The Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act)—and associated legislation—form the ESOS Framework.
This is the legal framework for the provision of education services to overseas students, and sets out the registration requirements and the ongoing standards for education providers that offer courses to overseas students.
The framework provides a consistent national approach to the registration of education providers so that the quality of the training, and the care of students, remains high.
The principal objects of the ESOS Act are to:
- provide tuition assurance, and refunds, for overseas students for courses for which they have paid
- protect and enhance Australia’s reputation for quality education and training services
- complement Australia’s migration laws by ensuring providers collect and report relevant information relating to student visas.
The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Regulations 2001 support the implementation of the ESOS Act 2000 by setting out detailed requirements for providers, including:
- information that must be entered on the register about the provider and each course by location
- student details that providers must include on the Provider Registration and International Students Management System (PRISMS), including information about tuition and non-tuition fees
- information about students that providers must provide (in relation to student visa conditions)
- penalties and infringement notices
- student records that a provider must keep.
The National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (National Code) sets out standards for the conduct of registered providers.
The objectives of the National Code are to:
- support the ESOS framework
- establish and safeguard Australia’s international reputation as a provider of high quality education and training
- protect the interests of overseas students
- support registered providers in monitoring student compliance with student visa conditions and in reporting any student breaches to the Australian Government.
The National Code governs the protection of overseas students and delivery of courses to those students by CRICOS providers.
The National Code is a legislative instrument of the ESOS Act. As such, it is legally enforceable—breaches of the National Code by providers can result in enforcement action under the ESOS Act. This action can include the imposition of conditions on registration or suspension or cancellation of registration.
Other legislative instruments support the implementation of the ESOS Act 2000 by setting out specific detail about some of the information and requirements in the Act.