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Sector update: Offshore students enrolled in CRICOS-registered courses

10 November 2021

TEQSA wishes to remind CRICOS-registered providers to be mindful of their obligations under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) and National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (National Code) when enrolling offshore intending overseas students. Importantly, providers are reminded that the enrolment requirements for CRICOS-registered courses are the same for both onshore students (referred to as ‘overseas students’) and offshore intending overseas students. 

Key points

For the purposes of the ESOS Act ‘intending overseas students’ are students who have taken steps to become an overseas student, even if unable to travel to Australia to undertake their study due to border restrictions. Steps to becoming an overseas student include, but are not limited to:

  • working with an education agent regarding study in Australia
  • enrolling in a CRICOS-registered course, or
  • applying for a student visa.

All ESOS-related obligations must be met for these students, including the issuing of a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE).

Intending overseas students whose enrolments are not handled in line with ESOS requirements may be disadvantaged by:

  • losing access to the Tuition Protection Service (TPS) 
  • being ineligible for some Government policy concessions to post-study work rights.

Providers who do not manage enrolments for intending overseas students in line with ESOS requirements may be found to be non-compliant in meeting their obligations.

Providers

Providers must be transparent with students and potential students about the type of study they are being offered, including the visa, legal protections and post-study work rights implications of each. 

Providers should obtain clarification from students of their intention to study in Australia. Where a student is an intending overseas student the provider must issue a CoE to ensure the student is not disadvantaged when applying for a student visa, is covered by the TPS and is eligible for Australian Government concessions on post-study work rights.

To ensure providers remain compliant with the ESOS Act and National Code, TEQSA advises that:

  1. Prior to enrolment in a CRICOS-registered course, providers should ascertain whether an offshore student intends to apply for a student visa to become an overseas student in Australia.
  2. Providers enrolling intending overseas students in CRICOS-registered courses should issue a CoE even if the student is commencing their studies offshore.
  3. Providers must maintain up-to-date records for both onshore and offshore students enrolled in CRICOS-registered courses.

Enquiries can be emailed to enquiries [at] teqsa.gov.au.