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Will ASQA assess my VET and CRICOS registration at the same audit?

In most cases, if you have submitted the applications simultaneously, ASQA will assess compliance with the requirements for both registered training organisation (RTO) and Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) registration at the same audit.

Can a person own more than one RTO?

Yes—the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 does not limit the number of registered training organisations (RTOs) that a person can own.

However, the application requires you to disclose any current, past and pending RTO ownership and RTO association. You will also need to complete the Fit and Proper Person Requirements form, which will ask you about your ownership of and association with other RTOs. This information will be taken into consideration as part of a risk assessment of the entity.

Can I apply for RTO registration if I have been convicted of an offence against the law, previously had my RTO registration cancelled or suspended, become bankrupt, or if I answer ‘yes’ to any of the other fit and proper person questions?

The Fit and Proper Person Requirements are designed to ensure that key registered training organisation (RTO) personnel have the characteristics and principles necessary to ensure the delivery of high-quality vocational education and training.

The Fit and Proper Person Requirements Declaration form requires information about your personal and professional history. ASQA uses this and other information that you submit to conduct a risk assessment of your organisation.

While answering ‘yes’ to any of these questions will not preclude you from applying for RTO registration, it will be a factor that is taken into consideration along with the other information submitted.

Can I deliver courses overseas as an RTO?

Yes—RTOs are registered to deliver Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) qualifications and these can be delivered in Australia and offshore.

The Charges Act enables ASQA to audit offshore delivery sites and charge the RTO for the costs incurred in doing this.

If you are applying for initial registration and you want to deliver courses overseas, you must include the intended offshore delivery locations in the initial registration application.

If you are currently registered, you must notify ASQA of the overseas delivery using asqanet (Notification of change of provider details). This notification is free of charge.

All registered training organisations notify ASQA of any changes to contact details and changes or events that affect the operation of the RTO. RTOs must notify ASQA of these changes as soon as practicable after they happen (preferably within 20 working days) and without being requested to do so.

Can I form a partnering arrangement or auspice agreement with an RTO?

ASQA does not require you to seek approval to enter into a partnership or auspice agreement with another entity. However, you must notify ASQA of any partnering or auspice arrangements that you have in place, or if you are making changes to these arrangements.

You must also ensure that all training and assessment delivered on your behalf is compliant. ASQA may request evidence of the systems you have in place to ensure that training and assessment delivered on your behalf meets the required standards.

Changes to partnering or auspice arrangements are considered a material change to your registration. As such, you need to notify ASQA by submitting a Notification of material change or event (via asqanet).

Does my organisation have to be an Australian company to be an RTO?

Your organisation must have a valid Australian Business Number (ABN) in order to be eligible for registered training organisation (RTO) registration.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) advises that companies registered under the Corporations Act 2001 and business entities carrying on an enterprise in Australia are entitled to an ABN if they apply.

How long is a period of RTO registration?

ASQA may grant registration for a period of up to seven years. In some cases, ASQA grants a shorter registration period. If you are granted a shorter registration period, ASQA will explain to you the reasons for this.

How long will it take for my application to be processed?

ASQA will finalise initial registration applications within six months of accepting a properly completed and fully compliant application. ‘Finalise’ means that ASQA has made a decision and advised the applicant (not that any review process has been completed).

How much will an overseas audit cost?

Overseas audits are charged as follows:

  • base rate of $1000, and
  • $250 per hour after the first four hours, and
  • any ASQA official travel costs, and
  • any additional reasonable expenses incurred by ASQA relating to the overseas part of the audit.

I have submitted an application to become an RTO. What do I do if I forgot something or made a mistake?

Please send an email explaining the details of the change to enquiries [at] asqa.gov.au. ASQA will contact you about what happens next.

If I need to add a VET course to my CRICOS scope, do I also need to add it to my RTO scope?

Yes—you must submit two applications to add the items to your registered training organisation (RTO) registration and to your Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) registration.

ASQA advises providers to submit these applications simultaneously. (ASQA does not require you to wait for the RTO application to be approved before submitting the CRICOS application and providers who do so are not eligible for the fee exemption discussed below).

Fee exemptions for applicants submitting RTO/CRICOS change of scope applications.

Application fees apply to both of these applications; however, the ASQA schedule of fees 2015 allows ASQA to offer an exemption from the lower of the two application fees when the two applications are submitted simultaneously.

