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Can I change courses to get an Australian PR Path?

Student in Australia

Changing courses can be a strategic move if your goal is to obtain permanent residency (PR) in Australia. The Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) offers a range of immigration or visa options pathways, where certain courses or credentials might carry greater weight and enhance your chances of PR eligibility for international students. 

If you are a student visa holder and you are deciding to switch courses, it's vital to ensure ongoing compliance with the course and visa requirements. Otherwise, your visa may be cancelled.

You need to understand your situation and decide whether you are planning to change the course provider as well or not.

Furthermore, in selected circumstances, it is mandatory to apply for a new student visa (subclass 500).

You would require a new Confirmation of Enrollment (CoE) and/or may require a new student visa, If:

  • You are changing the course but staying with the same education provider (e.g. Australian University, School, or College) then you may go ahead (subject to education providers criteria) and do it unless you fall into scenario 1*.
  • You are changing the institution as well as the course, then you must have completed at least 6 months with your current education provider. Otherwise, you require a new student visa, refer to scenario 2**.
  • The 6-month period is referred to as the principal course of study, also known as the main course of study, which is associated with the initial Student Visa. If the student is enrolled in a package of courses, the principal course is the highest-level course within the package. Refer to Scenario 3***.
  • If you are contemplating transferring to a new education provider, it's important that your current education provider assesses or considers your transfer request. Prior to attempting to enroll with a new education provider, ensure you understand your current education provider's transfer policy and the obligations outlined in your written agreement.
  • If you are currently enrolled in a non-AQF (Australian Qualifications Framework) course and wish to transfer to an AQF course, there is no requirement to apply for a new student visa, as long you hold a current valid student visa, however, you would require a new CoE. 

Because of the recent changes, concurrent enrollments are now prohibited for international students in the first six months of study. This means that during the initial six-month period, you can only enroll in one course.

*Scenario 1: If you are planning to change from your current course to one of a lower Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) level or a non-AQF level of study, then you must apply for a new student visa.


**Scenario 2: If you are changing both the course and the provider and will not study at the same or higher AQF level or changing from an AQF level 10 course (doctoral degree) to an AQF 9 course (Master’s degree), you would be required to hold a new student visa.


***Scenario 3: If you have enrolled in a packaged course (e.g. a diploma course leading to a Bachelor's program), in general, it implies that you must have completed 6 months of the Bachelor's program (main course), otherwise, you would need to apply for a new Student visa.

Smiling student 1

Updates to Student and Graduate Visas in Australia: English Requirement and New Genuine Student

Do you need help with an Australian visa application?

Our team of experienced Immigration Lawyers and Migration Agents look forward to assisting you with your Student Visa application.

Based in Adelaide, South Australia, we provide Australian Immigration advice to people and businesses from all over the world.

You can book an appointment online or call us at (+61) 8 8351 9956.

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Thursday, 30 May 2024

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