Relevant Legal Structure
The Australia government heavily regulates the education sector through legislation and monitoring to protect its brand; education is the fourth largest export overall and Australia was the third most popular destination for tertiary international learners based on the OECD Country Notes.
The Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) and related legislation is designed to protect the interests of students coming to Australia on student visas. The legislation aims to protect and enhance Australia’s reputation for quality education, to provide tuition protection and support the integrity of the student visa program. The Act was amended in April 2016 to further strengthen Australia’s international education sector. Breaches of the Act are treated seriously and the penalties can be significant.
Any course of study offered to an overseas student on a student visa to study in Australia must be registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institution and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).
The government can now place additional restrictions on high-risk providers’ CRICOS registrations, such as additional regular reporting, capping their enrolments and limiting their ability to collect students’ fees in advance
Institutional Support Available
There are many consumer protection and support services available for international students. This includes services provided directly by institutions as well as those provided by a range of state, territory and federal government departments; a list of available services is provided on the Study in Australia web site.
Twenty-three percent of all students enrolled in higher education in Australia in the first half of 2015 were international.1
In 2014, 48.2% of the 358,735 students enrolled in the broad field of management and commerce higher education in Australia were international students, either onshore or offshore.1
The largest number of enrolments in the higher education sector overall in 2013 were from China, India and Malaysia.2