International Centre

ESOS Act: Information for staff

 

Further Information

Information for new students

If you have any questions about the Education Services for International Students Act and your rights and responsibilities, please contact Anthony Turner, Manager, International Quality Assurance.

The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) legislative framework is designed to ensure that Australia's reputation for delivering quality education services is maintained and that the interests of overseas students are protected.

Standard 6.7 of the National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2007 requires UWA to ensure that staff members who interact directly with students are aware of UWA's obligations under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) framework and the potential implications for students arising from the exercise of these obligations.

Contents

  1. The ESOS framework
  2. Student visa conditions
  3. Pre-enrolment information
  4. Promotional Material - Requirements for International Students
  5. Satisfactory course progress
  6. Completion within the expected duration of study
  7. Mode of study
  8. Change of course
  9. Complaints and appeals
  10. Deferring, suspending or cancelling study
  11. Course credit
  12. Under 18 students
  13. CRICOS Registration of Courses for International Students
  14. Refund of Tuition Fees for International Students
  15. Useful links and definitions
  • 1. The ESOS framework


The ESOS legislative framework is designed to ensure that Australia's reputation for delivering quality education services is maintained and that the interests of overseas students are protected. It sets minimum standards and provides tuition and financial assurance. Together with Australian immigration law, the ESOS framework also imposes visa related reporting requirements on both students and educational institutions. Australian Education International (AEI) has produced an Easy Guide to ESOS.

What is an International Student?

If a student is not an Australian citizen or permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen, then they are an International Student, and must pay UWA's international tuition fees. Temporary residents must pay international fees until they have permanent residency.

Does the ESOS framework apply to all International Students?

The ESOS framework only applies to those International Students who have Student Visas. The ESOS Act refers to these students as Overseas Students.

Can International Students study part-time?

If the student does not have a Student Visa, they may study part-time. If the student has a Student Visa, they must complete their course within the standard full-time completion period, unless certain circumstances apply (see Student Visa conditions). They can choose to study part-time in a particular semester, as long as they are allowed by their faculty to overload later, or can catch up by studying Summer School units, if available.

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2. Student visa conditions

If Student Visa holders do not uphold their visa conditions, their visa may be cancelled and they may have to leave Australia. A full list of conditions is available from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship with the most important listed below:

  • The Student Visa holder must remain enrolled in a course registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).
  • The Student Visa holder must make satisfactory course progress according to UWA's rules.
  • The Student Visa holder must advise UWA of their Australian address within seven days of arriving in Australia, and within seven days of any change of address.
  • The Student Visa holder must maintain enough money to pay for travel, tuition and living expenses for themself, their spouse and their dependent children for the duration of their stay in Australia.
  • Any family members of school age (between 5 and 18 years) living in Australia must attend school in Australia. The International Centre's Pre-departure Guide contains more information about this.
  • The Student Visa holder must maintain health insurance for themselves and their family members while in Australia.
  • Students granted permission to work cannot undertake work until they have commenced their course in Australia. This applies to all student visa holders.

Student visa holders, other than Postgraduate research student visa holders listed below, are permitted, once their course has commenced, to work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight during the semester and unlimited hours when their course is not in session.

For Postgraduate research (subclass 574) student visa holders, and where their master by research or doctorate course in Australia has commenced, unlimited work rights apply. Students are permitted to work a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight during any preliminary courses they undertake on a subclass 574 (Postgraduate research) student visa, for example, ELICOS.

Further information is available on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.


3. Pre-enrolment information 

Standard 2 of the National Code requires UWA to give students detailed information about their course and about studying at UWA before the student accepts the offer of a place in a course. All marketing material for prospective Student Visa holders should refer students to the Current Students page on ESOS, which provides links to this information, and should be sent to Anthony Turner, Manager, International Quality Assurance, for approval prior to printing.

Please refer to the Pre-departure for new students page for more information.

4. Promotional Material - Requirements for International Students

All promotional material for prospective Student Visa holders must meet the requirements of the ESOS Act, National Code and TEQSA Threshold Standards and must be submitted to the International Centre for approval. It is a requirement under the National Code that promotional material be listed on an internal UWA register.

It is important that you send a draft copy to Anthony Turner (details below) to register that the material has been reviewed for compliance.

The legislation details the information that a prospective international student must receive before accepting the offer of a place at UWA. The purpose is to make sure that the student has a clear and accurate picture of the course, the university and the city before they make the commitment to come here.

To assist you that your advertising material and or brochure is compliant, and without having to insert a large amount of information you wouldn’t otherwise have put in, follow these guidelines:

  1. Ensure that the brochure shows the name of the university, contact details and our CRICOS provider code (00126G)
  2. Send a draft copy to Anthony Turner at the International Centre
  3. Include, as a minimum, the following basic information about the course (either in your brochure text or by providing the address of a web site at which the students can access this information):

    a.  a general description of the course content;

    b.  the qualification or accreditation gained on completion;

    c.  the duration and the commencement dates;

    d.  the mode of study and teaching methods used (including any field trip or work experience requirements);

    e.  the assessment methods used;

    f.  if another provider is also involved in providing the course, that fact and the location of course delivery by that provider and that provider’s CRICOS code;

    g.  details of any arrangements with other providers for recognition of the course or completed components of the course;

    h.  information about the minimum level of English language proficiency, educational qualifications and work experience required for the student to be accepted for the course (unless this is clearly not relevant), and whether course credit is available

  4. Include the following text:

    “International Students should also visit http://www.international.uwa.edu.au/studentnet/esos, which gives more information about the study environment, course fees and refund policy, support services, and schooling obligations for dependent children.”

