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Change of welfare – subclass 500 (schools) visa procedure

Version number 1.2 | Version effective 23 December 2021
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Change of welfare – subclass 500 (schools) visa procedure

Audience

Department of Education International (DEi) staff, staff, school staff, overseas students, homestay providers, international partners, parents/legal custodians of Overseas students and their agents.

Purpose

To ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place for overseas students changing from one form of welfare arrangement to another.

Overview

Overseas students taking part in International Student Programs (ISP) must have suitable accommodation and welfare arrangements in place. While attending an ISP school, the three acceptable options for overseas students’ welfare arrangements are to reside with either:

  • a parent approved by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA)
  • a relative over 21 years of age nominated by the parent and approved by the DHA
  • an Education Queensland International (EQI) approved homestay provider (that is, under the welfare of EQI). An EQI approved homestay provider can also include family friends or distant relatives chosen by a parent to provide accommodation for the duration of the overseas student’s program.

Circumstances where an overseas student’s welfare arrangements change can include (but are not limited to):

  • the DHA approves a guardian (approved Student Guardian visa) to maintain welfare for an overseas student who was formally under the welfare of EQI
  • the DHA approved guardian can no longer provide welfare (permanently or temporarily) for an overseas student, requiring EQI to assume welfare
  • an overseas student changes welfare between EQI and another Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) provider
  • concerns regarding an overseas student’s wellbeing have been identified and EQI can no longer provide welfare due to compassionate and compelling reasons
  • the overseas student is starting or completing a program (for example, initial arrival onshore and departure).

A change of welfare is not required for overseas students intending to temporarily travel or stay with a parent/s or close family relative entering Australia on a tourist visa (for example, during the school holiday break). In this case, overseas students are required to submit a ISP travel and activities request form.

For circumstances where emergency accommodation and welfare changes are required outside of school hours (before 9.00 am and after 3.00 pm on school days, and 24 hours during weekends, public holidays and school vacations) parents, DHA approved guardians, overseas students, agents and homestay providers should call 1800 QSTUDY (1800 778 839) to seek assistance and/or to arrange emergency accommodation and welfare. For further information please refer to the DEi Incident management procedure.

Responsibilities

School staff (for example, International Student/Homestay coordinator or Line Manager)

  • develop and maintain regular formal and informal contact (for example, face-to-face or email correspondence) at least every six months with homestay providers, overseas students and DHA approved guardians to ensure overseas student wellbeing, confirm up to date contact details and to establish any issues or concerns regarding accommodation and welfare (for example, ensure living arrangements are still appropriate to the overseas student’s age and needs)
  • establish and maintain regular telephone and/or email communication with overseas students’ parent/agent, DHA approved guardians and EQI for the purpose of discussing overseas student wellbeing
  • make permanent, temporary and emergency changes to accommodation arrangements, when required (for example, at the request of EQI)
  • notify EQI of overseas student requests to change welfare arrangements
  • escalate issues and concerns to school principal (or delegate), including critical incidents, overseas student misbehaviour, concerns regarding overseas student’s welfare or if an overseas student may have to leave the homestay program prior to the end of the program (for example, prior non-disclosure of wellbeing issues that require parental or DHA approved guardianship)
  • ensure safe and appropriate arrangements are in place for overseas students starting and completing the program (for example, ensure ISP student flight arrival details form and ISP travel and activities request form are completed and added in OneSchool)
  • maintain accurate and up-to-date records (for example, homestay Blue Card details, current residential address or adding a record of contact in OneSchool for each contact with overseas student).

EQI staff

  • issue a Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW) letter (DoE employees only) for overseas students under 18 years of age who have requested homestay placement, including the nominated dates for which EQI accepts responsibility for approving the overseas student’s accommodation, support and general welfare arrangements
  • provide written approval to overseas students, parents or DHA approved guardians who request a change in accommodation and welfare arrangements (for example, CAAW letter)
  • inform the overseas student of their visa obligation to maintain their current welfare arrangements until the transfer date, or have alternate welfare arrangements approved or return to their home country until the new approved welfare arrangements take effect
  • liaise with school principal, school staff, parent and agent upon receipt of a notification that the school is no longer able to provide homestay for an overseas student (for example, ensuring appropriate travel, handover and accommodation arrangements are in place)
  • report to Director, EQI, where it has been determined that overseas student cannot remain in the homestay program
  • advise Australian Government, using the Provider Registration and International Student Management System (PRISMS), of changes in welfare arrangements
  • manage financial consequences of welfare change (for example, homestay refund to parent)
  • provide advice and support to the school principal and school staff implementing this procedure.

