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Strong protections for international students

26 November 2018

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) has stressed the strong protections in place to protect students, particularly international students, studying in Australian higher education.

The Higher Education Standards Framework, which must be met by all higher education providers to be registered with TEQSA, includes clear requirements for students’ English standards, and support and complaints management practices. 

Additional requirements specifically targeted at protecting international students are included in the Education Services for Overseas Students Act (ESOS Act), National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students and English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) Standards. 

These standards are collectively monitored and enforced by the agency to ensure that, amongst other things, students entering higher education from an ELICOS program meet comparable English language criteria.

TEQSA chief executive Anthony McClaran said that all higher education providers, universities included, undergo annual assessments to ensure their compliance with legislation and that student interests are protected. 

“There are numerous requirements related to English language standards in the Higher Education Standards Framework, with Standard 1.1 calling for students admitted to study to have a proficiency in English needed to participate in their intended study”, said Mr McClaran.

“TEQSA’s 70 strong staff are dedicated to ensuring that all higher education providers meet their legislated requirements, and if we become aware of threats to student interests, or compliance with legislation we administer during our regular monitoring of the sector, we take prompt, proportionate action”.

The majority of TEQSA’s staff are dedicated to assuring higher education providers are meeting legislated requirements. This work occurs through cyclical assessments, sector monitoring and complaints management, and is a vital part of the agency’s operations.

Additional resources announced in the 2018-19 Budget have allowed TEQSA to not only bolster its assessment and assurance groups, but have also seen the introduction of a dedicated team responsible for managing the agency’s work regarding the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) and ESOS Act. 

This team is a further protection for international students, with any higher education provider wishing to teach international students requiring to be registered on CRICOS.

TEQSA has also been working with Australia’s national peak body for the English language sector of international education, English Australia, to produce sector guidance on what the agency will expect to see when assessing against ELICOS requirements, with the guidance set to be released before the end of 2018.


Media enquiries

Raphael May, Assistant Director, Communications: raphael.may [at] teqsa.gov.au, 0437 143 012 or (03) 8306 2536