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FAQs

Are equivalent training products automatically added to CRICOS providers’ scopes?

Where a superseded training product is replaced on an RTO’s scope of registration with an equivalent product, and the same superseded training product is on the provider’s CRICOS registration the equivalent training product is automatically added. The superseded training products end dates are changed to reflect the end of the transition period.

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) is also required 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.

Can an RTO enrol an overseas visitor into a course and not be CRICOS registered?

In some cases, registered training organisations (RTOs) may enrol students who are temporarily visiting Australia on certain visas, other than study visas. However, some visas include restrictions on training. Further information is also available from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

However, any course undertaken by a student visa holder must be registered on CRICOS. A Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) is also required for any additional study in a course undertaken by an overseas student whilst in Australia on a student visa.

Does ASQA investigate complaints about CRICOS providers?

ASQA can receive certain complaints about organisations providing training to overseas students on student visas. These training organisations are referred to as Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) providers.

ASQA can consider complaints about CRICOS providers where the provider is alleged to have breached the required standards, and  failed to provide quality training and assessment. ASQA will use this information to inform its regulation of the provider.

Other complaints may be considered by the Overseas Students Ombudsman, or by another agency. For more information, see Make a complaint—overseas students.

How long must CRICOS student assessment items be kept for?

The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 requires Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) and English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) providers to keep student assessment records for a minimum of two years.

In addition, an registered training organisation (RTO) is required to securely retain, and be able to produce in full at audit if requested to do so, all completed student assessment items for each student for a period of six months from the date on which the judgement of competence for the student has been made.

Completed student assessment items include the actual piece(s) of work completed by a student or evidence of that work, including evidence collected for a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process. An assessor’s completed marking guide, criteria, and observation checklist for each student may be sufficient where it is not possible to retain the student’s actual work. However, the retained evidence must have enough detail to demonstrate the assessor’s judgement of the student’s performance against the standard required.

Qualifications, courses or units of competency that lead to regulated/licensed outcomes may also impose specific records retention requirements. RTOs should refer to specific regulatory requirements relating to that delivery.

If an overseas student has a confirmation of enrolment (CoE) from another provider, can an RTO that is not CRICOS-registered still deliver courses to that international student?

Whether an RTO can enrol overseas students is not related to the issuance of confirmations of enrolment.

It is a breach of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) for any provider to deliver courses to an overseas student on a student visa unless that course is registered on CRICOS. CRICOS providers are permitted to use third-party arrangements for the delivery of training and assessment. These arrangements must be approved by the ESOS Agency as per Section 10 Part C of the National Code.

If an overseas student is already studying 20 hours/week, are they allowed to study another course in their own time?

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. Only a CRICOS registered provider can deliver courses to overseas students on student visas.

A Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) is also required for any additional study in a course undertaken by an overseas student whilst in Australia on a student visa. 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.

Is a CRICOS provider required to provide health cover for its students?

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection requires all overseas students to have health insurance while in Australia.

It is not compulsory for the registered training organisation (RTO) to provide students with Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC); however, all providers should ensure that their students have this cover.

Further information is available from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.

Is there a requirement for specific holiday periods for CRICOS courses?

Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) providers may choose when their holiday periods are.

What is the required staff-to-student ratio?

The required staff-to-student ratio is indicated in Standard 14 of the National Code 2007, which states:

‘The registered provider must have and implement policies and procedures to ensure its staffing resources are adequate and have the capabilities as required by the quality assurance framework applying to the course. Where the course provided by the registered provider is not subject to an appropriate quality assurance framework, the registered provider must have and implement appropriate documented policies and processes for the recruitment, induction, performance assessment and ongoing development of members of staff involved with the recruitment or delivery of education or client services to students.’

The staff-to-student ratio for the teaching of ELICOS should not exceed 1:18 per class.

What standards do I need to comply with as a CRICOS provider?

A CRICOS provider must comply at all times with the:

  • Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act)
  • Education Services for Overseas Students Regulations 2001, and
  • National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2017.

In addition:

  • if offering vocational education and training (VET) courses, the provider must comply with the VET Quality Framework, and
  • if offering English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS), the provider must comply with the ELICOS National Standards.