Education services for overseas students: ESOS National Code – return to compliance

In March 2020, TEQSA and ASQA announced flexibility in regulatory arrangements regarding educational services for international higher and vocational students studying either in Australia or offshore.

In particular, ASQA and TEQSA relaxed the requirements in the National Code for students to attend face-to-face learning and enabled providers to deliver their courses online, in recognition of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This advice was updated in November 2021, with TEQSA and ASQA foreshadowing a review of these arrangements and a return to compliance with the ESOS National Code and ELICOS Standards during 2022, in light of the expected gradual return of international students to study in Australia.

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.

This transition period enables certainty for providers to forward plan, including through the enrolment of students and commencement of courses of study in early 2023. TEQSA expects that providers will actively adjust modes of delivery and student support services to comply with the National Code.

TEQSA understands that for some providers, a return to compliance by 30 June 2023 will pose challenges. TEQSA will consult peak bodies, monitor the transition across the sector and engage specific providers for whom particular circumstances apply.

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