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CRICOS Registration Requirements Explained

You must adhere to the ESOS legislative framework and register on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) if you plan to provide education or training services to international students studying in Australia on student visas.

The following details are provided to inform new CRICOS providers about the conditions set by the Australian Government for CRICOS accreditation and registration.

Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS)

The legislative framework governing education provision to international students studying in Australia on a student visa is outlined in the Educational Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000. The Australian Government administers the ESOS Act and its related measures through the Department of Education, Employment, and Workplace Relations.

The ESOS Act's principal goals are to:

a) give international students financial and tuition protection for courses they have already paid for.
b) maintain and improve Australia’s reputation for high-quality training and educational programs.
c) support Australia’s immigration policies by requiring service providers to gather and submit data necessary for regulating student visas.

According to the ESOS Act, providers wishing to register with CRICOS must be Australian citizens, pass a background check, and show that they can conform with the National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students (National Code).

An organisation must first receive approval from the Designated Authority in accordance with the applicable quality control framework or standards before it can register to provide services to international students. To deliver the certificates or courses it wants to offer international students, a training provider must first be a registered training organisation (RTO) or a higher education provider. Applicants may apply for RTO registration and CRICOS accreditation and registration at the same time.

ESOS Tuition Protection Framework

The present ESOS Tuition Protection Framework has three tiers of tuition protection to help overseas students when they’re CRICOS provider is unable to deliver their courses. As a CRICOS provider, you must consider the framework requirements.

  1. The first tier is a requirement that course providers who fail to deliver a course must either place (if accepted by the student) or reimburse impacted international students.

  2. The Tuition Assurance Scheme (TAS) is the second tier in cases where a defaulting provider fails to fulfil its responsibilities to repay students. 

    TASs are industry-run programs that comply with the Minister’s approval and the Education Services for Overseas Students Regulations 2001.

    A TAS’s job is to connect students with an appropriate alternative course offered by another TAS member that doesn’t charge them extra to enrol in a portion of the alternative course they already paid for from the defaulting provider. 

  3. The third tier of the current tuition protection scheme is the ESOS Assurance Fund. It essentially buys a place for a student who is disadvantaged by a provider default or, if that is not possible, to offer that student a reimbursement. 

Exempt and Non-exempt Providers

For the sake of the Tuition Protection Framework, you must decide if you are an exempt or non-exempt provider.

Exempt providers are not often required to pay a fee to the ESOS Assurance Fund and are not required to be TAS members.

Non-exempt providers must be TAS members and contribute to the ESOS Assurance Fund.

All non-exempt providers annually contribute to the industry contributions that are decided upon by a Contributions Review Panel and support the ESOS Assurance Fund.

These exemptions also determine whether you can teach certain courses on your RTO registration. As an exempt provider, you may teach overseas students exempt courses (e.g. first aid).

CRICOS Accreditation & Registration Made Simple!

Fast-track your CRICOS registration and get registered hassle-free with Fronto Advisory. Save time and avoid mistakes that can significantly delay your application. We will shoulder your responsibilities and work with you through each stage of the registration process.

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