ESOS providers: Reminder to issue Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) for ‘intending overseas students’

1 December 2021

ASQA reminds training providers to issue Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) for all overseas students who are intending to study in Australia, including students who are currently studying online but located overseas.

Even where travel restrictions mean a student cannot physically travel to Australia to undertake their study, training providers still need to meet the requirements of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) for that student. This includes issuing the student a COE if they intend to complete their studies in Australia.

Students who are intending to study in Australia whose enrolments are not handled in line with ESOS requirements could be disadvantaged by losing access to the Tuition Protection Service; and some government concessions on post-study work rights.

  • Definition of an ‘intending overseas student’

    Students who have taken steps towards studying in Australia are considered to be ‘intending overseas students’ for the purposes of the ESOS Act, whether they are currently within Australia or not.

    Steps towards studying in Australia include working with an education agent regarding study in Australia; enrolling in a course registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS); or applying for a student visa.

  • Enrolment advice to providers
    • Where students intend to study in Australia, ensure that you complete a COE for them.
    • Be transparent with students and potential students about the type of study they are being offered, including the visa, protections and post-study work rights implications of each.
    • Seek clear indications from students about their intention to study onshore in Australia.
  • Tips for creating COEs for ‘intending overseas students’ in PRISMS
    • Create offshore COEs for all students studying offshore (including online) whose intention is to study in Australia (not TNE students).
    • Manually set the COE status to ‘Studying’ when applicable (even where the student will not immediately use the COE for a visa).
    • Enter ‘No’ for overseas student health cover (OSHC).
    • Once a student is able to physically travel to Australia, check or set-up their OSHC and Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare, and update their COE accordingly.
  • Enrolment advice to overseas students
    • Take care with your enrolment and be sure it meets your needs.
    • Clearly communicate to your training provider that you intend to study in Australia when border restrictions are eased.
    • Consider applying for a student visa now to lock in your student protections and post-study work rights.
  • ASQA’s regulatory approach for overseas student delivery

    Overseas student delivery is a regulatory risk priority area for ASQA and we will be monitoring the industry closely as fully vaccinated students begin arriving in Australia as border restrictions ease.

    Until conditions allow for overseas students to return to onshore study in greater numbers, ASQA is maintaining flexibility in regulatory arrangements and requirements, to enable providers to support students to study online either in Australia or offshore.

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