Regulation & Legislation Manual-Australia

Regulations & Legislation (REG) Overview

In order to recruit for Australian Institutions, agents and counsellors must be aware of and comply with relevant legislation. This Unit will consider:

  • The ESOS Act and The National Code
  • CRICOS Registration
  • Student Visa Regulations
  • Privacy legislation

Significant Changes in Visa Processes in 2016

The simplified student visa framework (SSVF) was introduced in July 2016 to:

  • make the process of applying for a student visa simpler to navigate for genuine students
  • deliver a more targeted approach to immigration integrity
  • reduce red tape for business

The combined evidence level outcomes of the student’s education provider and country of citizenship guides whether the student visa applicant needs to provide evidence of financial and English language capacity.

Student visa applicants must have sufficient funds available for the duration of their stay in Australia and should not rely on work to support themselves or family while in Australia.

Visa subclasses:

  • 570 – Independent ELICOS sector
  • 571 – Schools sector
  • 572 – Vocational Education and Training sector
  • 573 – Higher Education sector
  • 574 – Postgraduate Research sector
  • 575 – Non-award sector
  • 576 – Foreign Affairs or Defence sector

Check the Department of Home Affairs site or International Education site for updates and clarification.

All student visa (subclass 500) holders must maintain enrolment at the same level or a higher Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) level for which they were granted a visa, unless they are undertaking a doctoral degree (AQF10) and transfer to a master’s degree (AQF9).
Transferring to a lower AQF level course or transferring from an AQF level course to a non-AQF Award course is a breach of the student visa condition and might result in the visa being cancelled.

An Introduction to Regulations and Legislation


International education in Australia is controlled by a number of Acts of Parliament and associated regulations at both the Federal and the State level.

This lesson outlines how these operate and which government department is in charge of each.
Note that regulations often refer to education institutions as “the provider” or the “registered provider”. Focus Questions

  1. Why does Australia regulate its International Education Industry? 2. How is this regulation achieved?
    3. What roles do the Federal and State Governments have?
    4. How familiar are you with your Agent responsibilities?

The ESOS Act

The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 is the primary Australian legislation regulating international education.

The ESOS Act regulates:

  • the registration process obligations of registered providers
  • The Tuition Protection Service; and
  • enforcement and compliance powers.

There are 3 main objectives:

Objectives How this is achieved


1. To provide financial and tuition assurance to overseas students, for courses that they have paid for.

  • Making sure that students receive the tuition they have paid for. Also, if an educational institution closes, a student is provided with alternative tuition or be given a refund.
  • Making sure that students have access to nationally consistent arrangements to deal with complaints or grievances.

2. To protect and enhance Australia’s reputation for quality education and training services.

  • Making sure that the education and training of overseas students meets national standards.
  • Making sure that student welfare services meet national standards.
  • Making sure the education providers in the industry have integrity and act ethically.

3. To complement Australia’s migration laws by ensuring providers collect and report information relevant to the administration of the law relating to student visas.

• Making sure that education institutions do not allow or encourage students to breach their student visa conditions.

The National Code of Practice 2018

For Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students to achieve the intended purposes of the ESOS Act, the legislation provides a National Code of Practice.

The National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (National Code 2018) supports the National Strategy for International Education 2025 to advance

Australia as a global leader in education, training and research.

The National Code is a legislative instrument made under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 and sets nationally consistent standards to support providers to deliver quality education and training to overseas students.

How does The National Code relate to Agents?

An agent’s behaviour is the direct responsibility of the education provider. So, if you make a mistake or behave dishonestly, the education provider will be held responsible for your actions. The National Code 2018 also requires that providers have a written agreement with all education agents they engage, to formally represent them. The agreement must contain corrective actions and termination conditions.

The National Code is arranged in two parts. Part A describes the framework of the ESOS Framework. Part B contains the detailed Standards.

The links below provide fact sheets and summaries of the 11 National Code Standards.

