Consultation on amendments to the ESOS Act

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment is proposing to make minor amendments to the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) to clarify policy intent and facilitate the efficient functioning of the ESOS legislative framework.

The amendments protect the role of the TPS as 'refunder of last resort', and the balance of the OSTF, in two key ways: 

  • ensuring former providers retain responsibility for maintaining an account and a protected amount to refund students in cases of default means that their obligations to students cannot be extinguished by relinquishing their registration; and 
  • requiring providers in liquidation to pay back the TPS Director, from the protected amount, for refunds the Director paid from the TPS will reduce imposts on the OSTF, increasing its sustainability over time and limiting the likelihood that it will need to be 'topped up' from the public purse. 

The amendments will:

  1. Clarify continuing obligations on former registered providers to maintain an account and the protected amount with pre-paid tuition fees;
  2. Require providers to pay back the TPS Director from the protected amount where the TPS Director has refunded or placed a student after a default;
  3. Clarify elements of the offence for providing or promoting a course without a registered provider under Section 8 of the ESOS Act, and the associated defences; and
  4. Repeal the requirement for providers to send students notice of visa breaches under Section 20 of the ESOS Act.

The department's consultation paper on the proposed changes are available.

Request for comment

The department is seeking the views of stakeholders in the international education system on these proposed changes.

Please use the template provided here to make your submission.

The department is accepting feedback on these proposed changes to the ESOS Act until 5pm AEDT 10 March 2021.

Please provide your comments to ESOS-PolicyTeam@dese.gov.au. Please include your organisation name, contact name, email address, sector of delivery and if you are a member of an industry body (if applicable) and if you agree to having your submission published online.