ESOS National Code


National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2017

Please note this explanatory guide applies to the National Code 2017 and will not apply after 1 January 2018. Factsheets on the National Code 2018 are available here.

The National Code is a set of nationally consistent standards that governs the protection of international students and delivery of courses to those students by providers registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

Only CRICOS courses can be offered to international students studying in Australia on a student visa.

The National Code is being reviewed as part of the overall reform of the ESOS framework. 

The Code’s place in the ESOS framework

The National Code is established under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act). To become CRICOS registered, a provider must demonstrate that it complies with the requirements of the National Code. The National Code is a legislative instrument. It is legally enforceable and breaches of the National Code by providers can result in enforcement action under the ESOS Act. This action can include the imposition of conditions on registration or suspension or cancellation of registration.

The National Code complements existing national quality assurance frameworks in education and training including the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011(NVETR Act)  (for registered vocational education and training providers offering these courses) and the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (TEQSA Act) (for institutions offering higher education qualifications).

National Code 2017 structure

The National Code 2017 is divided into four parts:

  • Part A includes a description of its role in the ESOS legislative framework and its purpose and objectives.
  • Part B outlines the roles and responsibilities of the Australian and state and territory governments which share the responsibility for implementing the Code.
  • Part C outlines the CRICOS registration process including providers’ requirements and obligations.
  • Part D provides 15 standards that providers must meet in their interactions with international students.  
  • National Code 2017 Explanatory Guide

    The National Code 2017 Explanatory Guide provides assistance to education providers.

    It is an electronic publication only.

    The Explanatory Guide mirrors the National Code structure of Parts A, B, C and D, placing particular emphasis on the 15 standards in Part D, which cover: 

  • pre-enrolment engagement of students (Standards 14)
  • care for and services to students (Standards 56)
  • students as consumers (Standards 78)
  • the student visa programme (Standards 913)
  • staff, educational resources and premises (Standards 1415). 

    Sections of the Guide are highlighted in colour-coded boxes:

  • text taken directly from the National Code is boxed  to help readers differentiate the legal text from the explanatory wording
  • text related to the ESOS Act is boxed
  • compliance tips are boxed 
  • scenarios that illustrate the standard are boxed .

    The National Code 2017 Explanatory Guide is designed to help providers ensure ongoing compliance with the National Code in day to day operations. Providers should note that compliance will be measured against the requirements of the National Code 2017, not against the Explanatory Guide.