Standard 1: Marketing information and practices
Standard 2: Recruitment of an overseas student
Standard 3: Formalisation of enrolment and written agreements
Standard 4: Education Agents
Standard 5: Younger overseas students
Standard 6: Overseas student support services
Standard 7: Overseas student transfers
Standard 8: Overseas student visa requirements
Standard 9: Deferring, suspending or cancelling the overseas student’s enrolment Standard 10: Complaints and appeals
Standard 11: Additional requirements


The ESOS Act also provides for a register of all educational institutions and courses that are offered to international students in Australia. This register is called the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

Each institution and course is provided with a unique identifying number. These numbers are listed on CRICOS, which is an online database and is available to everybody. The ESOS Act specifies the information that CRICOS must record.

If an institution or course is not registered on CRICOS, it is NOT possible to apply for a student visa to study in Australia in that institution or course.

As an Agent you are forbidden to make an offer to a student who seeks to obtain a student visa to apply for a course that is not registered on CRICOS.

The Migration Act 1958

The Migration Act 1958 and associated migration regulations are the national laws and regulations that govern the issuing of Student, Tourist and other visas. This is the responsibility of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), which is a Federal government department.

What are the basic criteria for obtaining a student visa?

  • The student intends to study a course that is registered on CRICOS;
  • The student has a relevant electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) for the course;
  • The student must have the appropriate financial capacity to study in Australia;
  • The student must have the appropriate academic background, including English language proficiency to study in Australia;
  • The student must demonstrate that they have adequate health insurance, no debts to the Australian government and are of “good character”;
  • If the student is under 18, some further requirements apply and
  • The student is a genuine temporary entrant. What other criteria may apply?

Other criteria may depend on the student’s country of origin and education sector they wish to study in. The Department of Home Affairs assesses the risk that a student will breach their visa conditions. The

Simplified Student Visa framework (SSVF) came into effect on 1 July 2016. Its features include:

  • international students apply for a single Student visa (subclass 500) regardless of their chosen

course of study

  • student guardians apply for the Student Guardian visa (subclass 590)
  • a single evidence level framework applies to all international students

All students and student guardians are generally required to lodge their visa application online by creating an account in ImmiAccount.

Weightings and immigration risk indicators used to calculate the immigration risk of student visa applications include:

  • rate of visa cancellations (25% weighting)
  • rate of refusals due to a fraud reason (40% weighting)
  • rate of refusals (excluding fraud) (10% weighting)
  • rate of student visa holders becoming unlawful non-citizens (15% weighting)
  • rate of Subsequent Protection Visa applications (10% weighting)

If a provider and/or passport level are considered low risk, then it is possible to lodge a student visa application without evidence of English and financial resources.

Student Visas, Tourist Visas and Working Holiday Visas

  • Not all students who come to Australia to study apply for a student visa. It is possible for some individuals to come to Australia on another type of visa, including a tourist visa which permits them to study for a maximum of three months and those on working holiday visas for a maximum of four months. Persons wishing to study in Australia for longer than this should apply for a Student visa
  • Students studying Australian programs outside of Australia do not require a student visa. Registered Migration Agents

The Migration Act states that in Australia, only a Registered Migration Agent (RMA) is allowed to provide immigration assistance for individuals.

So, education agents working in Australia who are not RMAs need to be careful that they limit their advice to their clients to basic explanations and translations of student visa information that is publicly available on the DHA web site. They should not attempt a complex analysis of their clients’ migration circumstances. This may be a breach of the National Code 2018, Standard 4.6.1.

The Privacy Act 1988

The Privacy Act governs what information can be shared by institutions and agents about students. This law protects the rights of individuals to have their personal details dealt with confidentially.

However, some circumstances can create confusion for overseas students and their parents. In particular, for a student who is 18 or more years old: information that can be given to his/her parent is limited if there is no written direction from the student.

The ESOS Act Overview

The Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (the ESOS Act) is the legislation that covers the provision of education and training to overseas students who come to Australia to study on a student visa.

Under the ESOS Act, providers registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) are responsible for the actions of their agents in relation to:

  • Providing marketing and student information; and
  • Recruiting and placing of students; and
  • act honestly and in good faith, and in the best interests of the student

So, you need a good understanding of the ESOS Act and the related National Code. This also means you should take clear instruction from the institutions you represent regarding the activities you undertake on their behalf.

Focus Questions

  1. According to the ESOS Act, how is an agent expected to behave?
  2. How should an Agent not behave?
  3. How are students protected if an institution closes?

