student like yourself may also ponder on “what’s the next visa?” you should be applying for. Thankfully, there are various options available for you if you decide to stay longer in The Land Down Under.   

Below we break down the common paths the international students end up taking after graduation.

Path #1: Explore Australia

Free from your study obligations, now is your perfect time to go on a road trip with friends and see what Australia has to offer. This country is home to many world wonders including The Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Uluru in the Northern Territory, Cradle Mountain in Tasmania and Twelve Apostles in Victoria.

If you feel that few months may not be enough to explore Australia, applying for a Visitor’s Visa (subclass 600) is an option as it will allow you to stay in the country for travel purposes for a maximum of 12 months.

Alternatively, you also have the option to apply for a Working Holiday Visa (subclass 417 or 462) – which allows citizens of eligible countries (aged 18-30 yrs.) to work and travel around Australia for 12 months or more. Be sure to visit the Department of Home Affairs to see if you qualify.

Path #2: Study further

This is a common path for international students who wish to acquire a higher degree. Say, you have completed a Bachelor degree in Marketing, why not go all the way and pursue a Masters degree? This will not only hone your skills and knowledge in your chosen career, but also give your more time to establish your network through internships and postgraduate industry projects.

If you are extending your studies, you will also need to apply for a Student Visa (subclass 500) extension. Other requirements that you need to meet are the following:

  • Your health cover (OSHC) should also be extended to match your new student visa – feel free to reach out to our student support team for assistance with OSHC renewal
  • You should provide evidence that you have enough funds to support your extended studies, as well as the living expenses
  • You should apply for the new academic program that you wish to take

Path #3: Apply for a working visa

With your Australian degree, you are now qualified to enter the workforce in your chosen profession. Depending on your eligibility, there are several working visas available for fresh graduates. One of the more popular ones is the Temporary Graduate Visa (subclass 485), which permits international students with at least 2 years of Australian education under their belt to temporarily stay and work in Australia. The length of this visa is determined by the type educational qualification that you have acquired in the last 2 years.

You will also need to secure an overseas visitor cover (OVC) to meet the visa condition. If you would like to learn about your compliant health cover options, e-mail students@bupa.com.au to connect with our student support team.

Securing a job may be challenging at first considering your lack of Australian professional work experience. Initially, you may see yourself applying for paid internships, doing more volunteer jobs or even taking a Professional Year Program (if eligible) – which is totally fine as these type of work experiences can definitely help improve your credentials and take you one step closer to your dream career.

You might also want to check if you are eligible to permanently work and live in Australia through state or employer sponsored visas. The requirements and processes can be more complicated than that of the temporary residence visas so it’s best if you can allot more time in researching your options or consulting with migration professionals.

Path #4: Head back home

After spending several years living in Australia, you may decide to return to your home country to make up for the lost times with your friends and family and pursue your career there. With your Australian degree, you will have a whole career in front of you.  

We hope you had made the most out of academic journey – made lifelong friends, built your networks, honed your skills, and ultimately, had the time of your life in Australia. 


Students Wellbeing Learn more about our Overseas Student Health Cover

Visit our OSHC Student Hub for information on your cover plus tips on what to do if you’re sick, how to make claims and more.  

Find out more
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Arvin Navarro Arvin On-campus Consultant at Bupa