Director, EQI

  • take action as per the DEi Incident management procedure, when notified by EQI staff
  • decide if EQI no longer approves of the accommodation and/or welfare arrangements in place for an overseas student
  • notify the overseas student's parent/agent immediately if EQI is no longer able to approve the welfare arrangements of a student.
  • continue to approve the welfare arrangements for the overseas student until any of the following applies:
    • alternative welfare arrangements are approved by another registered provider
    • care of the student by a parent or nominated relative is approved by DHA
    • the student leaves Australia
    • EQI has notified the Australian Government, through PRISMS, that it is no longer able to approve the student’s welfare arrangements or that it has taken the required action after not being able to contact the student.

Homestay provider

  • comply with the ISP terms and conditions for homestay providers, for example:
    • provide overseas students with a safe, caring and supportive home environment
    • notify school staff if an overseas student fails to follow the homestay home rules or any other welfare or behaviour issue
    • notify school if no longer able to provide homestay.

DHA approved guardian

  • comply with Enrolment agreement (including the ISP standard terms and conditions)
  • comply with Student Guardian visa conditions and consult with EQI in advance if intending to leave Australia, or at any time cannot provide accommodation or welfare during an overseas student’s enrolment
  • notify school staff of your residential address or changes to your residential address as per the ISP standard terms and conditions
  • seek written approval from EQI before changing an overseas student’s welfare arrangements.

School principal (or delegate)

  • take action as per the DEi Incident management procedure, when notified by EQI staff
  • oversee the ongoing monitoring of overseas students’ health, safety and wellbeing as per the Ongoing enrolment – subclass 500 (schools) visa procedure
  • oversee the ongoing monitoring of homestay arrangements as per the DEi homestay provider management procedure
  • address and resolve homestay issues, for example:
    • implement behaviour and wellbeing management for overseas student
    • approve a change of homestay placement where necessary (for example, incompatibility between homestay provider and overseas student)
    • suspend or cancel a person’s registration as a homestay provider
    • notify EQI that the school is no longer able to provide homestay for an overseas student (school no longer approves of the accommodation and/or welfare arrangements in place for an overseas student).

Process

Change of welfare process. Three steps: 1. Identify 2. Report 3. Transfer

Image 1 : Change of welfare process

1. Identify

DHA approved guardian

  • to ensure appropriate welfare arrangements are made, immediately notify school staff if intending to leave the country or be absent from the residence without the overseas student (for example, overnight, temporarily or permanently), noting that:
    • overseas students over the age of 18 are required to remain in approved accommodation and welfare arrangements until the completion of the program as per ISP standard terms and conditions
  • immediately notify school of compassionate and compelling circumstances that require a change of overseas student welfare arrangements (temporarily or permanently).

Homestay provider

  • immediately notify school staff if there are concerns about an overseas student’s whereabouts, health, safety, behaviour or wellbeing, as per the ISP terms and conditions for homestay providers
  • immediately notify school staff if you can no longer provide homestay for an overseas student/s due to concerns about the overseas student’s whereabouts, health, safety, behaviour or wellbeing
  • immediately notify school staff you can no longer provide homestay for an overseas student/s due to unforeseeable circumstances (for example, ill health, change of location or family dispute).

School staff

  • maintain regular formal and informal contact with homestay providers, overseas students, parents and DHA approved guardians (at least every six months) to ensure overseas student wellbeing and to establish any issues or concerns regarding accommodation and welfare (for example, ensuring living arrangements are still appropriate for the overseas student’s age and needs)
  • follow up on any accommodation and welfare issues raised by homestay providers, overseas students, parents and DHA approved guardians and ensure appropriate intervention and support is provided, for example:
    • discuss issues to obtain further information
    • refer overseas student to school Guidance Officer/School Based Health Nurse
    • assist overseas student to access other welfare-related support services
  • inform EQI: 
    • when the overseas student requests to leave the homestay program to live with a DHA approved guardian
    • when the overseas student can no longer live with a DHA approved guardian and needs to enter the homestay program (permanently or temporarily)
    • if accommodation and welfare issues are raised by the school, overseas student, parent, DHA approved guardian homestay provider and a change in welfare arrangements is required due to compassionate and/or compelling reasons
  • refer to DEi student homestay placement procedure for temporary or permanent overseas student placement in DEi approved accommodation
  • notify homestay provider that an overseas student is changing welfare arrangements.

