Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act



The ESOS Act sets out the legal framework governing delivery of education to overseas students studying in Australia on a student visa.

The Australian Government, through the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE), administers the ESOS Act and its associated instruments.

The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 (current) governs:

·  the registration process and obligations of registered providers

·  the Tuition Protection Service; and

·  enforcement and compliance powers.   

Baird Review

On 9 March 2010 the Hon Bruce Baird AM presented the final report (pdf 1.15 mb) (rtf 3 mb) on his review of the ESOS Act to the Government (the Baird Review). More information is available on the ESOS Review page.  


Recent amendments to the Act

More information on these amendments which formed the Government’s second phase response to the Baird Review can be found on the recent changes to ESOS page.
The changes to the ESOS Act 2000 and Ombudsman Act 1976 from this amendment Act include:

•  further strengthening the registration requirements of education providers delivering to overseas students with a specific focus on business sustainability
•  introducing a consistent risk management approach to the regulation of international education
•  limiting the period of registration and allowing conditions to be placed on a provider's registration according to risk.
•  extending the range of non-compliant behaviour that could attract financial penalties to strengthen regulation
•  publishing targets and regularly reporting on regulatory activities undertaken, and
•  expanding the role of the Commonwealth Ombudsman for external complaints relating to private providers.

More information on these amendments which formed the Government’s first phase response to the Baird review can be found on the ESOS Review page.

•  A requirement for all institutions currently registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) to undergo a risk-managed re-registration process by 31 December 2010
•  Two new registration requirements for education providers:
•  the principal purpose of the provider is to provide education; and
•  the provider has demonstrated capacity to provide education of a satisfactory standard
•  a requirement on education providers to publicly list the names of education agents who represent them and comply with any matters prescribed in the regulations concerning their agents; and
•  a number of technical amendments to improve the operation of the ESOS Act.

On 15 September 2011 the Australian Parliament passed the Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Amendment Bill 2011 and the new provisions took effect from 1 January 2012. Through the charges levied in the Registration Charges Act, the Commonwealth recovers the costs of administering the framework that allows providers to deliver courses to overseas students.
The new provisions include a restructured and rebased Annual Registration Charge which is payable by all providers registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) at 1 January each year. In addition, an Entry to Market Charge will replace the previous Initial Registration Charge and is payable by providers who are new to the industry.
The amendments to the Registration Charges Act have been made as part of the Government’s response to recommendations from the Baird Review which indicated that regulators adopt a risk assessment and management approach to the registration and ongoing monitoring of providers registered on the CRICOS. Stakeholder consultation undertaken to inform the Baird Review highlighted the need for a stronger, more robust and more visible compliance presence from regulators.
Cost Recovery Impact Statement


In 2010 all education  providers, registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS), were required to re-register by 31 December.
This included providers which had only recently been registered or audited, as well as those which were due for re-registration in 2010 as a part of their usual audit cycle.
A risk managed approach was undertaken for this process, with providers being categorised into various tiers of risk based on their individual circumstances. Providers, considered to pose higher levels of risk, as well as new providers, were subject to a more extensive assessment process than those with lower risk.
The re-registration process was completed, with all providers on CRICOS scrutinised using the strengthened powers available under the revised ESOS Act.