ESOS / CRICOS / ELICOS
Education Services for Overseas Students Act (ESOS).
This page provides general information about ESOS and the National Code, CRICOS and the ELICOS Standards as well as legislative updates, and other useful information and resources to assist areas of the University to understand and implement these important legal requirements.
The ESOS Training Course has been developed for all staff. While this course is compulsory for all new staff, existing staff can retake the course at any time to refresh their knowledge of ESOS. See below for additional information.
The Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (Cth) (ESOS Act) regulates education services for overseas students.
The principal objectives of this Act are:
- to provide financial and tuition assurance to overseas students for courses for which they have paid; and
- to protect and enhance Australia’s reputation for quality education and training services; and
- to complement Australia’s migration laws by ensuring providers collect and report information relevant to the administration of the law relating to student visas.
The University regards the ESOS Act as a Tier 1 piece of legislation.
All staff who have interactions with overseas students or programs delivered to overseas students are required to have an understanding of the University's obligations under the ESOS framework and potential implications for students arising from exercising of these obligations.
CRICOS Re-registration 2022
An audit of the University’s compliance with the ESOS framework was conducted in June 2021 in preparation for the University’s application for CRICOS re-registration, due in May 2022.
A steering group comprising the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), Deputy Dean, Learning and Teaching, ECMS and Manager, Educational Compliance is overseeing implementation of the Auditor's recommendations, and the application for CRICOS re-registration.
Education Quality prepared the ESOS Audit of Evidence, demonstrating how the University complies with the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 for the Audit, and will update its details prior to submitting it to TEQSA with the application for CRICOS re-registration.
The following resources were prepared for staff to assist them with their preparations for the Audit:
ESOS guide (Audit of Evidence)
The University ESOS guide has been prepared in order to provide staff with a detailed summary that addresses how the University meets the requirements of each of the eleven standards of the National Code 2018. Supporting evidence is contained within each standard including embedded links and operational and strategic documents.
The ESOS guide is a working document that requires regular updating and advice from multiple areas across the University.
Please contact International Compliance directly for general information about ESOS, or with proposed updates or amendments to the information contained in the ESOS guide.
The University must comply with its obligations under ESOS and the National Code in order to remain registered to deliver programs to overseas students in Australia. To assist staff working with international students or those involved in the delivery of programs to international students an ESOS training course has been developed to help them understand the University’s obligations under the ESOS Framework.
Staff are required to complete the course as part of the induction program.
The ESOS course:
- provides staff with the essential introductory knowledge of the ESOS Framework and highlights our responsibilities in delivering education and services to overseas students;
- takes around 20 - 30 minutes to complete;
- includes a short 10 question quiz, with a pass mark of 80%.
Any questions about this course can be directed to International Compliance.
In addition, the ISANA International Education Association is pleased to announce the release of the National Code Tutorial (NCT) instructional tool. The NCT is a certified course designed for professionals working in the international education sector to gain knowledge and understanding of the ESOS Act 2000 and the National Code 2018. *Please note that fees apply for this course.
ESOS Latest News
The new Foundation Program Standards 2021 (the Standards) commenced on 16 September 2021. The Standards repealed and replaced the Foundation Program Standards (19 June 2011).
A factsheet, providing an outline of changes to the Standards is available.
The Australian Strategy for International Education 2021‑2030 was launched by the government on 26 November 2021. It includes;
- Fee relief from regulatory charging in 2022,
- A review of the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act and the National Code to ensure that Australia’s legislation continues to support innovation within the sector, high quality education provision online and offshore and an optimal experience for all students.
A range of informative resources have been made available from various sources to assist the higher education sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Overseas Students Ombudsman has published a fact sheet regarding international student complaints related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- International students may be affected by travel restrictions and exclusion periods due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Department of Education (DE) have released regulatory information relating to obligations to students impacted by travel restrictions, exclusion periods and on-line learning.
National Code (2018)
The National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (National Code 2018) is the legislative instrument that supports ESOS.
- Changes to the National Code commenced on 1 January 2018.
- The National Code is now comprised of 2 parts:
- Part A outlines the purpose of the National Code, and
- Part B contains the 11 Standards that providers must meet in their interactions with overseas students.
- The Department of Education and Training (DET) has worked with the sector to develop system changes and explanatory materials.