School principal (or delegate)

  • where issues have been raised by staff, an overseas student, parent, DHA approved guardian and/or homestay provider decide to, either:
  • notify EQI where the school is no longer able to provide homestay for overseas student
  • notify EQI where the school is required to provide homestay for the overseas student.

EQI staff

  • where the school is no longer able to approve homestay for an overseas student (for example, it has been identified that an overseas student has medical or mental health requirements not appropriate for the homestay to provide), liaise with school principal, school staff and overseas student’s parent/agent upon receipt of a notification:
    • where the school has contact with the overseas student
      • seek approval from the Director, EQI to attempt to negotiate an appropriate solution (for example, transfer of responsibility for approving accommodation and welfare to a parent, approved relative or another CRICOS registered provider, if appropriate)
      • attempt to negotiate an appropriate solution with the school and homestay provider, where approved
      • advise Director, EQI where it has been determined that there is no alternative but to report to the Australian Government, using PRISMS, that EQI no longer approves the accommodation and welfare arrangements in place for an overseas student.
    • where school is unable to contact overseas student
      • make all reasonable efforts to locate overseas student
      • notify the police and any other relevant commonwealth, state or territory agencies as soon as practicable
      • advise Director, EQI where it has been determined there is no alternative but to report to the Australian Government, using PRISMS, that EQI no longer approves the accommodation and welfare arrangements in place for a overseas student.
      • notify the Australian Government, using PRISMS, (as soon as practicable, but no later than 14 days after the overseas student’s enrolment is cancelled), of the details of any breach of a prescribed condition of the overseas student's visa, even if the overseas student has ceased to be an accepted student of EQI.
  • where overseas student welfare is moving from a DHA approved guardian to EQI, confirm any proposed changes to welfare arrangements with school and parent/agent
  • where the welfare is moving from EQI to the DHA approved guardian
    • confirm any proposed changes to welfare arrangements with school and parent/agent
    • notify the Australian Government as soon as practicable that a CAAW is no longer required
  • notify school staff when a request to transfer to another provider is approved by Director, EQI (in line with Transfers – subclass 500 (schools) visa procedure) and:
    • confirm welfare changeover date with new education provider, ensuring no gap in responsibility for approving the overseas student’s accommodation and welfare
    • liaise with parent/agent or DHA approved guardian and school staff to confirm the overseas student’s departure date
  • provide written approval to change welfare arrangements to the overseas student, parent and school.

Director, EQI

  • liaise with EQI staff and school staff
  • consult the overseas student and/or parent/agent before a final decision is made regarding non-approval of welfare and accommodation options in place for the overseas student
  • notify the overseas student, parent/agent and EQI staff of any decision to report to the Australian Government, using PRISMS, that EQI no longer approves of the accommodation and welfare arrangements in place for the overseas student.

2. Report

EQI staff

  • report to the Australian Government, using PRISMS, if:
    • the responsibility for approving the overseas student’s accommodation and welfare has been transferred from EQI to the overseas student’s parent/approved relative
    • overseas student’s parent has consented to EQI taking responsibility for approving the overseas student's accommodation and welfare
    • the overseas student’s enrolment was cancelled (as soon as practicable, but no later than 14 days after the overseas student’s enrolment is cancelled)
    • the overseas student is returning home, report to Australian Government, using PRISMS, as soon as possible:
      • within 24 hours if EQI is no longer able to approve the overseas student’s welfare arrangements
      • where an overseas student has transferred to another CRICOS registered provider, cancel the overseas student’s Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE), using PRISMS, on or as soon as practicable after the overseas student’s welfare changeover has occurred
  • provide documentation to the parent that appropriate arrangements have been made for the overseas student’s accommodation and welfare.

DHA approved guardian

  • if leaving Australia (temporarily or permanently), provide evidence issued by EQI to the DHA showing appropriate arrangements for the overseas student’s accommodation and welfare have been arranged.

School staff

  • advise homestay provider and the parent of the date the overseas student will be arriving or departing homestay (such as the overseas student’s flight details or other transport arrangements).

3. Transfer

EQI staff

  • where welfare is being transferred between EQI and the overseas student’s parent and DHA approved guardian, liaise with school staff to ensure safe and appropriate transport arrangements are in place for overseas students:
    • arriving onshore to start the program
    • returning home after completing the program
    • when transferring accommodation arrangements from EQI welfare to a DHA approved guardian
    • when transferring accommodation arrangements from a DHA approved guardian to EQI.
  • where an overseas student has transferred to another CRICOS registered provider, ensure safe and appropriate accommodation arrangements are in place until the overseas student is placed in the care of the new provider
  • ask the overseas student/parent/DHA approved guardian to complete the ISP refund request form, if eligible for a refund
  • process homestay refunds in accordance with Refund policy outlined in the ISP standard Terms and Conditions, if required.

