Unregulated education agents practicing unethically pose an enduring threat and undermine the reputation of the sector.
International students continue to be vulnerable to sharp practices carried out by some providers. Key amongst these practices are:
- written contracts that breach consumer law
- encouragement to start courses online offshore, and
- withholding refunds if visas are not granted.
Delivery to international students, including unethical practices of third-party education agents, continues to be a regulatory priority for ASQA and a focus across government, to protect and enhance Australia’s reputation for quality education and training services; and to complement Australia’s migration laws relating to student visas.
ASQA is focusing on obligations under the ESOS Act and National Code to not engage in misleading or deceptive conduct when recruiting students or providing courses and not provide false or misleading information or guarantee a migration outcome in any marketing activities. We will also hold providers to account to ensure that their marketing and promotion of courses and education services is not false or misleading. We have no tolerance for any behaviour by VET training providers registered with ASQA that is complicit or facilitating the exploitation of international students.
ESOS providers are expected to have fully returned to compliance with face-to-face delivery requirements, and ensured delivery locations are updated.
Scan key points
- Education agents operate in an unregulated market across international borders. There is evidence that some education agents and migration agents own and operate VET providers, representing a potential conflict of interest.
- There is evidence of lax pre-enrolment screening practices including language, literacy, numeracy and digital (LLND) assessment to increase student numbers. As a result, students may not be well suited to the courses in which they are enrolled, leading to course withdrawals, non-completions, and visa extensions.