Legal Rights and Protections

Laws protect your rights as an international student in Australia.

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Australian laws support a positive international student experience

These laws help ensure that you have access to:

high quality courses

that can help you achieve your goals


when working and studying part-time on a student visa

fair treatment

when buying any goods or services.

Here are some ways you can benefit from Australian law:

Quality-assured education

The Australian Government requires every education provider in Australia to have

  • meet registration requirements,
  • be formally accredited and 
  • pass strict quality control checks. 

Students studying in Australia on a student visa can only study government-registered courses that meet national quality standards. Visit Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses Overseas Students (CRICOS) for a list of these courses.

The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 and National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 require all CRICOS registered education providers to follow strict rules about student support, information and processes, including access to the Tuition Protection Scheme (TPS) - see below.

What to do if you need to complain about your education or training provider

The Australian Government appoints an independent advocate called an Overseas Student Ombudsman. They can help you with any issues or complaints about private schools, colleges, institutes and universities in Australia.

If you are studying at a public (Government) education or training provider, you can get help from an Ombudsman in the Australian state or territory you are studying. These are independent complaint handling organisations. 

Workplace rights for international students

Find out more about your work rights and entitlements as an international student working part-time whilst studying. 

What happens if your education provider can’t deliver your course

If you have paid for your course, but your university, TAFE, RTO or school can’t deliver (or finish) your course, the Tuition Protection Service (TPS) can help! The TPS can help you with tuition fee refunds and find you a different provider to finish your studies.

What to do if you have a problem with a product or service

Australia has consumer protection laws to protect the rights of Australian consumers, including international students.

If you have a problem with a product or service you bought or want to buy, you can contact your local state and territory consumer protection agency for consumer help. 

They can provide:

  • information about your consumer rights,
  • advice for a product or service you’re buying or have purchased already,
  • details about operations of a business and their behaviour under the law, and
  • guidance on how to make a complaint about a business.