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International students on exchange programmes in a third country

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The following information aims to assist education providers in understanding their obligations under the Migration Regulations 1994 and Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (the ESOS Act) in relation to international exchange programmes.

The following policy and procedures apply to international students participating in an international exchange programme.

Requirements of the student and the exchange programme

International students in Australia on a student visa are allowed to participate in an international exchange program provided:

  • the study or training to be undertaken under the programme is an assessable part of the student's full-time course in Australia and has been approved as part of the registration process for the course
  • the exchange is no more than 12 months in duration
  • family members who are in Australia accompany the student if the exchange is for more than six months
  • while on exchange, the student must maintain full-time study and comply with their visa conditions, such as maintaining satisfactory attendance and academic performance and maintain adequate arrangements for the education of school-aged dependants.

Education providers' responsibilities while the student is outside Australia

The education provider must report in the Provider Registration and International Students Management System (PRISMS):

  • any non-compliance with student visa condition 8202 which relates to attendance and satisfactory academic performance
  • any cessation of the student's studies.

Information can be located from the Provider Registration and International Students Management System (PRISMS) website.

Education providers are required to report the above-mentioned events under the ESOS Act to enable appropriate compliance action to be taken for students who breach visa condition 8202.

A guide on education providers' reporting responsibilities can be found in the following documents:

  • Reporting Overseas Students for Course Non Attendance or Unsatisfactory Academic Results
  • Recording Student Course Variations in PRISMS.

Both are available on the Help Menu in PRISMS. These guides do not replace the provider's legislative requirements under the ESOS Act.

The provider must also maintain an accurate record of the student's overseas address in accordance with section 21 of the ESOS Act.

Providers are not exempt from the National Code's Standard 6 requirement to give students access to support services that help them meet course requirements.

Student's responsibilities while on exchange overseas

The student must:

  • complete their course within the expected course duration as per National Code Standard 9 requirement
  • comply with visa condition 8202 which relates to attendance, achieving satisfactory academic performance and maintaining enrolment at the same or a higher Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) level, unless transferring from an AQF 10 to AQF 9 level course
  • comply with condition 8517 which requires the student to maintain adequate arrangements for the education of school-aged dependants who are in Australia for more than three months as a student visa holder.

More information is available about student visa conditions and changing courses.

More information is available about the student's responsibility to ensure that their visa will remain valid during the period of the exchange in about your visa.

It is advisable that student visa holders keep a copy of their visa grant notification with them when they travel. Their visa is linked electronically to the passport details provided in their visa application. When in Australia, they can view their visa status and entitlements online using Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO). VEVO is a free internet service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It allows them, and their employer or education provider, to view their visa details online.

Further information

For further information please contact the ESOS Helpline.
Telephone: 02 6240 5069