ESOS Information for Staff (CRICOS Provider Number: 00098G)

ESOS for students | FAQs | Information for staff

Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000

ESOS Act Compliance: Information for Staff

ESOS Compliance Framework and Guide to Compliance (pdf)
CRICOS Registration
Applying for PRISMS access - process for new staff
Promotion, Publicity, Marketing
Penalties for breaching the National Code or ESOS Act 
Full-Time/Part-Time Study 
Reduced Study Load
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)/Credit Transfer  
Distance Education 
Summer Term 
Changing Education Providers 
Satisfactory Academic Progress  
Program Leave  
Program Discontinuation 
Early Completion 
Contact Details 
Visa Extension 
Permission to work  
Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)
Further information 
ESOS: Frequently Asked Questions

CRICOS Registration

Education providers are required to be registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). CRICOS is maintained and managed by DEST (Department of Education, Science and Technology).

The UNSW Provider CRICOS Code is 00098G.

The Provider Code must be noted on any publication, including electronic publications which are accessible by international students. This includes websites, posters, correspondence (including email messages) and advertising material (including PowerPoint presentations made for recruitment purposes). All staff should have the UNSW Provider Code attached to their email signature.

All programs offered to international students must also be registered on CRICOS, this is known as the CRICOS Program Code. Whenever a new program is approved, it must be added to the register. Any amendments made to a registered program such as duration, structure, mode of delivery etc., or if a program will no longer be offered to international students, must also be registered. The International Office is currently responsible for the registering/suspending of UNSW programs on CRICOS. CRICOS registration can take some time so it is important that the International Office is advised of any new programs approved by the Academic Board as soon as possible.

A program cannot be offered to an international student until it is registered. You can only foreshadow planned programs and it must be made clear to the student that the program is pending CRICOS approval. An eCoE for a student cannot be issued until the CRICOS code for the program is known.

Distance education and part-time programs are not to be registered on CRICOS and as such, are not available for international students.

Applying for PRISMS access - process for new staff

Any new staff member requiring PRISMS access as part of their role needs to apply.


  1. Read the instructions on the PRISMS Access Requirements page;
  2. Download, complete and sign the PRISMS application form (pdf);
  3. Have your supervisor sign the form, certifying that you require PRISMS access to created new ECOEs;
  4. Forward the completed, co-signed form to the ESOS Student Coordinator at;
  5. The ESOS Student Coordinator will check the form and authorise the applicant to have PRISMS access;
  6. The ESOS Student Coordinator will email the applicant instructions on gaining PRISMS access.
Promotion, Publicity, Marketing

It is important to note that discussing possible programs and courses with potential students constitutes recruitment activity under the ESOS Act. Care should be taken when communicating any information to potential students.
Any person or area giving advice, which may be accessible to international students, should ensure that:

  • All information is provided with accuracy and integrity;
  • There are no false or misleading comparisons made with other providers;
  • There are no inaccurate claims of association with any other provider;
  • Accurate advice is given about acceptance into a program.

Information given must include the following:

  • Duration of program;
  • Minimum level of English language, educational qualifications and work experience required for minimum entry requirements;
  • Information about study resources and facilities available at UNSW;
  • Details about program content;
  • Itemised list of fees payable (if applicable);
  • 'packaging' i.e. capacity to progress from one program to another;
  • Information about the local Sydney environment;
  • Indication of the cost of living;
  • Advice on school age dependents regarding school fees;
  • UNSW CRICOS Provider Number: 00098G.

Students can be referred to this material on the web, but any website must include the University's CRICOS Provider Number: 00098G.
Brochures produced by the International Office include all the required information.
If you have any questions regarding the marketing of programs and ESOS compliance please contact the International Office on 9385 6987 or 9385 6985.

Penalties for breaching the National Code or ESOS Act

Amendments to the Migration Act provide search and entry powers for DIBP officers and new investigatory powers for monitoring compliance with student visa conditions.

Sanctions may be imposed on providers if they breach the ESOS Act 2000 or the National Code. Possible sanctions include suspension and cancellation, fines and imposition of conditions on a provider's registration. As a result the provider may not be allowed to accept international students or may only have limited dealings with international students.

