Economic opportunities and outcomes of post-study work rights

Temporary graduates in Australia are young, highly educated and globally competent, but employers are yet to realise the full benefits to the labour market, according to a new report commissioned by IEAA.

Almost three-quarters of temporary graduate visa (subclass 485) holders are in full-time (44%) or part-time (30%) employment.

But despite being younger and more highly educated than other skilled migrants, a number of temporary graduates are working in low-skilled occupations – or not at all – after their studies.

Around 17% work in low skilled jobs in retail, wholesale and hospitality. More than 1 in 5 are unemployed and looking for work (10%), or are not participating in the labour market (12%).

A rich new source of temporary graduate data

The report presents some of the most detailed research of its kind, drawing on the Australian Census and Temporary Entrants Integrated Dataset (ACTEID), a rich new data source that combines visa holder information from the Department of Home Affairs and insights from the Australian Census.

“This report adds to the growing research on post-study work rights,” said IEAA President, Melissa Banks. “Recent research has given us great insights into student perceptions and the economic impact of temporary migration, but until now there has been a dearth of data on graduate outcomes.”

“Post-study work rights are crucial for Australia to remain competitive in the global education market. The more we can enhance graduate outcomes, the better for all – students, education providers, employers and the broader Australian community,” added Ms Banks.

The temporary graduate visa was introduced by Australia in 2008 (and updated in 2013) as an important mechanism for international students to gain workplace experience and for Australia to remain competitive in the education market. The length of visa is between 2–4 years, dependent on a student’s level of study.

Suggested Citation

Chew, J. (2019), ‘Economic opportunities and outcomes of post-study work rights in Australia’, International Education Association of
Australia (IEAA), retrieved from


Jonathan Chew – Nous Group

Published: October 2019