International Student Programs – subclass 500 (schools) visa policy

Version number 2.0 | Version effective 23 January 2023
International Student Programs – subclass 500 (schools) visa policy


Education Queensland International (EQI), EQI staff, school staff, Overseas students, EQI homestay providers, parents/Department of Home Affairs (DHA) approved guardians of Overseas students and their agents.


This policy provides a framework to support accredited International Student Program (ISP) schools who are responsible for the delivery of educational, welfare, accommodation and support services to Overseas students (Subclass 500 [schools] visa).

Policy statement

EQI is a registered provider on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) for education services for international students enrolled in Queensland government primary, secondary and English language schools. EQI is responsible for meeting Commonwealth and Designated State Authority (DSA) requirements under Commonwealth and Queensland legislation, and for supporting Queensland ISP schools to meet legislative requirements.


The principles in this policy are aligned to the guiding principles of the Australian Strategy for International Education 2021-2030 that charts a path to sustainable growth for Australia's international education sector. The Department of Education, International (DEi) is the branch within the Department of Education (DoE) charged with the responsibility for managing the department’s international activities. These activities provide opportunities to engage with diverse cultures in productive and meaningful ways, and further the reputation of Queensland’s world-class education system locally and globally.


What this means for the department


  • Continue to support Overseas students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds towards a more inclusive state education system outlined in the Inclusive education policy.
  • Enhance student diversification through exploration of new markets with emerging demands for Queensland education services
  • Reduce unintended market impacts by monitoring each country and each education agent for a low-risk evidence-based rating under the Simplified student visa framework (SSVF).

Meeting Australia’s skill needs

  • Be agile and responsive to Australia's evolving skill and learning development requirements as jobs change, emerge and technological progress continues.

Students at the centre

  • Deliver support that meets or exceeds Overseas student needs. We are committed to enhancing and prioritising Overseas student experience and wellbeing.
  • Promote collaboration and alignment to strengthen connections with students, schools and their wider communities.
  • Celebrate and support alumni success of our graduating Overseas students from the International Student Program of both primary and secondary courses.

Growth and global competitiveness

  • Expand growth by promoting the department itself as a high-quality education provider and through bilateral government to government partnerships.
  • Promote Queensland as a preferred destination for Overseas student programs and by exceeding the expectations outlined in the National Code 2018.
  • Enhance student diversification by maintaining competitive visa settings that facilitate the mobility of international students who study in Queensland state schools.
  • Drive continues improvements through the legislative requirements of the Education Services for Overseas Student Act 2000 (ESOS Act) and ESOS regulatory framework.


The National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (National Code 2018) is a legislative instrument made under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) and sets nationally consistent standards that govern the protection of international students and delivery of courses to those students by providers registered on CRICOS.

Education providers must comply with the National Code 2018 to maintain their registration to provide education services to international students.

EQI ISP standard terms and conditions outline the standards to which Overseas students and their parents/legal custodians are legally bound by throughout the period of the Overseas student’s enrolment in an ISP school.

EQI ISP client service standards outline the service commitment provided by EQI to stakeholders of ISP in Queensland state schools.

Standard 1 – Marketing information and practices

DoE requirements of International Student Programs:

  • Provide accurate information to all stakeholders via the EQI website (
  • Maintain professional, accurate marketing of our education and training services through the implementation of the guidelines EQI ISP marketing guides for schools (DoE employees only).
  • Provide agents with current and accurate information that complies with the ESOS Legislative Framework and allows agents to provide the services including:
    • information about ISP, policies, fees, services and application procedures
    • promotional materials for distribution.

Standard 2 – Recruitment of an Overseas student

DoE requirements of International Student Programs:

Standard 3 – Formalisation of enrolment and written agreements

DoE requirements of International Student Programs:

Standard 4 – Education agents

DoE requirements of International Student Programs:

  • Take responsibility of agent services through an Agent Agreement and process for ensuring the quality of agency practices.
  • Only engage with education agents that have been accredited by EQI.
  • Enter into an Agreement with each agent in order to monitor the obligations of agents and EQI.
  • Provide agents with compliant and relevant marketing material on the EQI website.
  • Provide a list of registered agents and a process for applying to be become an EQI agent.

Standard 5 – Younger Overseas students

DoE requirements of International Student Programs:

