After receiving a number of queries around visa eligibility requirements for the Professional Year Program, The Australian Computer Society have sought clarification from the Department of Immigration and Boarder Protection (DIBP), and have now issued the following statement:
“DIBP have NOT changed the enrolment policy and it is the same that it has always been, and it can be summarised as follows:
Anyone with the right to work and study in Australia independently for at least 12 months can be enrolled in the PY.
1) Australian Citizens or Permanent Residents
2) New Zealand Citizens
3) Holders of Subclass 485 visas
4) Holders of Subclass 476 visas
5) Holders of bridging visas with full work and study rights
6) Holders of Subclass 573 student visas WHOSE COURSE HAS BEEN COMPLETED
NB: It is not possible to be granted a subclass 573 visa specifically to do the PY, and it is a breach of student visa conditions to do the PY concurrently with an approved student visa course. However, these student visa holders may commence a PY after their course has finished while their Sucblass 573 is still valid and then finish it on another visa – see scenario below.
7) Secondary Visa Holders – these are people who are dependent family members of a principal visa holder and some of these visa holders have unlimited work and study rights (such as secondary subclass 457 visa holders)+
8) Students will not be granted a 457 to study or complete their Professional Year. The 457 is a temporary sponsored work visa for people who wish to engage in genuine full time for their sponsor. Even if a 457 holder was engaged in full time work for their sponsor the ability for students to study whilst on a 457 is very limited – a couple of hours a week doing personal interest courses such as learning language or pursuing hobbies is fine however the study load of a PY course would not be acceptable for a 457 holder.
Former students who transition to a Subclass 457 will risk not meeting the Australian Study Requirement which will cost them points in the Points Test.
There are no independent pathways towards the PY for people who already held a Subclass 485.
It’s important to note that people who are refused a visa whilst onshore may be barred from applying for other visas and will be expected to leave the country. They could even end up being barred from applying for other visas for several years.
Ultimately, it is up to the provider to determine a student’s eligibility to enrol in the PY from an academic perspective, and it is the responsibility of the visa holder to ensure they are eligible from a visa standpoint.