In practice, this means that the RTO application should be submitted using ASQAnet, and the CRICOS application should be emailed or faxed to ASQA within one business day of the RTO application being submitted. This allows ASQA to process the applications concurrently, and reduces the cost of processing the applications.

What are my options if I disagree with ASQA’s decision about my application?

If you are dissatisfied with a decision made by ASQA, for example, to reject your application for initial registration, you have a number of options:

  1. Consider the reasons for the decision and submit a new application (learn more about making sure you are ready to apply for initial registration)
  2. Ask ASQA to reassess its position (applies to certain decisions only)
  3. Ask ASQA to review the decision (applies to certain decisions only)
  4. Apply to have the decision reviewed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). Refer to the ASQA fact sheet―AAT review of an ASQA decision.

Can ASQA provide advice about obtaining funding to provide VET?

ASQA cannot provide advice on funding.

ASQA’s role as the national vocational education and training (VET) regulator is to register VET and Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) providers and accredit VET courses.

There are a range of funding bodies in different states and territories. State/territory governments provide funding for VET in various ways, and Australian Government funding is for the most part provided through agreements with those state/territory governments.
Providers are advised to contact their state funding body or state training department for information on funding.

How are multi-sector providers regulated?

ASQA works with the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and with the Australian Government Department of Education, to regulate multi-sector providers.

Through the arrangements outlined in a memorandum of understanding agreed between ASQA and TEQSA in 2011, the agencies seek to implement the following principles in the regulation of multi-sector providers:

  • clear and consistent regulatory expectations
  • streamlined data requests from TEQSA and ASQA to minimise duplication
  • common evidence requirements to demonstrate compliance with common standards applicable  to higher education and vocational education and training regulation
  • joint regulatory and quality assurance assessments, where feasible.

How do providers deal with the different requirements of ASQA and occupational health and safety regulators for high-risk work licenses?

ASQA regulates training providers against the vocational education and training (VET) Quality Framework and has no jurisdiction over regulatory requirements of other authorities. Similarly, other authorities such as state occupational health and safety regulators or Work Safe Australia do not have the authority to mandate requirements for delivery of nationally recognised training. However, these authorities may refuse to recognise qualifications or statements of attainment which have been issued by providers that do not meet their standards.

Providers that come under the jurisdiction of multiple industry regulators may need to comply with multiple requirements. If ASQA is notified of conflicting requirements, ASQA's Industry Engagement team works with relevant authorities to address these conflicts.

How does an RTO in Western Australia or Victoria become registered with ASQA?

Training organisations in Victoria and Western Australia can only register with ASQA if they fall within ASQA's jurisdiction.

If your organisation is currently registered with the Victorian or West Australian regulator, but falls within ASQA’s jurisdiction, you should contact your current regulator and apply for a transfer to ASQA. The transfer is a simple process that does not attract any fees.;

If you are in Victoria or Western Australia, and are applying for initial registration as a registered training organisation, you should apply to ASQA if you will be operating within ASQA’s jurisdiction.

Your organisation falls within ASQA’s jurisdiction if:

  • you are registered on Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) for delivery to overseas students. 
  • your organisation offers courses online (in this case, you are considered to be offering these courses for delivery nationally, unless your application process specifically states otherwise, or 
  • you offer courses in any of the following states: 
    • the Australian Capital Territory 
    • New South Wales 
    • the Northern Territory 
    • South Australia 
    • Queensland, or 
    • Tasmania. 

My organisation is based in Victoria or Western Australia and delivers online— do we fall within ASQA’s jurisdiction?

ASQA regulates those registered training organisations in Victoria and Western Australia that:

  • offer courses to overseas students, and/or 
  • offer courses to students (including by offering courses online) in:
    • the Australian Capital Territory 
    • New South Wales 
    • the Northern Territory 
    • South Australia 
    • Queensland, or 
    • Tasmania. 

Does ASQA notify other bodies (such as funding providers) if a provider is found to be non-compliant?

ASQA publishes information about certain decisions in the Regulatory decisions list.

ASQA publishes information about:

  • decisions to cancel or suspend registration
  • conditions placed on registration
  • decisions to not renew registration, and
  • decisions to apply other types of administrative sanction.

These decisions are only published after all reconsideration and review activity is complete.

ASQA may also contact funding bodies or other relevant government agencies with this information.

How does ASQA deal with non-compliance?