Responsible Behaviour

An education agent who acts professionally gives student applicants accurate and current information that is from trusted sources, such as government websites, and up-to-date advice from education providers. It is better for your business and Australia’s education sector if a well-prepared individual decides to study in Australia.

The ESOS Act describes how the education provider must behave in relation to the recruitment of overseas students, including publishing a list of all its agents.

An Education Institution must not engage in misleading or deceptive conduct in connection with:

  1. the recruitment of overseas students or intending overseas students; or
  2. the provision of courses to overseas students.

It also describes the connection between the ESOS Act and the National Code in Part 4, The National Code.

Education providers must take all reasonable measures to use education agents that have an appropriate knowledge and understanding of the Australian international education industry and do not use education agents who are dishonest or lack integrity.

The education provider must have a written agreement with education agents it engages to formally represent it. ‘Formally’ covers situations where the agent promotes courses of the education provider with the intention of recruiting students for the provider.

Providers are not required to have a written agreement with agents who act informally on behalf of a single student or their parents.

However, an education provider must not accept students from an agent who is, or has been, engaged in dishonest recruitment practices.

  • The written agreement must specify the responsibilities of the education agent and the education provider and the need to abide by the National Code 2018.
  • The education provider ensures its education agents have up-to-date and accurate marketing information.

Protection for International Students Introduction

From time to time, an education institution may close suddenly. This could be due to a natural disaster (such as a fire) or because of financial difficulties. If this happens, the consumer protection provisions of the ESOS Act are there to support the student.

Under the ESOS Act, the provider has the primary obligation to provide a student with a refund; if a course does not start when agreed, or ceases to be provided after it has commenced.

A refund may also be payable if a student withdraws from a course under the provider’s own refund policy.

As an alternative to a refund the provider can place a student in an alternative course, at no additional cost to the student, if the student agrees to this.

The Tuition Protection Service

The Tuition Protection Service (TPS) is an initiative of the Australian Government to assist international students whose education providers are unable to fully deliver their course of study. The TPS ensures that international students are able to either:

  • complete their studies in another course or with another education provider or
  • receive a refund of their unspent tuition fees.
    The Tuition Protection Service is a mechanism to place students when a provider fails to meet its

obligations to provide the program (called a provider default).

Where there is a provider default, the provider must either refund affected students the unexpended portion of their prepaid tuition fees, or to offer an alternative place which is accepted in writing by the student.

The TPS gives students control and responsibility within the placement process by allowing students to make a choice from available alternative placement options.

For example, if a College closes, and the provider is unable to provide the students with a refund or an alternative course, students will be offered a place in the same or a similar course with other Colleges in the same area. There will be no extra cost to the students and they will be able to complete their studies.

Under the Tuition Protection Service (TPS) framework, all providers have a statutory obligation to report to the TPS Director and the Secretary about provider and student defaults (when a student leaves the institution).

The ESOS legislation details a limit of 50% in the amount of prepaid tuition fees a provider can
demand from a student before they commence their course (unless the course is 24 weeks or less when they can require 100% of the fees to be paid). If they wish, students can choose to pay any amount of their course fees in advance.

ESOS also requires providers not administered by a state authority or eligible to receive recurrent Commonwealth funding (i.e. Private Providers) to keep any initial prepaid tuition fees in a designated account before the student commences the course.

What does an Agent need to do if a closure occurs?

If an institution closes, the Tuition Protection Service and Australian Government will work to ensure that all students are placed in a suitable alternative course.

If students affected by the closure approach you, you should refer the students to the Tuition Protection Service.

If your student is affected by the closure of their course/education provider and the student needs to apply for a new student visa in order to continue their studies, they may be eligible for exemption from paying the student visa application fee. If your student lives with a guardian who is on a Student Guardian visa (subclass 580), this person may also be eligible for the exemption.

Visitor, Working Holiday and Work & Holiday Visas and Study

Individuals may study short education courses, (usually English courses) on Visitor, Working Holiday or Work & Holiday visas.

Visa Type Visitor

Max. length of Who can apply for this visa study

3 months Anyone


Working Holiday (subclass 417)

4 months

Only passport holders of Belgium, Canada, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, HKSAR*, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Taiwan and United Kingdom

Work and Holiday (subclass 462)

4 months

Only passport holders of Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Turkey and the USA

*Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (includes British National Overseas passport holders).

The ESOS Act does not cover students studying on these types of visa.

