ESOS Framework

The Australian Government wants overseas students in Australia to have a safe, enjoyable and rewarding place to study. Australia's laws promote quality education and consumer protection for overseas students. These laws are known as the ESOS framework and they include Education Services for Overseas (ESOS) Act 2000 and the National Code 2018.

Under the ESOS Framework, international students on a student visa are responsible for upholding the conditions of their student visa.

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General Visa Conditions

All international students intending to enter Australia to study must apply for a student visa (an exception may be for students offered a course, such as an English language course, of less than three months). More information on how to apply for student visa are available at Department of home Affairs

Student visas are issued for full- time study. International students cannot study part- time. Students must provide evidence that they have sufficient funds to cover their tuition fees and living expenses whilst in Australia. Once enrolled, students must complete 6 calendar months of study of their course before they can change to another education institution in Australia, unless special permission is obtained. If a student is not satisfying course and/or visa requirements (including attending the course and making satisfactory academic progress), IIBIT and Federation University Australia by law must notify the relevant Commonwealth and State authorities and the student visa may be cancelled.

Note: "International students are to complete their course within the duration specified on their confirmation of enrolment (COE)".

Visa Application Procedures

All international students must have applied for and have been accepted for full-time study in a registered course, or part of a course, by IIBIT before they can apply for a student visa. An electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCoE) form issued by IIBIT offering a place in a course is proof of acceptance for visa purposes. Students wishing to undertake a package of courses (e.g. English language followed by a degree course) must apply and be accepted into each course in the 'package'. Students offered a 'package' course must apply for the visa subclass applicable to the principal courseof the 'package'.

Student visas are divided into seven sub classes. Each subclass is based on education sector or level of the principal course of study (e.g. Higher Education; Masters and Doctorates; Vocational Education and Training sector; ELICOS; Foundation course). Each student visa subclass is given an Assessment Level (AL) according to the country of nationality of the international student. There are 5 Assessment Levels (AL1 to AL5), with AL5 having the most stringent requirements. The assessment factors for each level includes financial ability, English language proficiency, likely compliance with the conditions of the student visa and other matters considered relevant to assessing each visa application. International students must meet the assessment factors applicable to the AL level of the student visa subclass of their principal course. International students must also satisfy the general requirements applicable to all student visa applicants. The general requirements include being of good character and sound health, having acceptable health insurance for the period in Australia and having no outstanding debts to the Commonwealth of Australia. Details of the student visa sub classes and related conditions are available at www.homeaffairs.gov.au/trav/stud

Enrollment Status

It is a condition of enrollment that international students abide by the Australian student visa regulations. IIBIT monitors student enrollments and visa status and will advise students if visa requirements are not being met. The Student Services Department at IIBIT must approve all international student enrollments in advance. Students amending their enrollments without this authority may have their enrollment cancelled or modified appropriately.

Work Rights

You cannot work until you have commenced your course in Australia. Once your course has commenced you are permitted to work a maximum of 48 hours per fortnight when your course is in session, and unlimited hours when your course is out of session.

Work that is formally registered as part of your course is not included in the 48 hours per fortnight limitation.

Student visa holders and their dependants who are subject to visa condition 8104 or 8105, may take part in volunteer work outside of the 48 hours per fortnight work limitation if:

  • their main purpose is to study in Australia and voluntary work remains secondary to this, and
  • the work involved would not otherwise be undertaken by an Australian resident, and
  • the work is genuinely voluntary for a non-profit organisation and no remuneration, in cash or kind, is received in return for the activity.

Unpaid work that does not fit within the above description of volunteer work, is counted towards the 48 hours per fortnight limitation.

If you are a postgraduate research student:

  • you can work a maximum of 48 hours per fortnight during any preliminary courses you undertake
  • if you have commenced your masters by research or doctoral degree in Australia, there is no limit on the number of hours you may work.


A fortnight is a period of 14 days commencing on any Monday and ending on the second following Sunday.

An example of how 48 hours a fortnight is calculated: After their course has commenced, a student visa holder works the following numbers of hours over a four week period:

  • week one - 30 hours work
  • week two - 18 hours work
  • week three - 30 hours work
  • week four - 18 hours work.

In the above example, the total hours worked in week two and week three is more than 48 hours. This means the student is non-compliant with the work limitation and may be subject to visa cancellation.