The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has particular activities in place to help students if their education provider has ceased operations and is no longer able to deliver their course and the scenario is known as education provider ‘default’. The department is aware of the fact that students may be concerned about their visa status and that the situation is beyond their control. In which case, special arrangements will be made to provide you enough chance to study in a different institution on their student visa.
How are students safeguarded when an education provider defaults?
If a course is terminated, the education provider usually should offer students a place in another course with no additional expense which is acceptable to the student or refund any unspent prepaid tuition fees received by the education provider. During this situation, students should communicate closely with their education provider to make certain that they get alternative enrolment.
When the education provider fails to place the student in an alternative course acceptable to the student or fails to refund them any unspent pre-paid tuition fees, the students will be helped by the Tuition Protection Service (TPS).
If an education provider closes, TPS will help students to either complete their studies with another education provider or offer a refund of their unspent tuition fees. Students need to read the information provided under ‘Student Information’ on the TPS website before seeking alternative enrolment.
How are student visas affected when an education provider defaults?
Students will for sure be concerned about their visa status as they need to continue their course enrolment as a condition of their Student visa and the department understands that. The department is aware of the fact that students may be concerned about their visa status and that the situation is beyond their control and will not cancel the student’s visa if they secure enrolment in another course.
Students will be provided with three months time to make arrangements for alternative course, from the date the course was deregistered, cancelled or the provider defaulted/closed. Through this period, students should get a new Letter of Offer or Confirmation of Enrolment and if the students have not started their courses, they will also need to secure alternative enrolment within three months. If Students secure enrolment in a different education sector, they should apply for a new Student visa for that sector by lodging a student visa application
by post or in person.
Students who are planning to leave Australia for a while, when awaiting a placement with a new education provider may do so; provided they return to Australia while their visa is still valid. Students whose visas are granted but are yet to travel to Australia are expected to put off travel to Australia until they get hold of an education provider offering an alternative enrolment. Students will then not be subject to visa cancellation and they will be given an opportunity to get an alternative enrolment for an education provider. Students under the age of 18 should maintain their welfare arrangements at all times as it is one of the primary conditions of their visa. When a student who is under the age of 18 and their education provider has stopped or defaulted to offer their course, then the student, the student’s parent(s), the guardian(s) or their authorised representative(s) must contact the nearest departmental office without delay, to discuss the young student’s visa options. This is for the most part important if the education provider was responsible for the young student’s welfare arrangements.
Checking Visa Expiry Date
Students should check the expiry date of their current visa as their student visa does not automatically extend if the education provider is unable to provide a course and the student’s new course has a longer duration than the existing visa. In these conditions, if a student wants to continue their education in Australia they must lodge a new application for a new student visa before their current visa expires. Students can always check their visa label for their visa expiry date or utilize the department’s Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service.
Applicants with pending student visa applications
Students who have made an application for a Student visa with enrolment at an education provider who has defaulted will be given the opportunity to get hold of a new enrolment before a decision is made on their visa application. Students should make sure that they respond appropriately to requests by the visa processing office and provide updated enrolment information as soon as possible. Students in this situation will be exempted from paying the visa application processing fee.
Students who were pursuing their higher education at the time the provider defaulted/stopped their course can work full-time while they are waiting to be placed with a new education provider. During these circumstances, the department regards that the student’s course is ‘out of session’; as a result full-time work is permitted for students. Students who were enrolled with an education provider that has defaulted/closed, but have not started their higher education in Australia are not eligible to work and can commence work only until they have started their higher education with a new provider.
Students Studying at the Time the Course Ceased
If a student was actively pursuing his or her higher education and when the education provider's registration for that course was removed or when the education provider closed/defaulted and if the student is over the age of 18, the department will allow the student additional time to arrange his or her enrolment in an alternative course with a different education provider. The student should obtain a Letter of Offer or a Confirmation of Enrolment for alternative studies within three months of the date the course was deregistered, cancelled or closed/defaulted by the education provider.
The department is conscious that in certain cases, the process of being placed in an alternative course or to get a refund may take longer than three months. If students are not able enrol within three months, they should contact the department and provide the letter from the Tuition Protection Service to confirm that the students are awaiting the outcome of the processes. A Student needs to check his or her visa expiry date which would have been approved based on the information supplied in the student’s original student visa application. There is no provision in the process to automatically extend a student visa where an education provider has closed/defaulted a course and the student’s new course durations is longer than his or hers visa.
If a student has obtained enrolment in an alternative course but the new course’s duration extends beyond the expiry date of the student’s existing visa, he or she should apply for a new Student visa before their current visa expires, including the evidence of enrolment.
Students Not Studying at the Time the Course Ceased
If a student was not actively studying with the education provider at the time when the provider ceased teaching the course and the student has not yet commenced his or hers education elsewhere, the student should enrol in a course with another education provider.
Students looking to apply for General Skilled Migration
If a student’s education provider has stopped to offer a course and if the student wants to apply for permanent residency, the student should meet the Australian study requirement of completing a course which is registered on the Commonwealth Register for Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) for General Skilled Migration.
Upon completing the course requirements and receiving results before the course registration was closed/cancelled, the student should meet the two year requirement provided that:
• The course was registered as a course with a minimum duration of 92 weeks on CRICOS
• The student has studied for at least 16 calendar months in Australia in a CRICOS registered course
• There was no acknowledgment of previous learning from non-CRICOS registered courses
• The course was completed in Australia and in English
• The student was awarded with a diploma, degree or a trade qualification after the course
If a student was not notified by the time the education provider has stopped teaching the course, the student will not meet the Australian study requirement. The student should immediately transfer to another education institution registered on CRICOS to complete their higher education to qualify. The student should make certain that the courses they transfer to are ‘closely related’ for the purpose of General Skilled Migration.
Whichever period of education with an education provider after the time the course was deregistered is usually not counted for the Australian study requirement. On the other hand, higher education undertaken consequently with another CRICOS registered provider will be considered for the purpose of the Australian study requirement.
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