Full-Time/Part-Time Study

The student visa condition 8202 requires that all students progress satisfactorily at a normal rate [full-time] to ensure completion within the specified duration of their student visa.

UNSW defines normal full-time enrolment as between 18-24 units of credit (UoC) per semester. Students are encouraged to enrol in 24 UoC per semester to ensure standard progression, and completion of their program within the duration as stated in the eCoE.

Students who choose to study less than a 24 UoC full-time load will run the risk of not completing their program within the expected duration as specified on the eCoE. Students in this position will be required to catch up either by studying courses over Summer Term, or by overloading courses in Semester 1 or Semester 2 (i.e. enrolling in more than 24 UoC) to compensate.

Research Students: Students enrolled in a research program (PhD, Masters by research or MPhil and studying on a student visa must be enrolled full time (24 uoc each semester) at all times.

When it is clear that a student will not complete their program within the expected duration, the University can only extend the duration of a student's study for one of the following reasons:

A. Compassionate or compelling circumstance (e.g. illness where a medical certificate states that the student was unable to attend classes or where the registered provider was unable to offer a pre-requisite unit);

B. The University has implemented its intervention strategy for students who were at risk of not meeting satisfactory course progress;

C. The student has been granted approved program leave.

If the student is not able to satisfy any of the above criteria they will not be permitted to extend their student visa, nor complete their qualification in Australia.

Reduced Study Load

Applying to reduce study load because of Academic or extenuating circumstances.

A student wishing to study less than 24 UOC for either academic or extenuating circumstances must complete this Application to Reduce study load form (pdf). This form must be certified by your Program Authority and an International Student Services Counsellor.

Academic reasons accepted for dropping below 24 UOC:

  • Necessary courses are not available or offered in that semester;
  • Timetable clash;
  • Exemptions or Advanced Standing;
  • Failed prerequisites;
  • Student has Program Authority to study over the summer semester;
  • An official Academic Progress Intervention Strategy has been introduced to the student.

Reasons accepted as extenuating circumstances must be related to:

  • Illness, disability, injury: in each case a medical certificate is required, stating the student's case and reasons affecting full-time study;
  • Death of a close family member;
  • Natural disaster or major political upheaval in student’s home country;
  • Traumatic experience which has left the student feeling traumatised, e.g. being a victim of or witness to a serious crime. The student needs supporting documents from the police or psychologist's reports.

Other exceptional circumstances not mentioned should have supporting documentation from the UNSW Counseling service.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)/Credit Transfer

As part of their admission, a student may be given credit, or advanced standing, for previous study.
If the course credit is given before the student's visa is granted, the confirmation of enrolment (CoE) issued for that student will indicate the actual net program duration (as reduced by course credit) for that program.

If course credit is given after the visa is issued, and results in a shortening of the student's program duration, the University must report the change of program duration to DIBP.
Please note, the University will only report any changes to the student's program duration to DIBP if the student is given 24 UoC or more course credit.

Students are still required to maintain a full-time study load, even if course credit has been given.

Distance Education

Students may undertake up to 25% of their program by distance/online learning. However, the student cannot enrol exclusively in distance or online learning units in a compulsory study period (i.e. Semester 1 or 2).

Students may study entirely online/distance courses in the non-compulsory study period (i.e. Summer Term). However, the student must ensure that they do not exceed the maximum of 25% of online or distance courses in their overall program.

For example, if a student is in the last study period of a program and has one course remaining to complete their program, the student cannot study this final course via distance/online, unless over Summer Term.

Research Students: Students enrolled in a research program (PhD, Masters by research or MPhil) attend a UNSW campus for the duration of their candidature. Candidates may be permitted to undertake research at an approved UNSW affiliated institution. For further information please contact the Graduate Research School.

Summer Term

UNSW encourages International students to study over Summer Term, to lessen the pressure of study through Semester 1 and Semester 2 and ensure successful completion of their program within the specified duration of their original ECOE.

Research Students: Students enrolled in a research program (PhD, Masters by research or MPhil) would not normally enrol in the Summer Term.