- General Factsheet - Strengthening Australia’s Protections for International Students
- National Code 2018 Factsheets
University Designated Specialist Officers (DSO)
Designated Specialist Officers (DSO’s) have specialist knowledge and experience, and an operational understanding of the requirements of an Act as it applies to both general and specific University activities.
A DSO is best placed to provide advice about legislation, or know where to go for further assistance.
Find out more about the University DSO’s for the ESOS Act.
University Principal Executive Officer (PEO)
The Executive Director, Student Experience, Division of Academic and Student Engagement, as the PEO, is responsible for ensuring compliance with the ESOS Act and the National Code including:
- Ensuring the University’s Annual Registration Charge is paid;
- Ensuring the University’s TPS levy is paid
- Maintaining user access for staff members using PRISMS
Concerns about ESOS Compliance?
If you have a concern regarding the University’s compliance with ESOS you should raise the issue with your line manager. In the event that the issue is unresolved you can raise the issue with any of the University DSO’S or alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you receive a notice from any regulatory body notifying the University that it is in breach of ESOS legislation you should immediately inform Legal and Risk by completing an on-line report. If you have any questions please email email@example.com.
Additional information and resources
- International Compliance has prepared a Snapshot which provides you with the key points explaining what ESOS is and its purpose.
- Risk Services prepared a 101 summary of the ESOS legislation which sets out the consequences of non-compliance as well as an ESOS Act legislative summary.
- Education services for overseas students provides more student facing information.
- Contact International Compliance for general information about ESOS.
TEQSA is responsible for assessing applications for inclusion on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) and may approve that a provider be registered on CRICOS. Only CRICOS-registered providers can offer programs to overseas students in Australia on student visas.
On 31 August 2020, TEQSA extended the University’s registration from 19 August 2022 to 19 August 2025 pursuant to section 37A of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (TEQSA Act).
All programs that meet the requirements of the ESOS Act 2000 and National Code of Practice 2018 can be registered on CRICOS and offered to overseas students. The Educational Compliance team facilitate all program CRICOS registrations.
All new programs must first be approved by the University's Academic Program Entry and Approval Committee (APEAC) before being considered for registration on CRICOS.
For any questions regarding CRICOS registration please contact International Compliance.
Changes to CRICOS registered programs
For any approved changes to CRICOS registered programs (including change to duration, mode of study, work based training and /or arrangements with other providers), TEQSA require at least 30 days’ notice before the changes can take effect: Standard 11.3 of the ESOS National Code 2018.
TEQSA will process minor changes to a program that is already registered on CRICOS for the following scenarios:
- Any corrections (eg typo in the initial data entry, corrections to name, level or duration etc)
- Slight change to program name but no change to the outcomes of the program (eg Diploma in X to Diploma of X)
- Change to the cost of the program
- Update to the field of study to better align with the ASCED classification system
Compulsory information for CRICOS registration
Compulsory Information required for CRICOS registration includes:
- Program Duration in weeks (including holiday breaks)
- Is the program a dual qualification?
- AQF level (qualification type)
- Delivery location (campus)
- Modes of study including the maximum percentage of a total course that a student may undertake by distance and/or online learning
- Mandatory work based training (hours per week, number of weeks)
- Field of education codes (Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED) 2001)
- Projected number of international students
- Projected number of domestic students
- Estimated total program cost
- Estimated non-tuition fees
- External collaboration: Do arrangements with other providers exist?
- If yes, have these arrangements previously been approved by TEQSA? View the approved list of arrangements/locations
- If no, a TPA (Third Party Arrangement) application will need to be lodged with TEQSA. TEQSA currently charges faculties a $2,500 fee to assess these arrangements.
- Documentary evidence of any professional accreditation required for the program
Programs that have been approved for deletion through APEAC will be removed from CRICOS.
CRICOS Dataset Resource
The wider public can now access a snapshot of the CRICOS dataset containing a list of all Australian education providers that offer courses to people studying in Australia on student visas. This also includes the courses offered, and their locations, and is available via https://data.gov.au/data/dataset/cricos.
The revised English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students Standards 2018 were approved by the Minister’s delegate on 11 October 2017 and took effect on 1 January 2018.
The ELICOS Standards 2018 provide a basis on which regulatory authorities may register a provider on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS), under the ESOS Act, to deliver an ELICOS course.
The ELICOS Standards apply to providers who deliver courses which are solely or predominantly of English language instruction to student visa holders in Australia.
The main change amends the definition of an ELICOS course to bring all intensive English language courses registered on CRICOS within the scope of the ELICOS Standards.