Current Students

ESOS Act: Information for students

Further Information

Information for new students

If you have any questions about the Education Services for Overseas Students Act and your rights and responsibilities, contact International Quality Assurance.

The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) legislative framework is designed to ensure that Australia's reputation for delivering quality education services is maintained and that the interests of overseas students are protected.


  1. Information about your course and living in Perth
  2. The ESOS Framework
  3. Student Visa conditions
  4. Satisfactory course progress
  5. Mode of study
  6. Completion within the expected duration of study
  7. Change of course
  8. Complaints and appeals
  9. Deferring, suspending or cancelling study
  10. Course Credit
  11. Under 18 students
  12. Student Transfer Request:  Assessment Policy and Procedure

1. Information about your course and living in Perth

For detailed information about your course and about studying at UWA, please read the University's online Handbook and our Pre-departure Guide, which will help you with organising your departure, arriving in Perth and settling into the University.

Students who are intending to study at UWA's Albany campus should also read the information about the Albany Centre.

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2. The ESOS framework

The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) legislative framework is designed to ensure that Australia's reputation for delivering quality education services is maintained and that the interests of overseas students are protected. It sets minimum standards and provides tuition and financial assurance. Together with Australian immigration law, the ESOS framework also imposes visa related reporting requirements on both students and educational institutions. The Department of Education and Training has produced an Easy Guide to ESOS.

Am I an international student?

If you are not an Australian citizen or permanent resident or a New Zealand citizen, then you are an International Student, and must pay UWA's international tuition fees. Temporary residents must pay international fees until they have permanent residency.

Does the ESOS framework apply to me?

The ESOS framework only applies to those international students who have Student Visas.

Can I study part-time?

If you have a Student Visa, you must complete your course within the standard full-time completion period, unless certain circumstances apply (see below). You can choose to study part-time in a particular semester, as long as you are allowed by your faculty to overload later, or can catch up by studying Summer School units, if available.

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3. Student Visa conditions

If you do not uphold your Student Visa conditions your visa may be cancelled and you may have to leave Australia. A full list of conditions is available, with the most important listed below:

  • You must remain enrolled in a course registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS)
  • You must make satisfactory course progress according to UWA's rules.
  • You must advise UWA of your Australian address within seven days of arriving in Australia, and within seven days of any change of address.
  • You must maintain enough money to pay for travel, tuition and living expenses for yourself, your spouse and your dependant children for the duration of your stay in Australia.
  • Any family members of school age (between 5 and 18 years) living in Australia must attend school in Australia. Our Pre-departure Guide contains more information about this.
  • You must maintain health insurance for you and your family members while in Australia.
  • You cannot undertake work until you have commenced your course in Australia. Your Student Visa allows you to work up to a maximum of 40 hours per fortnight during the academic term; and for unlimited periods during vacation periods.

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4. Satisfactory course progress

Your course progress rules can be found in the online Handbook. UWA's Intervention Strategy to identify and assist students at risk of not meeting the course progress requirements is described below:

Identifying students at risk of not meeting course progress requirements

Students can be identified in one of three ways:

  1. At the end of each semester, Student Visa holders who have failed 50 per cent or more of the units attempted are identified as at risk. The student receives a letter requesting that they meet their faculty adviser to discuss their progress.
  2. A student can be identified as at risk by an academic staff member, for example on the basis that coursework is not submitted or is not to standard, or by a support staff member who has identified a risk factor. The staff member contacts the faculty adviser, who contacts the student to discuss the student's options.
  3. A student can identify themselves as at risk, by contacting their faculty adviser and explaining why they are having difficulty with their course.

Strategies to assist identified students to achieve satisfactory course progress

UWA's Intervention Strategy offers a range of assistance for students to choose from, and also allows for a reduction in study load, if agreed by the Faculty.

1. Faculty Assistance

The faculties provide help and assistance to their students through the Course Advisers, Programme Coordinators and their Sub Dean/Associate Dean/Academic Student Advisers. Faculty web pages give more details of assistance provided.

A reduction in study load can be approved by the student's Sub Dean/Associate Dean/Academic Student Adviser, if course rules permit and it is relevant to the student's situation, and as long as the National Code requirement for the student to study at least one unit face-to-face per teaching period is met. If a reduction in study load is permitted, the Sub Dean/Associate Dean/Academic Student Adviser saves the details of this load in the student's file.

2. Study Smarter

Student Services' Study Smarter team offer a range of programs and services aimed at helping students improve their academic skills.

Students who do not make satisfactory course progress

If a student does not make satisfactory course progress according to UWA’s rules, and is suspended or excluded from their course, UWA will notify the student of its intention to report the student for breach of this visa requirement. The student then has 20 working days in which to begin a formal appeal of their results or progress status. If the student chooses not to access the complaints and appeals process within the 20 working day period, withdraws from the process, or the process is completed and results in a decision supporting UWA’s decision, UWA must officially report the student’s failure to make satisfactory course progress. 

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5. Mode of Study

The National Code permits Student Visa holders to enrol in a limited amount of distance/online learning.  No more than 25% of the point load of your entire course may be studied by units which are delivered 100% in distance/online mode, and you must study at least one unit face-to-face in each compulsory teaching period.

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6. Completion within the expected duration of study

The ESOS Act and National Code require you to complete your studies within the duration specified in your Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE), unless certain circumstances apply. If you choose to study at less than a 100 per cent load in a particular teaching period, you will have to make sure that you can still complete your course in time.

