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Assessment of your application

After your application is received, ASQA will assess your application and the supporting evidence you have provided.

There are four main stages in the assessment process:

Initial registration applications undergo the rigorous assessment process outlined below to ensure that your organisation is able to comply with—and remain compliant with—the complex requirements and responsibilities outlined in the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Framework.

On average, an application for initial registration takes between seven and eight months to pass through all of the stages in the assessment process.

Stage 1—Acknowledgement and completeness check

ASQA will acknowledge receipt of your application by email.

ASQA will then conduct an initial completeness check of your application.

Your application may be considered incomplete if:

  • you have not answered all required questions on the application form
  • you have not included all the required evidence
  • you have not paid the application lodgement fee and the application assessment fee

If your application is incomplete, ASQA will contact you. You will have ten working days to return all required information or supporting evidence, or to pay any outstanding fees.

ASQA will reject your application if, at the end of the ten-day period, the application is still considered incomplete.

ASQA will notify you when your application progresses to Stage 2—risk assessment.

Stage 2—Risk assessment

What is a risk assessment?

ASQA assesses risks to quality vocational and international education by gathering data about the operations of providers.

ASQA looks at a range of factors to assign a risk rating to each provider. Each application also undergoes a risk assessment.

A risk assessment considers:

  • how likely is that your organisation will not deliver quality training and assessment, and
  • what the impact (e.g. on students, industry, or the sector) would be of your organisation not delivering quality training and assessment.

How does risk assessment work for initial registration applicants?

When considering your application for initial registration, ASQA looks at factors including your financial and governance arrangements.

If you are already registered as a registered training organisation (RTO), information about your RTO's performance will also be used to inform a risk assessment.

Some of the factors ASQA will considers when assessing your application are shown in the table below.

Factors that might be considered in assessing the risks posed by your organisation
Performance factors
  • history of audit compliance and complaints (if previously registered as an RTO)
  • data from quality indicators (if previously registered as an RTO)
Financial factors
  • financial viability risk assessment
  • financial projections
Governance factors
  • Fit and Proper Person requirements
  • quality of your business planning
  • the transparency of your ownership/management structure
Supplementary risk indicators

May include:

  • intention to deliver training leading to a licensed or regulated outcome
  • multiple delivery sites or offshore delivery sites
  • partnership or subcontracting arrangements
  • accepting fees in advance from students.

Applications rejected at risk assessment

An application may be rejected at this stage if it does not satisfy all:

  • evidence requirements
  • fit and proper person requirements, and
  • financial viability risk assessment requirements.

ASQA reviews the suitability of your nominated senior and/or influential personnel to confirm that the applicant meets all fit and proper person requirements. ASQA may also investigate your organisation’s business status through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

The information you have submitted through the Financial viability risk assessment pack (DOC) allows ASQA to consider your capacity to maintain registration as a Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) provider and continue to comply with all registration requirements.

ASQA will notify you by email if your application progresses through to the Stage 3—audit.

Stage 3—Registration audit

If your application progresses past the risk assessment stage, ASQA will schedule a registration audit. The audit helps ASQA ensure your organisation is ready to operate.

The lead auditor will contact you to schedule an audit date. In most cases, your audit will be conducted between one and three months from the scheduling date (the date the lead auditor contacts you).

At the audit

The audit aims to confirm that your organisation meets its obligations and has the relevant systems in place to deliver training to overseas students studying in Australia. The audit is conducted at your nominated premises and reviews your compliance with the ESOS Framework. The auditor (or audit team) will examine your ability to comply with the National Code and, where relevant, the ELICOS National Standards.

The auditor may consider:

  • the integrity of your marketing material and information provided to students, including transfers between providers and complaints and appeals
  • how you monitor course progress and attendance to ensure students complete their course within the expected duration
  • how you manage the activities of your education agents, and
  • the adequacy of staff, facilities and equipment.

ASQA will conduct the audit at one or more of your organisation’s venues.

If you have also applied for initial registration as a registered training organisation (RTO)

In most cases, if you have submitted applications simultaneously, ASQA will assess compliance with the requirements for both RTO and CRICOS registration at the same audit.

Stage 4—The audit report and rectification

ASQA will review the evidence from the audit and prepare an audit report. You will receive a copy of the audit report, which will outline any non-compliance identified at the audit.

If ASQA has identified any non-compliance, you have one opportunity to provide evidence that you have rectified this non-compliance.

In most cases you will have 20 working days from the date the audit report is issued to complete this rectification.