CRICOS approval requirements

Independent schools delivering courses to school-aged CRICOS students must first be approved by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) and if approved, are then recommended to the Australian Government for approval and registration on the Commonwealth Register of International Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). These school providers are then able to deliver courses to CRICOS students and are listed on the Australian Government CRICOS Register and on the NESA website.

NESA is also responsible for approving schools to provide Non-AQF Award English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS).

Registration and operational requirements for CRICOS and ELICOS providers are set out in the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 and the National CodeAs the ‘designated authority’ for approving CRICOS and ELICOS providers in NSW, NESA sets out its requirements for approval in the NESA Guidelines for Approved NSW School Providers Delivering Courses to Overseas Students (NESA CRICOS Guidelines). The NESA CRICOS Guidelines incorporates all of the requirements of the National Code.

The National Code was updated in 2018. The current requirements are reflected in DET Fact sheets on the National Code and in the revised NESA CRICOS Guidelines.  Key changes made in 2018 included:

  • protecting CRICOS students by requiring more detail on a student’s course and refund arrangements in the written agreement between students and providers
  • strengthening arrangements for the care and welfare of CRICOS students under the age of 18
  • providing greater guidance for providers on the circumstances in which CRICOS student transfer requests should be granted
  • supporting CRICOS students to fulfil visa requirements by strengthening the provisions for monitoring overseas students’ course attendance and progress.

Procedures and timelines for applications for initial approval are set out in section 7 of NESA’s CRICOS GuidelinesA proposed school provider must submit an application to NESA no later than 31 March preceding the calendar year in which the school wishes to commence enrolling CRICOS students. NESA has synchronised CRICOS approval processes with school registration approval processes.

NESA has developed proformas for document audits to assist schools to identify the policies, procedures and documentation that need to be maintained to demonstrate compliance with NESA requirements during the CRICOS school’s period of approval.

AISNSW provides advice on CRICOS regulatory matters through the Regulation Team which you can contact by email or phone (02) 9299 2845.

Relevant Documents and Links