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Make a complaint—overseas students

An overseas student is someone who is studying in Australia on an overseas student visa.

Complaints from overseas students may be investigated by ASQA, the Overseas Students Ombudsman, or, in some cases, another agency.

Which agency investigates your complaint will depend on:

  • what your complaint is about, and
  • whether you are studying with a private training provider or a public training provider—i.e. a technical and further education (TAFE) provider.
Important information about ASQA's complaints-handling role:

Before you submit a complaint to ASQA, please be aware that:

  • ASQA takes a risk-assessment approach to complaints—our resources will be focused on the most serious complaints.
  • ASQA cannot act as an advocate or provide a 'consumer protection' service for students. 
  • ASQA has specific confidentiality obligations in relation to registered providers. ASQA respects both privacy and natural justice considerations in handling complaints. This means that complainants will be advised how their information was used in the regulatory process although in some instances the advice will not be detailed and the process can be lengthy if audit activity is involved.
  • Read ASQA's Privacy Policy.

If you are studying with a private training provider

In most cases, you should contact the Overseas Students Ombudsman.

You can complain to the Overseas Students Ombudsman  if you believe your provider has not followed the rules correctly or treated you fairly.

The Ombudsman can consider complaints about:

  • refusing admission to a course
  • fees and refunds
  • course or provider transfers
  • course progress or attendance
  • cancellation of enrolment
  • accommodation or work arranged by your provider
  • incorrect advice given by an education agent.

The Overseas Students Ombudsman can also investigate complaints about education agents who have an agreement with a provider to represent them in Australia or overseas.

You can also complain if a provider has failed to take action or is taking too long to take some action, like not providing your results in the normal timeframe, or not providing services included in your written agreement with the provider.

If you are an overseas student and you have a complaint about the quality of training and assessment being delivered by a private education provider, you may be eligible to submit a complaint to ASQA.

If you are studying with a public or government training provider

If you are studying with with a public training provider (i.e. TAFE) you should contact your state ombudsman's office, or, in South Australia, the office of the training advocate.

The Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

The Northern Territory


South Australia



Overseas Students in Victoria can also access the International Student Care Service (ISCS), a free and confidential support and welfare service for international students studying in Victoria.

Western Australia

Overseas Students in Western Australia can also access a free independent conciliation service, provided by the Department of Education Services WA. The Conciliator attempts to resolve disputes between international students and their institutions.