If ASQA identifies non-compliance, you will be given 20 working days to provide evidence that you have rectified that non-compliance.

ASQA will then consider this evidence. If you remain non-compliant with the required standards, ASQA will make a decision about what actions to take next. In making this decision, ASQA will consider your history of compliance and the risks associated with the non-compliance.

Actions might include:

  • applying a sanction or condition to your registration, and/or
  • rejecting your application.

The National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 provides a range of sanctions of increasing severity—escalating from enforceable undertakings and additional conditions on registration through to suspending or cancelling the registration of a registered training organisation (RTO).

I have a unit of competency relating to a licensed outcome on my scope of registration. Does this mean I can issue licenses? Will students that have completed a unit of competency relating to a licensed outcome be eligible for a license from a licensing b

No—it is the licensing body that will issue a license. The licensing body may set additional requirements for obtaining a license.

As a registered training organisation, you may issue a statement of attainment to students that have met the requirements of a unit of competency. However, this alone does not indicate eligibility for a licence.

Students and providers can find more information on the requirements for obtaining licenses from the relevant licensing bodies.

Is it possible for ASQA to provide detailed advice on ‘how to be compliant’?

ASQA provides detailed guidance on what compliance with the Standards might look like in its publications, which include:

However, the information in these documents provides guidance only. It’s important to understand that the VET Quality Framework, which includes the Standards for RTOs 2015, does not prescribe how an RTO must demonstrate compliance. As such, what compliance will look like will vary for each provider, depending on factors including scope of registration, student cohorts, delivery modes, and so on. ASQA cannot provide a one-size-fits-all guide to compliance for all RTOs. Rather, each RTO has the autonomy to determine the best practices that suit their business model.

Can I change or improve my Compliance History?

Your Compliance History is simply an indicator of your history of compliance with core regulatory obligations and is one of many indicators that ASQA uses to profile your provider.

An RTO that has an ongoing history of meeting all regulatory requirements, including data provision and fee payment requirements, is more likely to have a stronger compliance history.

Can I find out the Compliance History of another provider?

ASQA can release certain information to the public if satisfied that the release of the information would reasonably inform a person’s choice to enrol as a VET student with a registered training organisation, encourage improvement in the quality of vocational education and training services provided, or encourage compliance with the VET Quality Framework.

ASQA publishes a list of regulatory decisions it has taken in relation to specific providers.

ASQA does not publish or share providers’ Compliance Histories as these are only one indicator that feeds into a provider’s profile and may be subject to misinterpretation as an endorsement or an indicator of provider quality.

Can I request a review of my Compliance History?

No, your Compliance History is not reviewable. Your Compliance History is drawn from finalised audit and complaint activity and your compliance with data reporting requirements, payments to ASQA of fees and charges and submission of your annual declaration of compliance. Your Compliance History is updated regularly and may change as a result of newly finalised regulatory activity.

How can I check my Compliance History?

You can find out your Compliance History category by emailing enquiries [at] asqa.gov.au. The enquiry must be sent by one of your organisation’s registered email contacts, as listed on training.gov.au.

For privacy reasons, ASQA is unable to provide information on your organisation’s Compliance History over the phone.

My funding agency or another third party is asking for my provider’s risk rating—what can I tell them?

ASQA has advised relevant bodies that risk ratings are no longer available.

You may refer third parties seeking your risk rating to ASQA’s website which advises that ASQA no longer applies risk ratings to providers.

Why are risk ratings no longer in use?

Risk ratings are often used in transactional regulatory models where regulation focuses largely on assessing applications for approval. ASQA’s regulatory approach has shifted from a transactional model to a risk-based model, which relies on the analysis of data and intelligence and the identification of risks posed at both the system and provider levels.

Will my Compliance History change?

It’s important to note that your Compliance History is a historical indicator, rather than an indicator of the current quality of a provider. So your Compliance History may be affected when new information about your provider is received. If your provider fails to meet regulatory requirements or makes substantial improvements in meeting requirements, your Compliance History may change.

Are nominal hours referred to as supervised hours for assessment?

Yes. Nominal hours are also referred to as supervised hours for course accreditation. Nominal hours represent the supervised, structured learning and assessment activity required to sufficiently address the content of each unit.

Are there fees associated with the accreditation of ELICOS courses?

Yes—fees depend on the number of accredited courses. Refer to ASQA’s Guide to fees for more information.