ESOS National Code

Due to Machinery of Government changes, all outdated references - DEEWR, DIISR, DIISRTE, DIICCSRTE or DIBP – on the website have been replaced with the Department of Education or the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Editorial changes have not been made to the National Code, as it is a Legislative Instrument. Outdated references will be completed when legislation is updated in the future.


The National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2007


The National Code is a set of nationally consistent standards that governs the protection of overseas students and delivery of courses to those students by providers registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).

Only CRICOS courses can be offered to international students studying in Australia on a student visa.


The Code’s place in the ESOS framework

The National Code is established under the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000. To become CRICOS-registered, a provider must demonstrate that it complies with the requirements of the National Code. The National Code is a legislative instrument. It is legally enforceable and breaches of the National Code by providers can result in enforcement action under the ESOS Act. This action can include the imposition of conditions on registration or suspension or cancellation of registration. This includes conditions on registration, suspension or cancellation of registration.

The National Code complements existing national quality assurance frameworks in education and training including the Australian Quality Training Framework (for registered vocational education and training providers offering these courses); and the National Protocols for Higher Education Approval Processes (for institutions offering higher education qualifications).


National Code 2007 structure

The National Code 2007 (pdf 857kb rtf 525.81kb) is divided into four parts:

  • Part A includes a description of its role in the ESOS legislative framework and its purpose and objectives.
  • Part B outlines the roles and responsibilities of the Australian and State and Territory Governments which share the responsibility for implementing the Code.
  • Part C explains the CRICOS registration process including providers’ requirements and obligations.
  • Part D provides 15 standards that providers must meet in their interactions with international students.  
  • National Code 2007 Explanatory Guide

    The National Code 2007 Explanatory Guide is a comprehensive and nationally consistent source of advice and assistance to education providers to ensure ongoing compliance with the requirements of the National Code 2007. 

    The National Code 2007 Explanatory Guide is an electronic publication only.

    The Explanatory Guide mirrors the National Code structure of Parts A, B, C and D, placing particular emphasis on the 15 standards in Part D. The standards are thoroughly explained with practical advice for providers on ways to achieve the stated outcomes of each standard.

    The 15 standards are logically grouped under relevant topics:

  • pre-enrolment engagement of students (Standards 14)
  • care for and services to students (Standards 56)
  • students as consumers (Standards 78)
  • the student visa programme (Standards 913)
  • staff, educational resources and premises (Standards 1415). 
  • The explanation of each standard ends with scenarios couched in a simple question and answer format. It is designed to help providers apply the standards in their day to day operations. 

    This Guide lists key requirements for all sectors, details sector-specific requirements and has handy tips to help providers comply with the National Code 2007.

    The reader can make connections between other standards in the Code, the ESOS Act, the Migration Act 1958 and, where necessary, the Privacy Act 1988.

    Sections of the Guide are highlighted in colour-coded boxes:

  • text taken directly from the National Code is boxed  to help readers differentiate the legal text from the explanatory wording
  • text related to the ESOS Act is boxed
  • compliance tips are boxed 
  • scenarios that illustrate the standard are boxed .
  • The Guide has useful definitions, acronyms and abbreviations and, importantly, website addresses, contact phone numbers and email addresses for providers with remaining questions.


    The National Code 2007 Explanatory Guide is designed to help providers ensure ongoing compliance with the Code in day to day operations. Providers should note that compliance will be measured against the requirements of the National Code 2007, not against the Explanatory Guide.