Australian Visa Update: International Students Cannot Change Courses Under The New Law  

International students enrolled in Australian universities will no longer be able to change their course of study, thesis, or research topic without receiving the minister’s approval. The new Australian visa rules mandate these changes.   

“This approval can only be given after the Minister has obtained an assessment from the competent Australian authorities that you are not likely to be directly or indirectly a risk to Australian national security,” said the Australian Home Affairs website.   

The statement issued by the federal home minister read that 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 added.  

“Cancellation will be discretionary for ‘relevant visas’ (certain protection visas and related bridging visas), but mandatory for all other types of visa,” said the statement.  

The new visa conditions — 8204A and 8204B — have been added to student visa holders studying a higher education course or postgraduate research course and intend to change their course of study, thesis or research topic.  

The new rule applies to students aiming for a graduate certificate, graduate diploma, master’s degree, doctorate, or any bridging course required to prerequisite to a course of study or research for a master’s degree or doctorate.  

The new visa conditions only apply to student visas received after July 1, 2022. Applications received before this date will not be affected by the new ruling.  

Students considering changing their thesis, major or research topic must complete Form 1221 and submit it to 

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