Can an overseas student who holds a student visa undertake additional study at the same time as their principal course?
An overseas student is defined in Section 5 of the ESOS Act as a person (whether inside or outside Australia) who holds a student visa (as defined in regulation 1.03 of the Migration Regulations 1994), excluding:
- a Subclass 576 (Foreign Affairs and Defence Sector) visa, or
- a person who satisfies the secondary criteria, but not the primary criteria, under the Migration Regulations 1994 for the grant of the visa, or
- a secondary exchange student within the meaning of the Migration Regulations 1994, or
- an overseas student who has been approved under a scholarship scheme, or an exchange scheme, sponsored by the Commonwealth to undertake a course of study or training in Australia.
As specified in Section 8 of the ESOS Act, a provider must be registered on CRICOS to provide a course at a location or do so in accordance with an arrangement they have with another registered provider.
As such, an overseas student in Australia on a student visa is permitted to undertake additional study (that is, a course of education or training) at the same time as the principal course for which they hold a student visa. However, any course undertaken by a student visa holder must be registered on CRICOS. A Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) should be issued for any additional study in a course undertaken by an overseas student whilst in Australia on a student visa.
CRICOS providers are responsible for all aspects of compliance with the requirements under the ESOS Act and its associated legislation. For example, as a CRICOS provider, you must have a written agreement with each student, and you must complete the visa-related reporting requirements relating to the student’s enrolment for each course. Failure to comply with the requirements in one course could lead to a student’s visa being cancelled and the student defaulting in both courses.
A student on a student visa who is seeking to undertake additional study should be aware of the requirements of their student visa and the need to:
- remain enrolled in a registered course
- achieve satisfactory course attendance, and
- progress in their principal course of study.