In Late 2023, the Australian government proposed lowering the age limit for the Temporary Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) in their latest National Migration Strategy update. Currently set at under 50 years old, the new strategy calls for reducing the age ceiling to under 35 for recent international graduates.
Proponents Argue the Age Rollback has Some Benefits:
- Better aligns with the typical graduation age for international students (early to mid 20s)
- Provides additional time for younger graduates who generally have a harder time securing skilled work
- Incentivizes more international students to study in Australia due to the post-study work rights
However, others have reasonably challenged the change:
- Could disproportionately support graduates from shorter professional programs over those from longer degrees
- Potentially reduces job vacancies and opportunities for older local graduates and experienced professionals
- Risks saturating the youth labor market depending on the intake volume each year
- The policy change aims to grow Australia’s pool of global talent with skilled young workers. But it risks disadvantaging certain demographics in an already competitive labor market.
The debate reflects the complex balancing act around Australia’s immigration and skilled visa systems. With pros and cons on both sides, reasonable arguments exist to support and oppose the age limit change for the graduate visa.
Implementing the shift from 50 to 35 will reveal the actual impact in coming years. But more broadly, the back-and-forth shows the constant need to assess visa policy effects on multiple stakeholder groups. As with any complex policy, the end goal should uphold Australia’s social and economic interests while giving international migrants accessible pathways aligned with merit and skill.