As the EATC learning material focuses on study in Australia on a student visa, further conditions for applicants for these visas are not covered here. For more information on eligibility and obligations, please refer to DHA’s website.

The National Code of Practice Overview

The National Code of Practice 2018

For Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students to achieve the intended purposes of the ESOS Act, the legislation also provides a National Code of Practice. This can be found at Part 4, Division 2 of the ESOS Act.

The National Code 2018 commenced on 1 January 2018. Education providers must comply with the National Code to maintain their registration to provide education services to overseas students.

The Code covers the conduct of education providers delivering services to overseas students. It places clear responsibilities on all educational providers and their agents. Summary documents of the Code and its key requirements can be found here.

How does The National Code relate to Agents?

An agent’s behaviour is the direct responsibility of the education provider if there is an agreement with that provider. So, if you make a mistake or behave dishonestly, the education provider will be held responsible for your actions.

How is the National Code 2018 organised?

The National Code is composed of 11 Standards. Standard 4, in particular, sets out that registered education providers must ensure that their education agents act ethically, honestly and in the best interests of overseas students as well as uphold the reputation of Australia’s international education sector. Registered providers need to enter and maintain details of education agents with whom they have a written agreement in PRISMS.

Focus Questions

  1. What is the purpose of the National Code 2018?
  2. What are the direct responsibilities of education agents?
  3. What kind of course information needs to be accurate?

National Code Standards

An agent needs to understand the standards that all education providers must follow. The National Code 2018 comprises the following 11 Standards:

Standard 1 Marketing information and practices.

This standard sets out that registered providers must uphold the integrity and reputation of Australia’s education industry by ensuring the marketing of their courses and services is not false or misleading.

Standard 2 Recruitment of an overseas student.

This standard sets out that registered providers must recruit responsibly by ensuring students are appropriately qualified for the course for which they seek enrolment, including having the necessary English language proficiency, educational qualifications and work experience. Students must have sufficient information to enable them to make informed decisions about studying with their chosen registered provider in Australia.

Standard 3 Formalisation of enrolment and written agreements.

This standard sets out that registered providers must formalise their enrolment of overseas students through written agreements with overseas students. The written agreements protect the rights and set out the responsibilities of each party, as well as the courses and related education services to be provided, tuition and non-tuition fees payable, and refund policies.

Standard 4 Education agents.

This standard sets out that registered providers must ensure that their education agents act ethically, honestly and in the best interests of overseas students as well as uphold the reputation of Australia’s international education sector.

Standard 5 Younger overseas students.

This standard sets out that registered providers of overseas students aged under 18 must meet legislative or other regulatory requirements relating to child welfare and protection. Registered providers of overseas students aged under 18 must provide the students with emergency contact information and information about how to report actual or alleged abuse. Where the registered provider has taken on responsibility for the approval of welfare arrangements for a student who is under 18 years of age (for the purposes of the Migration Regulations), the registered provider must ensure the arrangements for the younger students are suitable, ongoing and appropriately managed until the student turns 18 years of age.

Standard 6 Overseas student support services.

This standard sets out that registered providers must assist overseas students to adjust to study and life in Australia and have appropriate orientation programs that help overseas students to access the information and services they require.

Standard 7 Overseas student transfers.

This standard sets out that registered providers must not knowingly enrol an overseas student wishing to transfer from another registered provider’s course prior to the student completing six months of his or her principal course (or for the school sector, until after the first six months of the first registered school sector course), except in certain circumstances.

Standard 8 Overseas student visa requirements.

This standard sets out that registered providers must safeguard the integrity of Australia’s migration laws by supporting overseas students to complete their course within the required duration and fulfil their visa requirements for course attendance and course progress. Standard 8 sets flexible provisions to allow online learning while maintaining appropriate standards for overseas students to comply with student visa conditions.

Standard 9 Deferring, suspending or cancelling the overseas student’s enrolment.

This standard sets out that registered providers must appropriately manage the enrolment of their overseas students and ensure all necessary information about enrolments has been provided to the relevant government department by maintaining updated information in the Provider Registration and International Student Management System (PRISMS) database.

Standard 10 Complaints and appeals.

This standard sets out that registered providers must ensure their overseas students have the right to natural justice protected through access to professional, timely, inexpensive and documented complaints handling and appeals processes.

