According to the new rules coming into effect from July this year, international students on SC 500 visa, will not be allowed to change their course of study, or research topic, unless approved by the Minister.
The Australian government has amended the Migration Act 1958, changing to rules for visa Sub Class 500, which is a student visa.
According to the explanatory statement issued by the federal home minister, the legislation “inserts a condition for Subclass 500 (Student) visa holders studying, or intending to undertake, higher education studies that they must not change their course of study, or research topic unless approved by the Minister.”
“The Minister cannot approve the change unless satisfied that there is not an unreasonable risk of unwanted transfer of critical technology by the visa holder,” it reads.
The changes would also allow the cancellation of a visa where the Minister is satisfied that there is an unreasonable risk of unwanted transfer of critical technology by the visa holder.
“Cancellation will be discretionary for ‘relevant visas’ (certain protection visas and related bridging visas), but mandatory for all other types of visa,” reads the statement.
The department has added new visa conditions, 8204A and 8204B, to the student visa holders where the applicant is studying a higher education course or postgraduate research course and intends to change their course of study, thesis or research topic.
The new rules will give the Minister powers not to approve a change of a visa holder’s course of study or thesis, or research topic in the public interest. The visa holders can challenge the Minister’s decision.
The new visa conditions 8204A and 8204B only apply to student visas for which the application was received after 1 July 2022. The already received applications would not have any effect on this.
These conditions would eventually apply to the following visa subclasses, commencing on a date to be fixed by the Minister by notifiable instrument, after the commencement of provisions applied to Student (subclass 500) visa:
Training (subclass 407)
Temporary Activity (subclass 408)
Temporary Work (Short Stay Specialist) (subclass 400)
Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482)
Temporary Graduate (subclass 485)
Recognised Skill Graduate (subclass 476)
Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494).
Permanent Residence (Skilled Regional) (Subclass 191) (expected to commence 16
Global Talent Independent Program visas:
Employer Nomination Scheme (permanent)(subclass 186) visa
Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (permanent)(subclass 187) visa
Skilled Independent (permanent)(subclass 189) visa
Distinguished Talent (permanent)(subclass 858) visa.