    This web site covers the remaining general information that is relevant to all International Students and is required by the legislation, and also has links to other UWA internet pages with specific information.

If you have any questions or need advice, please contact Anthony Turner at the International Centre on 6488 8008 or anthony.turner@uwa.edu.au

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5. Satisfactory course progress 

The National Code (refer to Standard 10 of the National Code) requires UWA to have an Intervention Strategy to identify and assist students at risk of not meeting their course progress requirements. The University of Western Australia has a detailed Academic progress policy and the Intervention Strategy is described below:

Identifying students at risk of not meeting course progress requirements

Students can be identified in one of three ways:

  1. At the end of each semester, Student Visa holders who have failed 50 per cent or more of the units attempted are identified as at risk. The students receive a letter requesting that they meet their faculty adviser to discuss their progress.
  2. A student can be identified as at risk by an academic staff member, for example on the basis that coursework is not submitted or is not to standard, or by a support staff member who has identified a risk factor. The staff member contacts the faculty adviser, who contacts the student to discuss the student's options.
  3. A student can identify themselves as at risk, by contacting their faculty adviser and explaining why they are having difficulty with their course.

Strategies to assist identified students to achieve satisfactory course progress

UWA's Intervention Strategy offers a range of different kinds of assistance for students to choose from, and also allows for a reduction in study load, if agreed by the Faculty.

1. Faculty Assistance

The faculties provide help and assistance to their students through the Course Advisers, Programme Coordinators and their Sub Dean/Associate Dean/Academic Student Advisers. Faculty web pages give more details of assistance provided.

A reduction in study load can be approved by the student's Sub Dean/Associate Dean/Academic Student Adviser, if course rules permit and it is relevant to the student's situation, and as long as the National Code requirement for the student to study at least one unit face-to-face per teaching period is met. If a reduction in study load is permitted, the Sub Dean/Associate Dean/Academic Student Adviser saves the details of this load in the student's file.

2. Study Smarter

Student Services' Study Smarter team offer a range of programs and services aimed at helping students improve their academic skills. They can be contacted by email at study.smarter@uwa.edu.au or by phone on 08 6488 2423.

3. Uniskills

First year undergraduate students can join UniSkills, which offers academic support through Study Share study groups, where small groups of students study together with a more senior student in a supportive and informal group. Information is available from UniSkills, and by contacting the coordinator, Dr Judy Skene , telephone (+61 8) 6488 2424.

Students who do not make satisfactory course progress

If a Student Visa holder does not make satisfactory course progress according to UWA's rules, they are sent a letter informing them of this, and of the University's intention to report this breach of their Student Visa conditions to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), unless they lodge a formal appeal against their course Progress Status within 20 working days of the date of the letter, and their appeal is successful.

If they are reported to DIAC for failure to meet course requirements, this may result in their visa being cancelled and their being unable to re-enter Australia for a period of three years.

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6. Completion within the expected duration of study

Standard 9 of the National Code requires UWA to ensure that, at all times, Student Visa holders are in a position to complete their studies within the duration specified in their CoE, unless certain circumstances apply. If a Student Visa holder chooses to study at less than a 100 per cent load in a particular teaching period, they will have to make sure that they can still complete their course in time. However, students must maintain an enrolment load, that is, a student cannot have zero load for their semester. A student may be reported to DIAC where we believe their enrolment does not meet the full time criteria to complete their course within the duration specified within their CoE, or, where we believe that the student is not studying.

If a Student Visa holder does not complete within the expected duration of their course, UWA can only issue them another CoE if

(a) their faculty adviser agrees that there are compassionate or compelling circumstances;
(b) their faculty adviser has previously agreed to a reduced study load as part of UWA's Intervention Strategy; or
(c) they did not complete as the result of an approved deferment or suspension of their study.

Supporting documents should be saved on TRIM, and the faculty adviser should make a brief note in the course notes section of the student's internal academic record.

If a Student Visa holder completes their course early, UWA must report this to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), and the duration of the student's visa will most likely be reduced.

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7. Mode of study

The National Code permits Student Visa holders to enrol in a limited amount of distance/online learning.  No more than 25% of the point load of their entire course may be studied by units which are delivered 100% in distance/online mode, and they must study at least one unit face-to-face in each compulsory teaching period.

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8. Change of course

If an International Student changes course they must contact the International Centre. Students who change course will be asked to sign a new Acceptance of Offer and will be issued a new CoE and may be subject to a new tuition fee.

