As countries ramp up vaccinations and re-open their borders to international students, training providers that want to offer in-person vocational education and training to these overseas students must submit an application for CRICOS registration through ASQA (Australian Skills Quality Authority). The CRICOS database contains a catalogue of institutions and courses that states and territories have granted permission to educate international students.
So what exactly does it entail?
In this guide, we'll walk you through the requirements for CRICOS registration. Here's what we'll cover:
- What is CRICOS?
- Why you need to apply for CRICOS registration as a training provider or registered training organisation
- How to apply for CRICOS registration
- CRICOS requirements
- Frequently Asked Questions about CRICOS
- The best ways to prepare for the return of international students
What is CRICOS?
The Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) lists all the education providers licensed to enrol and teach overseas students in Australia. It also contains the approved courses for each of the licensed partners.
As part of the ASQA requirements, every training provider that offers vocational training for international students must meet the CRICOS standards and get listed as an authorised training organisation on the government's official website.
Why You Need to Apply for CRICOS Registration as Australian Education Providers
There are two (2) reasons why training providers should get a CRICOS registration:
- To deliver VET courses to international students
- To offer English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)
Let's discuss them further.
To deliver VET courses to learners with international student visas
CRICOS registration is a compulsory requirement for providers wishing to legally enrol and train overseas students.
Australia's international education sector has considerable growth potential. Logically, many training providers want to jump on the train, especially with expectations for a post-pandemic boom. Here's what the numbers currently say about Australia and overseas students:
- Australia is the 3rd most satisfying country in the world for international students.
- Presently, it is the home of nearly 700,000 overseas students.
- In 2018, international students injected $31.9 billion into the Australian economy, directly boosting Australian jobs and wages and lifting the living standards in the country.
To offer English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS)
In addition to vocational education and training, some training providers offer courses to improve international students' proficiency in the English language. To do this, you need to list the ELICOS course in your application for CRICOS registration.
There are a few reasons international students may wish to improve their proficiency in English. This can help them improve their chances for finding employment as job seekers, as well as help them them feel more connected to their community and improve their social circumstances.
How to Apply for CRICOS Registration
As part of the application for CRICOS registration, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) requires training providers to prepare and submit the following documents:
- A financial viability risk assessment tool
- A fit and proper person requirements declaration
- Self-assessment forms
Financial viability risk assessment tool
The financial viability risk assessment tool is a well-laid-out report confirming the financial viability of the business. It is typically prepared by an accountant and shows the training provider's financial history and projections.
Fit and proper person requirements declaration
ASQA uses the Fit and Proper Person Requirements 2011 to determine whether a training provider is eligible for CRICOS registration. The idea is to ensure that key training organisation personnel have the characteristics and principles to deliver high-quality services and outcomes for international VET graduates.
You can download the Fit and proper person requirements declaration (DOC) here.
Training providers are also acquired to submit self-assessment forms to show that they can deliver training and assessments while managing administrative duties including student enrolment and support. It also tests their knowledge and compliance with Australian VET and RTO regulations.
If you plan to offer both VET and ELICOS courses, you will need to complete all three forms:
- Self-assessment for initial ELICOS registration
- Self-assessment for initial RTO registration (even if you're already registered)
- Self-assessment for initial CRICOS registration
CRICOS registration doesn't cover all the courses an RTO offers, which means you can only apply for a particular course for a specific state at a time. So, if you want to provide multiple courses in more than one state, you need to submit separate applications.
For further information and resources on CRICOS registration, read ASQA's exhaustive application guide.
A CRICOS registration comes with a ton of obligations. For example, as a registered CRICOS provider, you must meet the Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Framework requirements at all times to avoid non compliance. You must also keep the 11 standards of the National Code 2018.
In addition to acting within the stipulated legislative framework, CRICOS educational training providers must:
- Guarantee high-quality training experience for international students throughout the course duration
- Pay ASQA's annual CRICOS registration charges on time
- Meet the Tuition Protection Service (TPS) requirements
- Turn in detailed reports on students' information, education agents, course deferrals and the like
Frequently Asked Questions about CRICOS
How long does CRICOS registration last?
How do I renew My CRICOS registration?
You need to submit your renewal application at least 90 days before the expiration of your current registration. Here's a good resource for CRICOS registration renewal.
What does CRICOS code mean?
A CRICOS code is a registration number assigned to the courses offered by CRICOS providers.
Is CRICOS registration free?
The CRICOS registration process is not free. Typically, the application assessment doesn't begin without the invoice payment. Extra fees and annual registration charges also apply.
How long does CRICOS registration take?
When you send in your initial registration application, you should expect feedback between 6-9 months or 130 working days. In the same vein, change of scope applications takes 130 working days.
The Best Ways to Prepare for the Return of International Students
More than applying for CRICOS registration, there are other things to do as you prepare to enrol international students as a registered training provider. Here are some of our best tips:
- Put out information about enrolment and admissions as early as possible. Learn more about this in our marketing strategies article.
- Get accreditation for the courses you want to offer.
- Plan out the curriculum and VET assessment methods for evaluating students' competencies.
- Ensure your staff knowledge is up to date.
Overseas students present lots of opportunities for training providers. While you prepare for their return, training organisations can use Cloud Assess to deliver continuous learning experiences to local and international students.
For further information and to claim your free 14 day trial, click here.