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 legislative framework and potential implications for students arising from exercising of these obligations.
ESOS Latest News
ESOS return to compliance
TEQSA now expects that all providers will transition to compliance with the ESOS National Code by 30 June 2023, where it is safe and practical to do so. For clarity, the ESOS National Code applies to all international students studying on an Australian student visa. For further information please click here.
On 26 November 2021, the Australian Government released the Australian Strategy for International Education 2021-2030. As part of the Strategy the Government is undertaking a review of the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) legislative framework, including the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018. The Government is seeking to ensure that policy and regulatory frameworks keep pace with global developments and support the delivery of the Strategy’s objectives. Therefore, as part of the Strategy, the Government is undertaking a review of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) and the associated legislative framework. The review will support the Strategy’s priorities of diversification, meeting Australia’s skills needs, placing students at the centre, sector growth and global competitiveness. The Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) have released a discussion paper on the review.
TEQSA changes to fees and charges
TEQSA increased its fees and introduced new charges from 1 January 2023 to recover costs for regulatory activities undertaken to support Australia’s higher education sector. For further information please click here.
PRISMS Modernisation Project
The Australian Government plans to invest $17.3 million over two years (2022–2024) to modernise the Provider Registration and International Student Management System (PRISMS) in order to streamline enrolments for international students and Australian education providers. For further information please click here.
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, was lodged in May 2022.
A steering group comprising the Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), Deputy Dean, Learning and Teaching, SET and Manager, oversaw implementation of the Auditor's recommendations, and the application for CRICOS re-registration.
Education Policy and Compliance 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 submitted 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:
TEQSA began assessing the University’s application for CRICOS re-registration in April 2023, and the University is expecting an outcome around August 2023.
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.
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 (DSOs) 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 DSOs for the ESOS Act.
University Principal Executive Officer (PEO)
Professor Suzanne Le Mire, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Student Learning, 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 DSOs or alternatively email email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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
- Change to compulsory Workplace-based learning
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?
- 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.
CRICOS application fees
As of 1 January 2023, TEQSA introduced fees for the following CRICOS applications:
ITEM COST Adding a new program on CRICOS $400 Adding a Foundation program on CRICOS $4,400 Intention to relocate or add a new delivery site $11,700
No fees apply to CRICOS program variations, cancellations or to register a new third-party arrangement.
For further information on TEQSA's fees and charges please click here.
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.