Australia keeps the post-PhD work visa age limit at 50

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Posted on May 31, 2024


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The amendment reverses the government’s December 2023 announcement, made as part of its migration review, that all graduate visa streams would have a minimum age of 35 instead of 50, with the exception of Hong Kong and British foreign passport holders.  

The government’s announcement of changes to the ESOS Act earlier in May, which included plans for a “soft cap” on overseas students and tighter regulations on agents, makes the policy reversal a rare bit of good news for Australia’s international education industry. 

Lowering the age limit would support “early career professionals,” according to the initial migration strategy presented in December. However, detractors noted that the cutoff would have excluded the majority of doctorate grads.  

By the time their PhDs were given under the proposed legislation, many of the 40% of international PhD students in Australia in 2022 were 30 years of age or older, according to the Group of Eight. 

Commencing July 1, 2024, the 35-year-old age limit will continue to apply to graduates of taught master’s, bachelor’s, associate’s, and vocational programs.

The government has verified the following post-study work privileges, as previously reported: 

  • 2 years for Bachelor Degree (no change) 
  • 2 years Masters by coursework (reduced from 3 years) 
  • 3 years for Masters by research (no change) 
  • 3 years for PhD (reduced from 4 years) 

A second temporary graduate visa will still be eligible for the same reasons, but the two-year extension that was added in 2022 will end.  

The post-study and second post-study work streams will now be known as the post-higher and second post-higher education work streams, while the graduate work stream will now be known as the post-vocational education work stream. These are only a few of the further changes.