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International students will need ministerial approval to change course

According to Visa condition 8208, if students apply for student visa after 1 July 2022, their student visa will be subject to visa condition 8208 that international Students on Student visa (subclass 500) will not be able to change course unless they receive Minister’s Approval.

Critical technology related study includes:

✅a postgraduate research course that relates to critical technology – leading to either a Masters degree (research) or doctoral degree;

✅ a thesis or research topic that relates to critical technology (in a course at Masters degree (research) or doctoral degree level);

✅ a bridging course that is a prerequisite to a postgraduate research course that relates to critical technology.

Critical technology

Critical technologies are current and emerging technologies that can significantly enhance or pose a risk to Australia’s national interests and include economic prosperity, social cohesion and national security.

Changes from 1 July 2022

The Department of Home Affairs has introduced a visa screening system to manage the risk of unwanted transfer of critical technologies. On 1 July 2022, the Migration Regulations 1994 were amended to establish a framework supporting targeted visa screening to identify and manage the risk of unwanted transfer of critical technologies in certain visa programs.

These amendments were made by the Migration Amendment (Protecting Australia’s Critical Technology) Regulations 2022 (PACT Regulations). They are complemented by amendments in the Migration Amendment (Postgraduate Research in Critical Technology—Student Visa Conditions) Regulations 2022 to replace the student visa conditions from the PACT Regulations (8204A and 8204B) with a single clearer, more targeted condition (8208).

These regulations ensure that Australia remains a destination and partner of choice for international research and collaboration, while safeguarding our research, science, ideas, information and capabilities.

Importantly, while the amendments to the Migration Regulations commenced on 1 July 2022, they will not have any immediate impact on visa applicants or visa holders.

(Australian Government Department of Home Affairs)

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