If a Student Visa holder intends to transfer to another university within the first six months of their final course at UWA, their request will be assessed using the criteria in UWA's Student Transfer Request assessment policy and procedure, which is available from the International Centre

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9. Complaints and appeals

International Students have access to the same procedures for complaints and appeals as all other UWA students.

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10. Deferring, suspending or cancelling study 

Any deferment, suspension or cancellation of a Student Visa holder's enrolment may have an effect on their visa, and it is important that they contact DIAC for advice before taking any action. Students can contact DIAC on wa.student.compliance@immi.gov.au. It is also worth noting that the Perth immigration office will no longer see a student without an appointment. This appointment must be made via their office and therefore this email is the quickest route to resolving any issues, either by appointment or return email.

If a Student Visa holder wants to suspend their research enrolment or take leave from a coursework degree, they must complete the International Centre's Approved Leave Form and have their leave approved by the International Student Adviser or Director, who can approve if compassionate or compelling circumstances apply. A new CoE is created and Offer and Acceptance signed by the student. Further student information is available here.

They must also complete either the

Compassionate or compelling circumstances are generally those beyond the control of the student and which have an impact upon the student's course progress or wellbeing. These could include, but are not limited to

  • serious illness or injury, where a medical certificate states that the student was unable to attend classes;
  • bereavement of close family members such as parents or grandparents;
  • major political upheaval or natural disaster in the home country requiring emergency travel and this has impacted on the student's studies;
  • a traumatic experience which could include involvement in, or witnessing of a serious accident; or witnessing or being the victim of a serious crime;
  • where UWA was unable to offer a pre-requisite unit;
  • inability to begin studying on the course commencement date due to delay in receiving a student visa.

The University's misconduct rules allow for the suspension of a student's enrolment for one or two semesters, or their expulsion from the University. UWA is required to notify DEEWR and DIAC of any suspension or expulsion for reasons of misconduct, and it is most likely that the student's visa will be cancelled and that they will be banned from returning to Australia for a three-year period.

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11. Course credit

If a Student Visa holder is granted course credit, and this results in a shortening of their course, UWA will report their new expected course duration to DIAC, who may then reduce their visa duration.

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12. Under 18 students

If a Student Visa holder will be under 18 when they start their course, they must have accommodation and welfare arrangements approved by UWA or by DIAC.

UWA will only approve the accommodation and welfare arrangement and issue a Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare letter (CAAW) if the student has an arrangement with a UWA-approved carer service and a confirmed place in a UWA-approved college or homestay.

For a list of approved providers see http://www.studyat.uwa.edu.au/undergraduate/apply/international-students-under-18.

The CAAW will state the date from which the UWA-approved welfare arrangement begins, and the student cannot arrive in Australia before this date, unless they have other welfare arrangements approved by DIAC.
If the student's welfare arrangements change after their visa has been granted they must inform DIAC of these changes.

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13. CRICOS Registration of Courses for International Students

A course must be CRICOS registered by the national regulator to be available to International Students on Student Visas. A course that is not CRICOS Registered:

a) Cannot be advertised or marketed in any way to international students; and

b) International Students on Student Visas cannot be enrolled in the course.

CRICOS Registration is submitted to the national regulator, TEQSA, by the International Centre.

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14. Refund of Tuition Fees for International Students

Refunds available to International Students for cessation or non-commencement of study are subject to specific legislation and differ to refund conditions for Domestic Students. Please refer to the International Student Refund Policy for further information. Any questions with respect to refunds should be directed to Anthony Turner, Manager, International Quality Assurance.

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15. Useful links and definitions 

Useful Links

Definitions

  • CoE: the Confirmation of Enrolment or CoE is a document that UWA creates on PRISMS for a prospective Student Visa holder when the student has signed their Acceptance of Offer. The student uses the CoE as proof of enrolment when applying for their Student Visa.
  • CRICOS: institutions that offer courses to Student Visa holders, and the courses they offer, are listed on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students.
  • DEEWR: the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
  • DIAC: the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
  • DIISRTE: The Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education Service.
  • Enrol: the words "enrolled" and "enrolment" are used in the ESOS Framework in the broad sense to mean that a student is undertaking a course.
  • ESOS Framework: the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Acts and regulations set out the legal framework governing delivery of education to Student Visa holders.
  • International Student: a student who is not a citizen or permanent resident of Australia, or a New Zealand citizen, and who must pay the international student fee for their course. International Students generally have Student Visas, but may have one of a range of other visas.
  • National Code: the National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2007. The National Code provides standards and procedures that institutions which provide education to Student Visa holders must adhere to.
  • Overseas Student: this term is used in the ESOS Framework to mean an International Student who has a Student Visa. The ESOS regulations only apply to these students.
  • PRISMS: the Provider Registration and International Students Management System (PRISMS) is the web-based system that lists registered courses and is used to create CoEs or to report on changes in student enrolments.
  • Suspend: in the ESOS Framework, "suspend" is used to mean any break in studies, for whatever reason, whether it is initiated by the student or the institution.
  • TEQSA: Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency

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