Standard 11 Additional registration requirements.

This standard sets out that registered providers must continue to meet the requirements for CRICOS registration and ensure the ESOS agency for the registered provider approves, and has up-to-date information on, specific aspects of the registered provider’s operations and any registered courses.


Responsibilities of Registered Providers to Education Agents

The Australian Government’s risk assessment and management approach to the registration and ongoing monitoring of CRICOS registered providers means stronger, more robust and more visible compliance requirements. This is reflected in the National Code 2018.

Standard 4 has been strengthened so that conditions of written agreements and agent behaviour are clearer, to ensure that an agent:

  • Does not engage in false or misleading conduct,
  • Declares and avoids conflicts of interest,
  • Observes appropriate levels of confidentiality and transparency in dealing with students,
  • Acts honestly and in good faith.
  • Understands and meets the expectations of the Australian International Education and Training Agent Code of Ethics. Ethical behavior is discussed in the Ethics (ETH) section of this course.

A registered provider is obliged to take corrective action, including terminate its relationship with an agent, if it is aware of breaches of these principles.

Conflict of interest

Registered providers must require their education agents to avoid conflicts of interests. Examples of conflicts of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • when the agent charges services fees to both overseas students and registered providers for the same service
  • where an education agent has a financial interest in a private education provider;
  • where an employee of an education agent has a personal relationship with an employee of the

education provider.
The National Code at 4.3 states that a registered provider must require its education agent to:

4.3.1 declare in writing and take reasonable steps to avoid conflicts of interests with its duties as an education agent of the registered provider.

Written agreements

Registered providers must have a written agreement with each education agent that formally represents their education services, and enter and maintain the education agent’s details in PRISMS. If an agent does not comply with the terms of the conditions, the provider must take corrective action.

Corrective action may include:

  • providing additional information/material or targeted training in, for example, the expectations of the provider
  • refusal to accept any more students from the agent
  • not allowing the agent to use PRISMS for them
  • deciding not to work with the agent
  • terminating the agreement with the education agent.

In 4.2 of the National Code 2018 states that the written agreement between a provider and their agents must outline:

4.2.1 the responsibilities of the registered provider, including that the registered provider is responsible at all times for compliance with the ESOS Act and National Code 2018

4.2.2 the registered provider’s requirements of the agent in representing the registered provider as outlined in Standard 4.3

4.2.3 the registered provider’s processes for monitoring the activities of the education agent in representing the provider, and ensuring the education agent is giving students accurate and up-to-date information on the registered provider’s services

4.2.4 the corrective action that may be taken by the registered provider if the education agent does not comply with its obligations under the written agreement including providing for corrective action outlined in Standard 4.4

4.2.5 the registered provider’s grounds for termination of the registered provider’s written agreement with the education agent, including providing for termination in the circumstances outlined in Standard 4.5

4.2.6 the circumstances under which information about the education agent may be disclosed by the registered provider and the Commonwealth or state or territory agencies.

Marketing and Agents

Standard 4 of the National Code 2018 states that that when marketing certain features of a course, agents must describe them accurately. The provider is responsible for student recruitment and placement activities, whether undertaken by the provider themselves or their agents.

Standard 4 of the National code states that:

4.5 Where the registered provider becomes aware, or has reason to believe, that the education agent or an employee or subcontractor of the education agent is engaging in false or misleading recruitment practices, the registered provider must immediately terminate its relationship with the education agent, or require the education agent to terminate its relationship with the employee or subcontractor who engaged in those practices.

The National code at 4.6 states that a registered provider must not accept students from an education agent if it knows or reasonably suspects the education agent to be:

4.6.1 providing migration advice, unless that education agent is authorised to do so under the Migration Act
4.6.2 engaged in, or to have previously engaged in, dishonest recruitment practices, including the deliberate attempt to recruit a student where this clearly conflicts with the obligations of registered providers under Standard 7 (Overseas student transfers)

4.6.3 facilitating the enrolment of a student who the education agent believes will not comply with the conditions of his or her visa
4.6.4 using PRISMS to create CoEs for other than bona fide students.

CRICOS Overview

CRICOS is the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students. It is an online register of all the courses and institutions that are available to students who wish to obtain a student visa.

