The Commonwealth Department of Education (previously known as the Department of Education and Training) administers the legislative framework for providing quality education to international students and monitors the education providers.
Educational institutions can only deliver education services to students on a student visa if they are registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). Schools applying for a new registration, or a renewal of their existing registration, must have their application to the Commonwealth Department of Education accompanied by an assessment certificate or recommendation certificate from the relevant state or territory education agency.
The major elements of the Education for Overseas Students (ESOS) legislative framework are:
- the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (Cth) (ESOS Act), which sets out the process for registering providers of international education on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) and the obligations of registered providers
- the Education Services for Overseas Students Regulations 2001 (Cth) (Old ESOS Regulations), which set out:
- the information to be entered on CRICOS about the provider and each of its courses by location
- the information about international students that providers must include on the Provider Registration and International Student Management System (PRISMS)
- providers’ record-keeping requirements
- processes for issuing infringement notices and paying penalties
- the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018, which sets out national standards for the conduct of registered providers and the registration of the courses they offer to international students
- the ELICOS Standards 2018, which provide a basis for providers to deliver English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students.
Replacement of the ESOS Regulations
The Old ESOS Regulations will sunset on 1 October 2019, when they will be repealed and replaced by the Education Services for Overseas Students Regulations 2019 (New ESOS Regulations).
The New ESOS Regulations:
- are substantively the same as the Old ESOS Regulations in terms of infringement notices and penalties (Part 6 of the Old ESOS Regulations, Part 4 of the New ESOS Regulations)
- include some changes to the details that are required to be entered on CRICOS about the school and the courses it offers (Part 1 of the Old ESOS Regulations, Part 2 of the New ESOS Regulations)
- require more details to be provided about accepted students, including information about any agents of the school who have facilitated the student being accepted for enrolment in their course (Part 3 of the Old ESOS Regulations, Part 3 Division 1 of the New ESOS Regulations)
- include corresponding changes to the school’s record-keeping obligations regarding each enrolled overseas student (Part 3 of the Old ESOS Regulations, Part 3 Division 2 of the New ESOS Regulations).
What Schools Should Do Next
Schools should be aware that the New ESOS Regulations come into force soon. Existing overseas student policies and procedures should be reviewed and updated to reflect the requirements in the New ESOS Regulations.