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Where a superseded training product is replaced on an RTO’s scope of registration with an equivalent product, and the same superseded training product is on the provider’s CRICOS registration the equivalent training product is automatically added. The superseded training products end dates are changed to reflect the end of the transition period.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

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.

Are superseded qualifications or units of competency counted for the cost of annual registration charges and renewal of registration fees?

If you have a new equivalent qualification or unit of competency on your scope of registration as well as the superseded product, these products will only be counted once for the purpose of annual registration charge and renewal of registration fee calculation (i.e. the superseded product will not add to the cost of the fees).

If you have a new training package qualification or unit of competency on scope that a Skilled Service Organisation (SSO) has deemed to be not equivalent to the superseded product, these products are counted as separate scope items for the purpose of annual registration charge and renewal of registration fee calculation (i.e. the superseded product will add to the cost of the charge or fee).

Are there any alternative fee protection measures approved by ASQA?

ASQA has approved the Australian Council for Private Education and Training’s (ACPET) Australian Student Tuition Assurance Scheme (ASTAS) as a suitable measure to protect student’s prepaid fees.

More information about ASTAS is available from the ACPET website.

Do I have to pay the total amount of a fee or charge to ASQA upfront, or can I pay in instalments?

ASQA does not accept payment in instalments. You are required to pay any annual registration charges or any other charges in full by the date specified in the payment terms.

Do the same fees apply if I only want to assess and not deliver training?

Yes—the same fees apply regardless of whether you deliver and assess training or only assess training.

How much will a compliance audit cost?

The cost of a compliance audit of your registered training organisation (RTO)  registration is calculated according to the following formula:

  • base rate of $1000, and
  • $250 per hour for each hour after the first four hours, and
  • any official ASQA travel costs. 

ASQA cannot provide an estimate of the cost of your audit in advance, as the final cost of your audit depends on the time taken to conduct the audit. 

Currently, no charges apply to compliance audits of Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) registration.

Why is the charge for the post-initial audit not included in the initial registration application fees?

Initial registration application fees include an application lodgement fee and an application assessment fee.

The lodgement fee covers the initial review and completeness check of your application.

The assessment fee covers the costs of:

  • assessing your application for compliance with the VET Quality Framework.
  • scheduling, planning and conducting a registration audit, if required
  • developing a risk rating for your organisation 
  • processing the application decision and notifying you of the decision, and
  • issuing the provider registration certificate

If your application is approved, ASQA conducts a post-initial audit, typically around one year after granting your registration. (The cost of the post-initial audit is not included in the initial registration application fees as more than 20 per cent of applicants are not approved for initial registration. Also, the charges for your post-initial audit are calculated based on the length of the audit. The length of the audit depends on many factors, including the scope and findings of the audit.)

Will I be charged for the cost of an audit?

ASQA undertakes two distinct types of audit:

  • registration audits
  • compliance audits

The cost of a registration audit is built-in to the application fees for that application.

The cost of a compliance audit of your registered training organisation (RTO) registration is calculated according to the following formula:

  • base rate of $1000, and
  • $250 per auditor per hour for each hour after the first four hours, and
  • any official ASQA travel costs. 

The charge applies to time spent by ASQA, including time spent on conducting the site visit, auditor travel, preparing the audit report and reviewing rectification evidence (where non-compliance has been identified).

If non-compliances remain outstanding after rectification and ASQA issues a notice of intention to impose a sanction, a further charge is payable at the rate of $250 per auditor per hour for the analysis of any written response and additional evidence submitted.

Currently, no charges apply to compliance audits of Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) registration.

Can I sell my RTO?

Yes—if a business, including its legal entity, is being sold, ASQA needs to be notified of the sale via a Notification of material change or event using asqanet.

However, registered training organisation (RTO) registration is not transferable. The new owners of the business will have to apply to ASQA for initial registration as an RTO.

Does ASQA expect RTOs to be able demonstrate $50,000 in assets to show financial viability?

No—there is no requirement for an organisation to demonstrate any specified minimum value of total assets.

Refer to the Fact sheet—Financial viability risk assessment for more information on how ASQA assesses applicants’ financial viability.

Do I need approval to deliver a course online?

No—however, you must notify ASQA you plan to deliver a course online by submitting a Minor Change request using asqanet.

ASQA might ask you to provide evidence that demonstrates that the course is suitable for online delivery.

How can I add an Australian delivery location to my scope of registration?

You must submit an Notification of change of provider details using asqanet to add an Australian delivery location to your scope of registration.

How do I notify ASQA if my RTO business is entering liquidation?

You can notify ASQA of your business is entering liquidation by submitting a Notification of material change or event using asqanet.

How do I notify ASQA of a change of CEO?

You can notify ASQA of a change of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) by submitting a Notification of material change or event using asqanet.

How do I update my RTO contact details on training.gov.au?

You can change update your registered training organisation (RTO) contact details by submitting a Notification of change of provider details using asqanet.

If I want to issue units relating to licensing outcomes, do I need to inform ASQA?

You will need to apply to ASQA if you wish to issue a unit leading to a licensed outcome as a 'standalone' unit.

You will also need to apply to ASQA to list these units on your scope using the Application to change RTO scope of registration on the asqanet website.

What RTO changes need to be reported to ASQA?

It is a condition of registration that all registered training organisations notify the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) of any changes to contact details and changes or events that affect the operation of the registered training organisation (RTO).

RTOs must notify ASQA of these changes as soon as possible after they happen (preferably within 20 working days).

Can I advertise a qualification or unit of competency if I have applied to ASQA to add it to my scope of registration (if ASQA has not yet approved the application)?

No—it is an offense under the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 to advertise a qualification or unit of competency that is not on your scope of registration.

Can I put the Nationally Recognised Training (NRT) logo on marketing material?

If you want to use the NRT logo, your promotional material must clearly distinguish what is nationally recognised training within the scope of your registration and what is not nationally recognised.

Do I have to include my CRICOS code on marketing material for a CRICOS course?

Yes—all written material (including websites) promoting a course, or inviting a student to apply for a course, must list the registered provider’s Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) number.

Do I have to specify whether a course is accredited or non-accredited in my marketing material?

All promotional material should clearly define which courses are accredited and which are not accredited.

It is an offence to imply that non-accredited training is accredited training.

Can I submit a change of scope application when my application to renew RTO registration is still pending?

Yes―as your registration continues during this period, there are no additional restrictions on your trading.

Do I still have to pay my annual registration charge while my renewal of registration application is being considered?

Yes―your registration continues during this period, so you are still required to comply with all your obligations as a registered training organisation (RTO), including the obligation to pay your annual registration charge.

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