Government announces new steps to address integrity
The Sector > Quality > Professional development > Government takes steps to address integrity and sustainability of international education

Government takes steps to address integrity and sustainability of international education

by Freya Lucas

May 13, 2024

The Federal Government has announced its next steps in ensuring the integrity and sustainability of the international education sector, which will be of note to the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, which attracts a large number of student visa holders due to its inclusion on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List.


Later this week the Government will introduce legislation which will enable the Minister for Education to set an allocation for the maximum number of new international student enrolments education providers can offer.


For vocational education, these allocations will be set based on advice from the Minister for Skills and Training. 


The legislation will also deliver important reforms to strengthen the integrity and quality of international education, including the power to:


  • Prevent education providers from owning education agent businesses. 
  • Pause applications for registration from new international education providers and of new courses from existing providers for periods of up to 12 months.
  • Require new providers seeking registration to demonstrate a track record of quality education delivery to domestic students before they are allowed to recruit international students.
  • Cancel dormant provider registrations to prevent them being used as a market entry tool by unscrupulous actors.
  • Prevent providers under serious regulatory investigation from recruiting new international students. 
  • Improve the sharing of data relating to education agents. 
  • In addition, the Government will prohibit agent commissions on student transfers between providers in Australia to remove incentives for unscrupulous agents and providers to ‘poach’ students.


“There is no place for dodgy operators who undermine the strong reputation of the sector. We are making it tougher for bottom-feeders to take advantage of international students for a quick buck,” Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor said. 


“Most providers do the right thing and are in education and training for the right reasons. They will benefit from a high quality and sustainable international education sector, and the Government’s efforts to crack down on non-genuine and unscrupulous actors who undermine integrity and trust in the sector.”


Along with the legislative change the Government has also released the draft International Education and Skills Strategic Framework. The draft Framework will support consultation with the sector on how to implement a system of sustainable, managed growth in international student enrolments. 


“The draft International Education and Skills Strategic Framework will lay the groundwork for an international education sector that is more sustainable and provides the highest quality education and student experience for all students,” Mr Clare explained.


Through the legislation and the framework the Government will work with international education providers to limit the number of international students that can be enrolled over a particular period of time. 


If universities want to enrol international students above that limit, they will be required to establish additional, new supply of purpose-built student accommodation to benefit both international and domestic students and relieve pressure on the rental market. 


International students are an incredibly important part of our economy and our communities, and we need to ensure the sector is set up for the future. 


The Framework aims to provide greater certainty for the sector, particularly Australia’s regional universities, and enable international education to better contribute to Australia’s skills needs.


The Government will consult with the sector on all aspects of the Framework over the coming months and release the final Framework later this year.


The draft Framework can be accessed here.

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