Changing Education Providers

Students with certain conditions on their visa must remain with the original Education Provider for the first six months from the commencement date of the student's principal program of study.

If a student is undertaking a package program, such as a 6-month English language course leading onto the students principal program of study, the student may transfer to another provider while studying the English language course because this is not the student's principal program of study.

Permission to change Education Provider within the first six months will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

When a student does transfer from their principal program of study within the first six months, the original Educational Provider must issue the student a letter of release. The Letter of Release is processed by Sudent Central.

Please remember, students should always contact DIBP to seek advice on whether a new student visa is required.

View the International Student Transfer Policy here

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Condition 8202 requires student visa holders to maintain satisfactory academic progress in their studies so that they are able to complete their degree within the specified visa duration.

(Research Students: Students enrolled in a research program (PhD, Masters by research or MPhil) satisfactory academic progress is monitored within your School and recorded in your Annual Progress Review. It is important to ensure that you undertake one Annual Progress Review each academic year within your School. If you are unsure if you have undertaken an Annual Progress Review, you should discuss this with your supervisor.)

When a student has been assessed as not achieving satisfactory course progress, the University must inform the student in writing of its intention to report the student to DIBP. If the student wishes to appeal, they must submit their appeal within 20 working days.

The University is required to report to DIBP student visa holders who fail to maintain academic progress, i.e. students who are excluded or suspended from a program at the close of the appeals period. A non-compliant notice letter is sent to the student advising them that they have 28 days to go to the nearest DIBP office to explain why they breached Condition 8202.

If the student fails to report to DIBP within the specified 28 days, their visa is automatically cancelled and they are subject to removal from Australia. When students report to the DIBP office, the automatic cancellation process is stopped and a decision made on whether or not to cancel the visa. If the breach is substantiated, migration law requires that the visa must be cancelled.

Student Development International (SDI) can provide visa advice to students who have been reported to DIBP for failing to meet satisfactory academic performance.

Program Leave

Students may apply for deferment or suspension of their studies if they have a good reason for doing so (compassionate or compelling circumstances).
Compassionate or compelling circumstances are generally those beyond the control of the student and which have an impact upon the student’s academic progression. These could include:

  • Illness, where a medical certificate states that the student was unable to attend classes;

  • The death of a close family member such as parent or grandparent (where possible a death certificate should be provided);

  • Major political upheaval or natural disaster in the home country requiring their emergency travel and where this has impacted on their studies;

  • A traumatic experience which has impacted on the student (these cases should be supported by police or psychologists' reports);

  • Where the registered provider was unable to offer a pre-requisite unit;

  • Inability to begin studying on the course commencement date due to delay in receiving a student visa.

The Act requires that program leave may only be granted on the basis of documented evidence of medical, compassionate, or exceptional grounds.

In order to comply with the requirements of the ESOS Act, all international student visa holders who are granted program leave will be reported to DIBP. Students must be aware that the granting of leave - whether for deferment, suspension or cancellation of the student's enrolment - may result in the cancellation of their student visa. Students are urged to report to the nearest DIBP office prior to departing Australia in order to ensure that their visa is cancelled without prejudice.

For further advice the student is referred to the DIBP website for information.

International Student Advisers (ISA) can provide advice and assistance when applying for program leave. ISA are located in the Student Development – International, Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building (F20).

View UNSW Program Leave Information (A to Z Student Guide)
Download Program Enrolment Variation form (pdf) (for Program Leave and also Program Discontinuation)

Research Students: Research students will need to download a Variation of Candidature Form (pdf). Completed forms should be returned to the Graduate Research School with all relevant documentation attached.

Program Discontinuation

The ESOS Student Coordinator is required to report to DIBP any changes to a student's enrolment status, including discontinuation from a program or the University.

Students wishing to discontinue their program are required to submit a Program Variation form, available from UNSW Student Central.

International Student Advisers (ISA) can provide advice and assistance when applying for program discontinuation. ISA are located Student Development – International, Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building (F20).

