The department supports student and labour mobility though policies, information products, services and advice to assist individuals and organisations on the comparability of overseas qualifications in Australia, and professional mobility programs. It also provides information about the Australian tertiary education system in other countries to promote the recognition of Australian qualifications internationally. For more information see Qualifications recognition.
Education Services for Overseas Students Framework
Australia provides rigorous protection for international students through the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) legislation, which requires institutions that provide education to international students to meet nationally consistent standards in education delivery, facilities and services. Breaches of the Act are treated seriously and the penalties can be significant.
All institutions wanting to deliver courses to international students in Australia must be registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) and meet special registration conditions.
The National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2007 (the National Code) provides nationally consistent standards for the conduct of registered providers and the registration of their courses.
The standards set out specifications and procedures to ensure that registered providers of education and training courses can clearly understand and comply with their obligations under the National Code.
Important information for students
The Department of Education and Training has released a new fact sheet for international students containing important information about their rights and responsibilities while studying in Australia.
Students can access this fact sheet for information on:
- choosing and enrolling in a course of study
- support services available in Australia
- the rights and responsibilities of students on a student visa
- working in Australia
- making complaints and getting help.
Changes to the legislative framework for overseas students
The Parliament recently passed changes to the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act).
These amendments streamline regulation, remove duplicative requirements and cut red tape in the ESOS framework, without compromising Australia’s strong student protections or our reputation as a world class destination for international students. The changes free up education institutions to invest in quality and innovative teaching and learning, so they can become even more competitive globally. They also give students, or the person paying tuition fees on their behalf, more flexibility to manage their tuition fee payments.
Three measures in the new legislation came into effect on 14 December 2015 to directly reduce administrative costs for education institutions. Please click here for fact sheets outlining the changes to:
- Removal of study periods
- Reporting student defaults and refunds
- Flexibility in paying tuition fees upfront
Other changes that simplify registration and regulatory processes take effect from 1 July 2016 and can be found here:
- Streamlined registration
- Internal review
- Registration fact sheet for higher education, foundation programs and ELICOS
- Registration fact sheet for schools
- Registration fact sheet for VET courses and ELICOS
Tuition Protection Service (TPS)
The TPS is a placement and refund service for international students on student visas affected by a provider closure. The TPS may also assist where students have withdrawn from or not started their course and are eligible for a refund of tuition fees that have not been paid by the provider. The TPS Director, appointed by the Minister, is responsible for delivering the service and ensuring its sustainability in the future.
The TPS online placement system provides students with the information they need to choose an alternative course that best suits them, or if there is no course that meets their needs, a refund of any pre-paid tuition fees. Further information is available on the TPS website.