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Great News for PhD Students: Australia Maintains 50-Year Age Limit for Work Visas

Australia’s minimum age limit for post-study work visas for PhD and research masters students will remain at 50, following a recent reversal by the Department of Home Affairs. This decision overturned a previous announcement that the age limit would be reduced to 35 years old.

Key Points:

  • The age limit for post-study work visas for PhD and research masters students remains at 50.

  • The original proposal to reduce the age limit to 35 faced criticism for excluding most doctoral graduates.

  • The reversal follows advocacy from educators and institutions, emphasizing the impact on international graduates.

Background and Reversal

In December 2023, the Australian government announced a plan to reduce the minimum age limit for all graduate visa streams from 50 to 35 years old. This proposal excluded Hong Kong and British overseas passport holders. However, critics argued that this change would disadvantage many PhD graduates, particularly mature-age students and those with extended educational pathways.

The government’s decision to maintain the age limit at 50 has been welcomed as positive news for Australia’s international education sector, especially amid other regulatory changes.

Implications for International Education

Maintaining the age limit at 50 for post-PhD work visas is significant for international students in Australia. In 2022, 40% of international PhD students were aged 30 or older, which means many would have been ineligible for a visa under the proposed age reduction. This policy reversal ensures that mature-age students and those pursuing extended studies can still access post-study work opportunities.

Other Policy Changes

While the age limit for PhD and research masters students remains unchanged, the age limit of 35 will still apply to graduates of taught masters, bachelors, associate degree, and vocational programs, effective July 1, 2024. Additionally, the government has confirmed the following post-study work rights:

  • 2 years for Bachelor Degree (no change)

  • 2 years for Masters by coursework (reduced from 3 years)

  • 3 years for Masters by research (no change)

  • 3 years for PhD (reduced from 4 years)

The eligibility for a second temporary graduate visa will remain unchanged, but the two-year extension introduced in 2022 will cease. The government will also rename various visa streams to reflect these changes.

The decision to maintain the age limit of 50 for post-PhD work visas is a relief for many international students and educators in Australia. It ensures that doctoral graduates can continue to contribute to Australia’s academic and professional landscapes without the added pressure of age-related visa restrictions. As the government continues to refine its migration policies, this decision underscores the importance of considering the diverse needs of international students.

Stay informed about the latest updates in international education policies with OHC Guide. Join us to ensure you have the best resources and support for your educational journey in Australia.

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