Students are advised to contact the Student Compliance Section of the nearest DIBP Office as soon as possible to determine the current status of their student visa and to report to DIBP when they will be leaving Australia. The Sydney DIBP office is located at 26 Lee Street, Sydney and the Compliance Section is on level 4. No appointment is necessary.

View UNSW Program Leave Information (A to Z Student Guide)
Download Program Enrolment Variation form (pdf) (for Program Leave and also Program Discontinuation)

Research Students: Research students will need to download a Variation of Candidature Form (pdf). Completed forms should be returned to the Graduate Research School.

Early Completion

The University is required by law to report all international student visa holders who have completed their program earlier than the expected program end date on their eCoE. Early completion is defined as a minimum of one session earlier than the expected end date on the student's eCoE.

International Student Visa Holders are reminded that, once they have completed their program, and before their visa expires, they must:

  1. Enrol in another CRICOS Registered Program, OR

  2. Enrol in another Education Provider, OR

  3. Depart Australia immediately, unless the student has been given authorisation by DIBP to remain in Australia.

  4. If the student is planning to attend their Graduation Ceremony they need to request a Completion Letter, processed by Student Central, and then discuss their intentions with DIBP.
Contact Details

All International Student Visa Holders are reminded that must comply with Condition 8533 of their Student Visa: Notify the University of your Contact Address in Australia.

Students will be in breach of Condition 8533 of their Student Visa, and run the risk of their visa being cancelled, if they have not provided the University with their current Australian residential address.

Students are required to inform the University within seven days of any changes to their current residential address. To update a current residential address, students need to log in to myUNSW, and go to the My Student Profile tab > My Student Services channel > Personal Details > Address.

If students need further information, they should contact Student Development International, Ground Floor, John Goodsell Building on 9385 5333.

Visa Extension

Visa extensions are subject to approval by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).

Students who need to extend their visa will be required to obtain a new eCOE by filling in a Visa Extension/Amendment form (pdf), also available from UNSW Student Central. The form must be certified by their program or faculty authority.

Research Students: You need to complete the Visa Amendment/Extension Request Form (pdf). The form must be certified by your program or faculty authority. Please Note: Extensions can only be approved in limited circumstances. Please submit documented evidence with your application. For further information please contact the Graduate Research School.

All students can lodge their eCoE either by going to the DIBP website or by lodging in person at the Sydney DIBP Office. Students should ensure that this is done at least one month prior to their current visa expiry date.

You can find instructions for student visa applications here. (Student Development - International)

Permission to work

International students are now allowed to work up to forty hours per fortnight once their study has commenced and during any period in which their Program is in session. They will be able to work unrestricted hours during any scheduled semester break.
A fortnight means a period of 14 days commencing on any Monday and ending on the second following Sunday.

The following example demonstrates how the condition will be applied. A student visa holder works the following numbers of hours over a four week period (after their Program has commenced):

  • Week 1 - 15 hours work
  • Week 2 - 25 hours work
  • Week 3 - 25 hours work
  • Week 4 - 10 hours work

Research Students on a Postgraduate Research Sector (subclass 574) visa will be given unlimited work rights once their Masters by Research or Doctorate program has commenced.

Work rights for dependants of students who have commenced a Masters (by either coursework or research) or Doctorate program on either a subclass 573 or 574 visa will remain unlimited once the student has commenced their Masters or Doctorate program.

For more information see:

Students found to have breached their work conditions may be subject to cancellation of their visa.

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)

Students must maintain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) as part of the student visa requirements. Students are now required to have Visa Length OSHC. For further information on paying or renewing OSHC see the section on 'Health insurance' at


Further information

Student Development International
Tel: 9385 5333
Fax: 9385 6369

Detailed information on the ESOS Act and the National Code may be found at the following websites:

> ESOS Easy Guide
> ESOS National Code

> Study Visas


Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for International Students


Department of Immigration and Border Protection (formerly DIAC)


Department of Education, Science and Technology (formerly DETYA) 


Electronic Confirmation of Enrolment 


International Student Adviser


Provider Registration and International Students Management System  


An institution (body or person) in Australia providing or seeking to provide courses to international students  


Recognition of Prior Learning (Also known as Advanced Standing)


Student Development - International