Institutions offering education or training services to students studying in Australia on student visas are required to comply with the Federal legislative requirements for registration on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

Some students may study a short course on another type of visa (tourist or working holiday visa) which permits them to study for a short period and may not be listed on CRICOS. Such students in Australia on visas other than student visas are not covered under the ESOS Act.

Focus Questions

  1. What is a CRICOS Provider Code and a CRICOS Course Code?
  2. What important information can Agents obtain from CRICOS?
  3. How can you search for information using CRICOS?

CRICOS Provider Code

Each institution is given a unique CRICOS Provider Code on registration. This code identifies the institution as a registered provider of education and training services to overseas students. Providers are required by law to include their provider code in all marketing material. For example, an institution’s website usually shows the code at the bottom of each web page.

Why is the CRICOS Provider Code important?

  • It identifies the education institution as a registered provider of education and training to overseas students;
  • It clarifies who is legally responsible for provider obligations under the ESOS Act. This is important both for students and agents.
  • Where more than one provider is involved in the delivery of a course, only one provider is registered on CRICOS to deliver the course. The CRICOS Code ensures clarity about who is responsible for any obligation under the ESOS Act and the National Code 2007.
    For example, a university may enter into an approved arrangement for a college to run one of its courses on its behalf, or a number of institutions may form a partnership to offer a particular course. The registered provider will be responsible for all the obligations under the ESOS legislation.

CRICOS Course Code

Each course has a unique Course Code. Some courses can be listed more than once with different CRICOS numbers.

Some courses may seem to be the same but if they have different CRICOS Course Codes, the length of the course, course cost, or the entrance requirements may be different.

Why do you need to be careful with Course Numbers?

It’s important that when you talk with a prospective student, you use the correct CRICOS Course Code. This means you can be sure you are referring to the relevant course information.

Course Search

In the previous section, you searched for a course using the CRICOS Course Code. In this section, you will use slightly different search techniques.

For each of the following examples you should use the CRICOS Course Search. Searching for a course and an institution that offers it
Example – You want to access information about Bachelor courses related to Health. Select the following

  1. Type of Course: Bachelor Degree
  2. Field of Education (Broad Field): 06 – Health
  3. Count Courses by Institution
  4. Click on Start Search

You can now see a list of

  • Where the courses are offered
  • How many different courses are available at each institution. Searching for a course and an institution that offers it by state/territory

Example – You want to access information about Bachelor courses related to Science in (A) but only for the Northern Territory.

Follow the same steps in (A) but also select

  1. Location: Northern Territory

You can again see a list of
• Where the courses are offered

  • How many different courses are available at each institution.
    Searching for a type of course by state
    Example – You want to access information about Nursing courses in South Australia. Select the following
  1. State: South Australia
  2. Field of Education (Broad field): 06 – Health
  3. Field of Education (Narrow field): 0603 – Nursing
  4. Count Courses by Institution
  5. Click on Start Search

You can now see a list of

  • Where the courses are offered
  • How many different courses are available at each institution.

Institution Search

You can also search for an institution on CRICOS.

For each of the following examples you should use the CRICOS Institution Search.

(A) Searching for an institution by state

Example – You want to find the providers that are available in Queensland and have ‘Business’ in their name.

Select the following

  1. Institution Location: Queensland
  2. Institution Name: busi
  3. Click on Start Search

You can now see a list of
• several different institutions

(B) Searching for an institution and the courses it offers

Example – You want to find the providers that are available in Tasmania and have ‘University’ in their name.

Select the following

  1. Institution Location: Tasmania
  2. Institution Name: univ
  3. Click on Start Search

You can now see

  • Institutions details for University of Tasmania (UTas) [00586B]. Unlike Example A, there is no results page as only one institution fulfils the search criteria.
  • Click on the List of Courses Offered by the Institution tab to obtain a list of courses available. Information provided by CRICOS

In this lesson you will become more familiar with institution and course information provided on the CRICOS website. The information is available to the public, no registration is required.

Go to the CRICOS website “Institution Search”

The Principal Executive Officer (PEO) is the person who has an executive responsibility for the operation of the provider. Note that the person listed on CRICOS who is formally responsible for the provider (the PEO) may not be the first person to contact in any particular situation.

