Reducing red tape for ELICOS providers

To reduce the burden of compliance for English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) providers, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and the National ELT Accreditation Scheme (NEAS) have agreed upon strategies for NEAS Quality Endorsement to support ASQA’s provider registration and course accreditation processes.

ASQA acknowledges that NEAS Quality Endorsement is a desirable outcome for ELICOS providers, and beneficial to their students.

NEAS is working with ASQA to reduce red tape for ASQA-regulated ELICOS and ELT providers. NEAS will be assigning a colour coding to each provider registered to deliver ELICOS on CRICOS that directly supports the provider’s contribution and investment in external Quality Assurance.

A provider’s NEAS colour code will contribute to the range of data ASQA considers in its risk profile of providers. This profile informs ASQA’s decisions about what level of regulatory scrutiny or specific action should be applied to mitigate potential Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) risk exposures with respect to ELICOS delivery.

A simple colour-coding system will be used to support those providers who are investing in Quality Assurance:

  • GREEN: A provider who has been approved as ‘NEAS Quality Endorsed’ will be highlighted as a successfully quality endorsed ELICOS provider, and will be categorised as Green to external stakeholders. 
  • YELLOW: Providers who have scheduled their ‘NEAS Quality Assurance’ process but are yet to be endorsed, or providers who have areas of improvement pending approval to Quality Endorsement, will be highlighted as being actively engaged in continuous improvement and Orange to external stakeholders. 
  • UNASSIGNED: Providers who have been refused Quality Endorsement, or who are not participating in the NEAS Quality Assurance process, will be coded as UNASSIGNED. This is not a reflection on the provider’s quality position, but underscores the fact that NEAS has no independent data to support an externally validated quality assurance claim on their behalf.

This approach will reward ELICOS providers who are demonstrably investing in Quality Assurance by informing ASQA and the broader community of their ongoing commitment.

ASQA will continue to hold responsibility for the legislative implementation of the ESOS Act and the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011. NEAS may provide data to ASQA from time to time, on behalf of quality providers and with the written permission of those providers.

A summary of variables that contribute to a provider’s colour code is detailed below.

NEAS “Traffic Light” Risk Code System 

Risk Level Risk Variables Associated with “Traffic Light” Risk Code System Mitigating Factors
  • No prior history of a NEAS onsite Quality Assurance or Accreditation process
  • Resignation of engagement in the NEAS Quality Assurance process
  • Deregistered for ELICOS by ASQA, TEQSA, Boards of Studies
  • Sanctions imposed on ELICOS provision by ASQA, TEQSA or State based BOS’s
  • History of unresolved complaints from stakeholders
  • Evidence of non-compliance with legislation
  • Non award ELICOS courses not externally reviewed
  • Failure of NEAS Quality Assurance assessment
  • Complaints about a related entity, unit or business



Recency of last onsite Quality Assurance review


Outcome of the last onsite Quality Assurance review


Recency and outcome of the Annual return


Nature of outstanding items for rectification are required from either desk or onsite reviews


Nature of stakeholder feedback from onsite Quality Assurance review


Recency of non-award course review


Types of complaints received


Third party and related entity issues reports

Medium (YELLOW)
  • Onsite or desk review carried within the past 12 months with Quality issues identified and rectifications issued
  • A member of NEAS with annual return up to date but more than two years since a site based QA review
  • Issues identified as a result of the recent site/desk review with recommendations for improvement outstanding
  • Application for engagement in the NEAS QA process prior to the process being undertaken
  • History of resolved complaints
  • Non-award courses not reviewed externally for more than two years
  • Complaints about a related entity, unit or business
  • Onsite or desk review carried within the past 12 months with no Quality issues identified or outstanding
  • A member of NEAS with annual return up to date and less than two years since a site review
  • Issues identified as a result of a QA site or desk review with no recommendations for improvement outstanding
  • Successful completion of NEAS QA site processes
  • Non-award courses reviewed externally within the past two years


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