  • Confirm the responsibilities and processes for all employees and visitors to state schools when dealing with student protection concerns and responding when it is suspected that an Overseas student, or an unborn child, has been harmed or is at risk of harm (Student protection procedure and Working with children authority procedure).
  • Maintain the Change of welfare - subclass 500 (schools) visa procedure to ensure that Overseas students under 18 years of age must reside with a parent, relative, legal custodian or accommodation approved by EQI for the duration of their study in a Queensland state school.
  • Confirm that homestay providers are aware of and adhere to the Child and Youth Risk Management Strategy and the ISP terms and conditions for homestay providers
  • Ensure Overseas students are placed in an appropriate and safe homestay by outlining the roles and responsibilities of both schools and homestay providers:
  • Ensure there is no welfare gap for the duration of the enrolment. This is formalised when the applicant accepts an Offer of enrolment and the Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) is issued, along with the Confirmation of appropriate accommodation and welfare (CAAW) letter (if applicable).
  • Limit accommodation arrangements for Overseas students to one of the following:
    • the Overseas student may live with their parents
    • the Overseas student may live with a relative approved by the Australian Government department responsible for immigration (who is over 21 years of age and of good character)
    • the Overseas student may live with a nominated third party where EQI assesses and approves accommodation and welfare. The nominated person must be over 25 years of age, be of good character, and all relevant family members must hold valid Blue Cards. This option is only available for Overseas students entering high school (refer EQI ISP student application form page 6).
    • Overseas students in an EQI approved homestay or an EQI approved arrangement with a nominated third party (options 1 and 2 above) will be issued with a Confirmation of appropriate accommodation and welfare (CAAW) letter.

Standard 6 – Overseas student support services

DoE requirements of International Student Programs: 

Standard 7 – Overseas student transfers

DoE requirements of International Student Programs:

Standard 8 – Overseas student visa requirements

DoE requirements of International Student Programs:

Standard 9 – Deferring, suspending or cancelling the overseas student’s enrolment

DoE requirements of International Student Programs:

Standard 10 – Complaints and appeals

DoE requirements of International Student Programs: 

Standard 11 – Additional registration requirements

DoE requirements of International Student Programs:

  • EQI only accepts Overseas student enrolments in ISP schools that are provisionally accredited or accredited.
  • Ensure appropriate staffing, resources and facilities for Overseas students and endorsement from the relevant Regional Director, including CRICOS capacity adjustments.
  • Deliver a high standard of customer service and meet the targets as defined in the EQI client service standards.





(+61 1800 778 839)

A student hotline for managing incidents involving overseas students across Queensland.


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

Agent Agreement

Formal agreement between EQI and an agent recruiting overseas students.


A parent of a prospective overseas student who is under 18 years of age applying for enrolment in an EQI program.

Blue Card

A working with children check required under the Working with Children (Risk Management and Screening) Act 2000.

Confirmation of appropriate accommodation and welfare (CAAW) letter

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 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.


A course registered on CRICOS offered by Department of Education trading as Education Queensland International.

Department of Education (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 department responsible for immigration.

DHA approved guardian

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

Enrolment agreement

A written agreement signed by the applicant, which includes Standard terms and conditions, an Initial Invoice and Statement of Fees; signed by the overseas student as well as parents or legal custodians.

EQI staff

DoE employees working in DEi, trading as EQI.

Global programs

Inbound and outbound programs delivered by Global Programs which offer participants the opportunity to develop their global competence by exploring new cultures and experience new learnings Students participating in Global programs are in Australia on visa subclass 600 (visitor).


Means any detrimental effect of a significant nature on a person’s physical, physiological, or emotional wellbeing (and includes self-harm).

High-risk activity

Any activity which inherently poses an increased risk of harm, illness or injury. It does not matter if the activity is undertaken in a controlled environment under appropriate supervision. Examples of high and extreme risk activities are extreme sports, water activities and recreational activities with dangerous elements.


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 Overseas student at all times, including outside school hours.

Homestay provider

Homestay provider is a family, a couple or a single person who is approved by DEi or schools to host overseas students in their home.

International Student Programs

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 includes: Primary School, High School, International Baccalaureate, and High School Preparation.

Offer of enrolment

Email package sent to applicant (via education agent if applicable). Package includes the Enrolment agreement (including Standard terms and conditions, Statement of fees, Initial invoice) and Payment notification form, school enrolment pack or other school enrolment information and instructions on how to accept the offer.

Outside school hours

Generally, before 9.00am and after 3.00pm on school days.

Overseas student

Student in Australia on visa subclass 500 (schools sector) enrolled in an EQI course.


Natural parent or legal custodian.

Provisionally accredited school

Queensland state schools provisionally accredited by EQI to provide education services to overseas students.


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

School staff

Employees of schools with responsibilities to support international students. For example – international student coordinator, homestay coordinator, head of department, deputy principal, accredited officer (study tours).

Study tour

Short term commercial programs for groups of overseas students to visit Queensland state primary and secondary schools, to enrich their learning and cultural experiences. Student groups are accompanied by adult tour chaperones.  Students participating in Study Tours are in Australia on visa subclass 600 (visitor).

Visa conditions

Conditions imposed by DHA upon the holder of a visa.


Support to the health and wellbeing of overseas students.

Welfare related support services

Services which address mental, physical, social and spiritual wellbeing. These services may include information/advice about, for example: counselling; financial matters; legal issues; medical issues; mental health; peer mentoring; programs promoting social interaction; religious and spiritual matters; and stress management.



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Other resources

Superseded versions

Previous seven years shown. Minor version updates not included.

1.0 International Student Programs - subclass 500 (schools) visa policy

Review date

23 January 2028
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs CC BY-NC-ND