Course Information

When you access information about a course, details about the Institution and the Principal Executive Officer are available also. If you do an institution search, at the bottom of the page are links to the institution’s registered courses.

PRISMS (Provider Registration and International Student Management System)


PRISMS is the Provider Registration and International Student Management System, which is a web- based database.

PRISMS produces and tracks all Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) documents that are produced for international students studying in Australia on a student visa. These CoEs are necessary for the issuing of student visas.

CRICOS is also contained within the PRISMS database. CRICOS records all of the registered courses for each provider that is registered to provide education to an overseas student studying in Australia on a student visa.

Students on another type of visa other than a Student visa do not require a CoE therefore they do not require a recording in PRISMS.

Focus Questions

  1. Can an agent access PRISMS?
  2. What information does PRISMS contain?
  3. How does DHA depend on PRISMS?

Access to PRISMS

PRISMS is a secure web site and requires a login identifier and password. This differs from CRICOS, which is a publicly accessible database.

PRISMS is used by education providers more than agents. However, a provider may give its agent(s) the authority to create CoEs.

The Principal Executive Officer (PEO) or an authorised delegate of the provider can allow an agent to access PRISMS for that provider’s courses. The agent can then create a CoE or advise on course information. The PEO is also listed on CRICOS for each provider.

If the agent creates a CoE, then

  1. (s)he can enter relevant information into the CoE form;
  2. a member of the provider’s staff will then authorise the CoE.

Education providers use PRISMS to communicate information about their international students to Department of Home Affairs. This is done for the purpose of obtaining and maintaining a valid student visa.

What is a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)?

An CoE is a Confirmation of Enrolment. This is a web-based document created by PRISMS that records which course or courses a student is enrolled in.

If a student intends to study more than one course, more than one CoE is produced. This allows the student to get a student visa for the combined length of all the courses. This is often referred to as a ‘Package’ visa.

Producing a CoE
These are the steps that are followed:

  1. The provider agrees to enrol the student.
  2. The provider authorises and prints a copy of the CoE and provides it to the student and/or agent.
  3. The information on the CoE is transmitted to DHA via PRISMS.
  4. When the student applies for a student visa, DHA matches and approves the CoE details.

What Does a CoE Look Like?

A CoE has 4 parts, and you’re going to look at some of its main features.
Part A – Information for overseas students: where to apply for the student visa

Part B – Course details: such as CRICOS code of the provider and the course, course start and finish date or course fee

Part C – Student details
Part D – Notes: relating the CoE

Open the Example CoE

Reporting Students Using PRISMS

Education agent counsellors are not permitted to create a Student Course Variation (SCV) so this section is for your information only.

Students are not reported if:

  • They follow the same pathway that they originally intended;
  • The details on their eCoE do not need to be changed in any way.

If any changes are necessary, the institution uses PRISMS to produce a Student Course Variation (SCV). Reporting for Changes in Details

Generally, the following events require an educational provider to use PRISMS to report to the student to DIBP:

  • The student does not begin the course;
  • The student finishes the course before the date on the eCoE;
  • The student leaves the provider;

In these cases, the provider would report on the student using the appropriate SCV code and create new eCoEs as required. Depending on the circumstances, the student may or may not need to be directly involved.

Students wishing to change provider do not need to approach DIPB unless they are changing the sector of the principal course of study.

Reporting for non-compliance of Student Visa Conditions

There are two reasons why an educational provider uses PRISMS to report students to DIBP for non- compliance:

  • Non attendance in classes;
  • Unsatisfactory academic performance.
    For these two reasons, the student is breaching the conditions of their student visa, so:
  • During the reporting process, PRISMS generates a formal letter that is sent to the student. This letter asks them to explain their circumstances to DIBP.
  • The letter states that the student has 28 days to make an appointment at a DIBP office.
  • If the student does not make an appointment, then his/her visa may be cancelled.

Current postal address

If the student has not provided the institution with a current postal address, the formal letter may not reach the student. Consequently, the student may not realise that an appointment is necessary. In this situation:

  • the student visa is still cancelled, because it is the student’s responsibility to ensure the provider has their current postal address.

A valid reason for non-compliance

The student may have a valid reason for the non-compliance. For example, the student was sick (the student also needs to have medical certificates to prove this). After the interview with the student, DIBP may decide not to cancel the visa.