If you do not complete within the expected duration of your course, UWA can only issue you another CoE if (a) your faculty adviser agrees that there are compassionate or compelling circumstances; (b) your faculty adviser has previously agreed to a reduced study load as part of UWA's Intervention Strategy; or (c) you did not complete as the result of an approved deferment or suspension of your study.

If you complete your course early, UWA must report this to the Department of Home Affairs, and the duration of your visa may be reduced. 

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7. Change of course

Your original Acceptance of Offer, which you signed before you got your initial CoE, stated the fee for your original course. If you are considering changing course (or major in a Life and Physical Sciences BSc) you must contact your Faculty to determine whether your course duration and fees will change. Students who change course will be asked to sign a new Acceptance of Offer and will be issued a new CoE.

If you intend to transfer to another university within the first six months of your final course at UWA, your request will be assessed using the criteria in UWA's Student Transfer Request assessment policy and procedure, which is available from the International Student Adviser located in Student Central.

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8. Complaints and appeals

Information about UWA's policies and procedures for complaints and appeals

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9. Deferring, suspending or cancelling study

Any deferment, suspension or cancellation of your enrolment may have an effect on your student visa, and it is important that you contact Immigration for advice before taking any action.

If you wish to take leave from your course, you must first seek advice from the International Student Adviser, and then approval from your Faculty. 

In addition, you must also complete either the

Compassionate or compelling circumstances are generally those beyond your control and which have an impact upon your course progress or well-being. These could include, but are not limited to

  • serious illness or injury, where a medical certificate states that you were unable to attend classes;
  • bereavement of close family members such as parents or grandparents;
  • major political upheaval or natural disaster in your home country requiring emergency travel and this has impacted on your studies;
  • a traumatic experience which could include involvement in, or witnessing of a serious accident; or witnessing or being the victim of a serious crime;
  • where UWA 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 University's misconduct rules allow for the suspension of a student's enrolment for one or two semesters, or their expulsion from the University. UWA is required to notify the Department of Education and Training, and the Department of Home Affairs of any suspension or expulsion.

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10. Course credit

If you are granted course credit, and this results in a shortening of your course, UWA will report your new expected course duration to the Department of Home Affairs, who may then reduce your visa duration.

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11. Under 18 students

If you will be under 18 when you start your course, you must have accommodation and welfare arrangements approved by UWA or the Department of Home Affairs.

UWA will only approve your accommodation and welfare arrangement and issue a Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare letter (CAAW) if you have an arrangement with a UWA-approved Carer service and a confirmed place in a UWA-approved college or homestay. For a list of approved providers, please view the information on the Moving to Perth web page. The CAAW will state the date from which your UWA-approved welfare arrangement begins, and you cannot arrive in Australia before this date, unless you have other welfare arrangements approved by DIBP.

If your welfare arrangements change after your visa has been granted you must inform the Department of Home Affairs.

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12. Student Transfer Request: Assessment Policy and Procedure

1. Circumstances in which a transfer will be granted 

UWA will grant transfer requests within the first six months of a student’s enrolment when the transfer will not be to the detriment of the student and conditions in this policy are met.

In all cases, a transfer can only be granted if the student has a valid enrolment offer from the receiving provider. If the student is an under-18 student, there must be written evidence that the student’s parent or legal guardian supports the transfer, and, where the student is not being cared for in Australia by a parent or suitable nominated relative, written confirmation that the new provider will accept responsibility for approving a student’s accommodation, support and general welfare arrangements as per Standard 5.

If the student either at UWA or at another institution is within their first six months of study, a letter of release from the losing institutions must accompany any approval for transfer.

2. Circumstances which UWA considers as providing reasonable grounds for refusing the student’s request, including when a transfer can be considered detrimental to the student 

UWA may refuse a student’s request:

  • If the transfer may jeopardise the student’s progression through a package of courses
  • Within four weeks of a course beginning. (Issues such as homesickness may take some time to overcome and transferring to another provider is unlikely to solve this problem. The provider may consider that the student needs some time to settle in to the course and the Australian education system and for the student to use and benefit from the provider’s student support services)
  • If UWA forms the view that the student is trying to avoid being reported to the Department of Home Affairs for failure to meet the provider’s attendance or academic progress requirements
  • In other cases where it is viewed to be against the best interests of the student
3. Applications, and timeframe for assessing and replying to the student’s request 
  1. Initially, the student should discuss their plans with the International Student Adviser. The student should be advised there may be visa issues if there is a gap between courses.
  2. The student should submit an application for a transfer in writing, together with a copy of the Letter of Offer for the proposed new course, to the International Student Adviser. Assessment and notification of the result will be completed within 10 University working days.
  3. When the Associate Director, Student Administration has informed the International Student Adviser of the decision, the student should be advised to go to studentConnect to withdraw from their course. If a request for release is refused, the criteria used and the reasons for refusal must be given to the student in writing, together with advice that it is possible to lodge an appeal if the student thinks there are sufficient grounds.
  4. When the student provides evidence that they have withdrawn, the International Student Adviser will issue a Letter of Release. A Letter of Release, if granted, must be issued at no cost to the student and must advise the student of the need to contact the Department of Home Affairs to seek advice on whether a new student visa is required.
  5. Records of each request, and the outcome of the request, must be stored on the student's file in TRIM.
  6. The student’s CoE is cancelled when the weekly Callista report shows that they have withdrawn from their course.

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