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 of the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 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.
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.
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.
The ESOS framework only applies to those international students who have student visas. The ESOS Act refers to these students as Overseas Students.
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.
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 Home Affairs.
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 Information for student visa holders page.
Please refer to the Pre-departure for new students page for more information.
Standard 8 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. UWA has a detailed Academic progress policy and the intervention strategy is described below:
Students can be identified in one of three ways:
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.
The Schools provide help and assistance to their students through the Course Advisers, Program Coordinators and their Dean/Head of School/Deputy Dean/Student Advisers.
A reduction in study load can be approved by the student's Dean/Head of School/Deputy Dean/Student Advisers. 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 Dean/Head of School/Deputy Dean/Student Advisers saves the details of this load in the student's file.
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 Home Affairs, 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 the Department of Education and Training 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.
Standard 8 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 the Department of Home Affairs 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 school adviser agrees that there are compassionate or compelling circumstances;
(b) their school 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 Education and Training through PRISMS.
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.
If an international student wishes to change their course, they must submit an application through the online application portal. Students who change courses will be asked to sign a new acceptance contract 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 release request assessment policy and procedure.
International students have access to the same procedures for complaints and appeals as all other UWA students.
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 the Department of Home Affairs for advice before taking any action.
If a student visa holder wants to suspend their research enrolment or take leave from a coursework degree, they must apply for Approved Leave and have their leave approved by the International Student Adviser or Director, who can approve if compassionate or compelling circumstances apply. Further student information is available here.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
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 the Department of Education and Training 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.
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 the Department of Education and Training, who may then reduce their visa duration.
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 the Department of Home Affairs.
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 the International students under 18 page.
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 the Department of Home Affairs.
If the student's welfare arrangements change after their visa has been granted they must inform the Department of Home Affairs of these changes.
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 Compliance, Policy and Quality Assurance team.
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 refund policy for further information. Any questions with respect to refunds should be directed to Tim Martin, Associate Director, Student Services and Engagement.