The new NATIONAL CODE (ESOS) 2018 finally announced and it is a huge victory for AAERI’s demand to retain the clause to check poaching. Can I also take some credit?

AAERI was the first association of education agents to raise concern against the move to remove the restriction on “change of provider” and had argued that this will work against the interest of Education Providers that invest in international recruitment and also their education agents.

Call to keep dodgy agents out: It’s been estimated that around 27,000 new student visas are issues by the Australian High Commission in Delhi each year. And the scourge of ‘waka-jumpers’ — non-genuine students who enrol via the streamlined visa process and then jump into non-accredited or cheaper courses — has the peak body for agents up in arms. The Association of Australian Education Representative in India, representing about 90 ‘reputable’ agents, has set up a petition to prohibit commission payments to onshore agents in Australia. (The Australian newspaper highlighted AAERI effort on 19th August 2016)

Last year, I had drawn your attention to the issue on 5th August and thereafter blogged again on 12th August. And on 22nd August had requested your support with the AAERI petition.

The initial draft of the National Code had done away with the applicable restriction and thereafter due to an industry wide effort, the applicable clause has been retained. In-fact, improved. This is such a welcome announcement.

The 2017 National Code of Practice for Providers of Education has just been released.

Standard 7 states a new tick box will be implemented within PRISMS that WONT allow an education provider to obtain a student prior to 6 months being completed at the principle provider unless a valid release letter has been obtained and uploaded within PRISMS.

This will go a long way to stop unscrupulous agents and institutions; particularly onshore, from poaching students.

The National Code 2018 has been released and will commence on 1 January 2018.

https://internationaleducation.gov.au/Regulatory-Information/Education-Services-for-Overseas-Students-ESOS-Legislative-Framework/National-Code/Pages/default.aspx

Standard 7

Overseas student transfers

7.1                             Registered providers must not knowingly enrol an overseas student seeking to transfer from another registered provider’s course prior to the overseas student completing six months of his or her principal course (or for the school sector, until after the first six months of the first registered school sector course), except where any of the following apply: 

7.1.1         the releasing registered provider, or the course in which the overseas student is enrolled, has ceased to be registered 

7.1.2         the releasing registered provider has had a sanction imposed on its registration by the ESOS agency that prevents the overseas student from continuing his or her course at that registered provider

7.1.3         the releasing registered provider has agreed to the overseas student’s release and recorded the date of effect and reason for release in PRISMS 

7.1.4         any government sponsor of the overseas student considers the change to be in the overseas student’s best interests and has provided written support for the change. 

7.2               For the purposes of Standard 7.1.3, the registered provider must have and implement a documented policy and process for assessing overseas student transfer requests prior to the overseas student completing six months of their principal course (or for the school sector, until after the first six months of the first registered school sector course). The policy must be made available to staff and overseas students, and outline: 

7.2.1          the steps for an overseas student to lodge a written request to transfer, including that they must provide a valid enrolment offer from another registered provider

7.2.2          circumstances in which the registered provider will grant the transfer request because the transfer is in the overseas student’s best interests, including but not limited to where the registered provider has assessed that:

7.2.2.1         the overseas student will be reported because they are unable to achieve satisfactory course progress at the level they are studying, even after engaging with that registered provider’s intervention strategy to assist the overseas student in accordance with Standard 8 (Overseas student visa requirements)

7.2.2.2         there is evidence of compassionate or compelling circumstances

7.2.2.3         the registered provider fails to deliver the course as outlined in the written agreement

7.2.2.4         there is evidence that the overseas student’s reasonable expectations about their current course are not being met

7.2.2.5         there is evidence that the overseas student was misled by the registered provider or an education or migration agent regarding the registered provider or its course and the course is therefore unsuitable to their needs and/or study objectives

7.2.2.6         an appeal (internal or external) on another matter results in a decision or recommendation to release the overseas student.

7.2.3          the circumstances which the registered provider considers as reasonable grounds to refuse the transfer

7.2.4          a reasonable timeframe for assessing and replying to the overseas student’s transfer request having regard to the restriction period. 

7.3               If the overseas student is under 18 years of age: 

7.3.1         the registered provider must have written confirmation the overseas student’s parent or legal guardian supports the transfer

7.3.2         where the overseas student is not being cared for in Australia by a parent or suitable nominated relative, the receiving provider must confirm it accepts responsibility for approving the student’s accommodation, support and general welfare arrangements in accordance with Standard 5 (Younger overseas students).

7.4               If a release is granted, it must be at no cost to the overseas student and the releasing registered provider must advise the overseas student to contact Immigration to seek advice on whether a new student visa is required. 

7.5               If the registered provider intends to refuse the transfer request, they must inform the overseas student in writing of: 

7.5.1         the reasons for the refusal 

7.5.2         the overseas student’s right to access the provider’s complaints and appeals process, in accordance with Standard 10 (Complaints and appeals), within 20 working days.

7.6               The registered provider must not finalise the student’s refusal status in PRISMS until the appeal finds in favour of the registered provider, or the overseas student has chosen not to access the complaints and appeals processes within the 20working day period, or the overseas student withdraws from the process.

7.7               The registered provider must maintain records of all requests from overseas students for a release and the assessment of, and decision regarding, the request for two years after the overseas student ceases to be an accepted student. 

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