The Migration Amendment (Postgraduate Research in Critical Technology—Student Visa Conditions) Regulations 2022 (the Amendment Regulations) amend the Migration Regulations 1994 (the Migration Regulations) to:
· insert new visa condition 8208 in Schedule 8 to the Migration Regulations, to apply to Subclass 500 (Student) visas (student visas) as part of a legislative framework to safeguard against the risk of unwanted transfer of Australia’s critical technology in certain temporary and permanent visa programs; and
· repeal visa conditions 8204A and 8204B from Schedule 8 to the Migration Regulations, which have been replaced by the more targeted, clearer condition 8208.
New visa condition 8208 is an integral part of the new legislative framework established on 1 July 2022 by the Migration Amendment (Protecting Australia’s Critical Technology) Regulations 2022 (the PACT Regulations). Although the PACT Regulations originally included visa conditions 8204A and 8204B as part of this framework, further consultation with stakeholders indicated that there was scope to make the operation of these conditions more effective and streamlined, ensuring their targeted application in the context of managing risks to critical technologies. Technical issues were also identified in the numbering of the conditions, which did not conform to the established four-digit format for visa condition codes.The Amendment Regulations address these issues. New visa condition 8208 is appropriately targeted and clear in its scope and effect, complementing other elements of the new framework established by the PACT Regulations. By expressly linking and limiting the condition to critical technology related study, this ensures the condition will only be enlivened in limited circumstances. By repealing visa conditions 8204A and 8204B and replacing them with new condition 8208, the Amendment Regulations strike an appropriate balance between the need to protect Australia’s research capabilities, and promoting Australia as a destination of choice for international students, including at postgraduate research level.