Changes to the legislative framework for overseas students

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Regulatory Powers

The Regulatory Powers (Standardisation Reform) Act 2021 received royal assent on 26 March 2011 and amended the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) to apply the standard monitoring, investigation, infringement notices and enforceable undertakings provisions contained in Parts 2, 3, 5 and 6 of the Regulatory Powers Act (Standard Provisions) Act 2014. These amendments promote best practice use of regulatory powers and greater consistency between different regulatory regimes, and streamline regulatory powers across the Commonwealth statute book. Amendments to the ESOS Act include the following modifications to the standard provisions:

  • the power to use force against things as is necessary and reasonable in the circumstances by authorised persons and persons assisting authorised persons; and
  • the power to accept a written undertaking given by a registered provider regarding a condition of registration.

Amendments were also made to the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 to replace existing regulatory powers with best practice regulatory powers.

ESOS Application on Norfolk Island

The Territories Legislation Amendment Act 2020 received royal assent on 17 December 2020 and amends the ESOS Act to extend the application of the Act to Norfolk Island.

Protecting students and Australia’s excellent reputation for international education

The Education Legislation Amendment (Provider Integrity and Other Measures) Bill Act 2017 received royal assent on 16 August 2017 and amended the ESOS Act. The changes strengthened the Government’s ability to monitor and prevent unscrupulous business practices from gaining registration to deliver education to overseas students.

This protects overseas students studying in Australia and maintains Australia’s excellent reputation for international education.

The changes to the ESOS Act are not expected to affect the majority of providers that are operating with integrity. Rather, the changes sought to target the minority of providers who may act unscrupulously.

A factsheet on the amendments is available.