School staff

  • ensure appropriate arrangements are made as per the overseas student’s ISP student flight arrival details form
  • ensure all relevant parties are aware of the overseas student’s transfer arrangements and appropriate supervision and handover is maintained, for example:
    • for overseas students arriving/leaving the program, liaise with homestay provider and parents/agent to determine arrival/departure arrangements and ensure that overseas students returning home have safe arrangements in place to the care of their parent (for example, an overseas student completes a ISP travel and activities request form).
  • advise EQI of financial status of the overseas student’s homestay account (for example, a refund is required)
  • ensure that within the welfare arrangements the overseas student’s health, safety and wellbeing are monitored as per the Ongoing enrolment – subclass 500 (schools) visa procedure.

Homestay provider

  • liaise with school staff to determine travel arrangements (for example, who will pick up or take the overseas student to the airport or new accommodation and welfare provider, if required).

Definitions

Term

Definition

1800 QSTUDY
(+61 1800 778 839)

A student hotline for managing incidents involving students across Queensland.

Agent

Education agent registered with EQI to recruit overseas students for EQI programs.

Compassionate circumstances

Circumstances that:

  • are not in the overseas student’s control or created by the overseas student; and
  • adversely impact on the overseas student’s welfare or course progress (for example, illness, bereavement or traumatic events may qualify).

Compelling circumstances

Circumstances which, in the opinion of EQI staff or school staff, are in the overseas student’s best educational interests.

Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare Letter (CAAW)

Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare confirms that the Registered Education Provider must approve of accommodation, support and general welfare arrangements for student visa holders, aged under 18 years who do not intend to live with an immigration approved relative.

Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE)

A Confirmation of Enrolment is a document created in Provider Registration and International Student Management System (PRISMS) by EQI as evidence of an overseas student’s course and duration of study in a nominated Queensland state school.

Delegate

Is a classified officer (Heads of Department, Deputy Principals and Principals) nominated by the principal who is authorised to make some International Student Program decisions on behalf of the school principal.

Department of Education International (DEi)

The international branch of the Department of Education and employees of DEi.

The Department of Education’s trading name is Education Queensland International (EQI).

Department of Home Affairs (DHA)

Australian Government responsible for the Migration Regulations.

DHA approved guardian

A parent, legal custodian or relative over the age of 21 years approved by the Department of Home Affairs to be responsible for the Welfare of Overseas students under the age of 18 years.

DoE

Department of Education

EQI

Education Queensland International

EQI staff

DoE employees working in DEi, trading as EQI.

Homestay

Homestay is accommodation services offered by a family, a couple or a single person where food and shelter and a safe, caring and supportive home environment is provided to an overseas student.

For International Student Programs: Overseas student accommodation arranged by schools for Student Visa 500 holders; where EQI is responsible for the welfare of the student at all times, including outside school hours.

Homestay provider

Homestay provider approved by EQI school to host overseas students in their home.

International Student Programs (ISP)

A study pathway offered to Overseas students to fulfil their academic potential, develop new skills and achieve personal goals in a way that suits their individual needs. International Student Programs include: Primary School, High School, International Baccalaureate, and High School Preparation.

OneSchool

OneSchool - a comprehensive program to help Queensland State Schools manage key teaching and school administrative activities. Its features cover a wide range of school operations:

  • student management and student analytics
  • curriculum planning and learning
  • finance and asset management
  • resource management
  • performance
  • analysis and reporting.

Overseas student

Student in Australia on visa subclass 500 (schools sector).

Parent

Natural parent or legal custodian.

Provider Registration and International Student Management System (PRISMS)

The national database owned by the Commonwealth Department of Education which all Australian education providers enrolling international students must enter their CoE details.

School

For International Student Programs: Queensland state schools accredited by EQI to deliver international student programs.

School staff

Employees of EQI schools, for example – International Student Coordinator, Homestay Coordinator, Head of Department, Deputy Principal, Principal.

Welfare arrangement

The accommodation and care for the student for the duration of their stay and study while in Queensland and is required in order for the overseas students to be issued a student visa.

Legislation

Delegations/Authorisations

  • Nil

Other resources

Superseded versions

Previous seven years shown. Minor version updates not included.

Accommodation and welfare procedure

Review date

24 January 2023
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