April 13, 2024

Critical Studies, Critical Technologies and a Critical Visa Condition

8208 visa condition

by Anne Nguyen

Beginning from the 1st of April 2024, international students will be subject to:

  • 8208 visa condition – ‘No study change related to critical technology without approval’ and
  • Public Interest Criterion (PIC) 4003B – ‘The Minister for Home Affairs can refuse to grant certain visas if there is an unreasonable risk of unwanted transfer of critical technology by the visa applicant’.

Even though the above was introduced in 2002 as part of the student visa legislative framework.

So, why are there additional visa conditions and PIC and, which students are they mainly applicable to? Read on to find out more.

With new technology advancing at a rapid pace in the 21st century, the Australian Government (and any foreign government) seek to protect their national interest from cyber and security attacks from:

  • computer crime,
  • interference of foreign government or
  • just cyberhackers.

As such, the Australian Government aims to eliminate cyber risks and/ or theft of intellectual property by tightening the controls on students studying certain courses who may transfer the knowledge or intellectual property during the course of their studies elsewhere.

Due to the above, the Department of Home Affairs may impose condition 8208 which requires for student visa holders to obtain approval from the Minister of Home Affairs before commencing a new ‘critical technology-related course’ in the postgraduate research sector and couple it with PIC 4003B.

I guess by now, you’re wondering what a ‘critical technology-related course’ is and in conjunction with the Migration (Critically Technology – Kinds of Technology) Specification (LIN 24/010) 2024, it defines what these courses are, namely:

  • Advanced manufacturing and materials technology
  • Artificial intelligence technology
  • Advanced information and communication technology
  • Biotechnology
  • Clean energy generation and storage technology
  • Quantum technology
  • Autonomous systems, robotics, positioning, timing, and sensing technology
  • artificial intelligence

Essentially, such courses outline the technologies that can impact Australia’s national interest and may affect our economic prosperity, national security and social cohesion and therefore PIC 4003B may be applicable to a range of other visa subclasses that goes beyond the student visas such as various employer sponsored, skilled and global talent visas to name a few.

Further, what is an ‘un/reasonable’ risk? There is no definition, and it will depend on one’s circumstances and assessed on a case-by-case basis. However, the assessment will be made in the context of the appreciable risk of:

  • harm or prejudice to the security or defence of Australia, including the operations, capabilities or technologies of, or methods or sources used by, domestic or foreign intelligence agencies
  • harm or prejudice to the health and safety of the Australian public or a section of the Australian public;
  • interfere with or prejudice to the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of a criminal offence against a law of the Commonwealth;
  • harm or prejudice Australia’s international relations:
  • enabling critical technology to be used in a way that is contrary to Australia’s international obligations or commitments

How can Longton Migration help you? If you’ve been issued a natural justice letter addressing PIC 4003B or need assistance in seeking approval from the Minister for 8208 visa condition contact Longton Migration for expert advice. There are short timeframes to respond to contact us ASAP!

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