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Student Rights and Obligation

Overseas Students Ombudsman

The Overseas Students Ombudsman (OSO) investigates complaints about problems that overseas students have with private education and training institutions in Australia. The Ombudsman’s services are free, independent and impartial. You can find out more about this service on their website: The OSO also produces an email newsletter for international students. You can subscribe to the newsletter on the OSO website.

If you are studying at a public institution, such as TAFE colleges and many universities and schools, you should contact the Ombudsman in the state or territory in which you are studying to lodge a complaint. You can find details of what the Ombudsman can investigate on their website. Below is a list of the Ombudsman website for the state of Queensland:


Consumer Protection

Australian has a strong consumer protection framework to protect the rights of Australian consumers, including international students in Australia. The Australian Consumer Law includes a national law guaranteeing consumer rights when buying goods and services. You should contact the relevant government trade and consumer agency in your state or territory, if you:

  • Would like information about your consumer rights.
  • Have a problem with a consumer good or service that you have bought or are considering buying.
  • Would like to know how a business should behave under the law.
  • Would like to make a complaint about a business.

Visit to find the relevant government agency for where you are living and studying.


Tuition Protection Service

The Tuition Protection Service (TPS) is an initiative of the Australian Government to assist you if your institution (referred to as ‘Education Provider’ under the TPS) is unable to fully deliver your course of study. The TPS may also assist you if you have withdrawn from, or not started, your course and are eligible for a refund of tuition fees and the institution has not paid them.

The TPS will make ensure that you are able to either:

Complete your studies in another course or with another institution, or

Receive a refund of your unspent tuition fees.

Under the Tuition Protection Service international students have a number of rights and obligations. For more information visit the Tuition Protection Service website.


Student Visa Conditions and Restrictions

  • 8105- Work Limitation

You cannot work more than 40 hours per fortnight* when your course is in session (other than work which has been registered as a part of the course).

Note: No work limits apply during recognised periods of vacation offered by your education provider.

You cannot undertake work until you have commenced your course in Australia.

*A fortnight means any period of 14 days commencing on a Monday and ending at the end of the second following Sunday.

If you have a subclass 574 visa, you have no work limits applying once you have commenced your Masters by research or Doctorate course in Australia.

  • 8202- Continuous Studying

You must remain enrolled in a registered course (unless you are a Foreign Affairs or Defence sponsored student or secondary exchange student in which case you must maintain full-time enrolment in your course of study or training).

Note: A registered course is one that is on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS).


You must maintain satisfactory attendance in your course and course progress for each study period as required by your education provider.

  • 8501- Health Insurance

You must maintain adequate arrangements for health insurance during your stay in Australia.
Note: Under policy, this means that you must maintain Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC).

  • 8516 – Maintain Eligibility

You must continue to satisfy the requirements for grant of your student visa. This means, for example, that your main course of study must continue to be a course in the education sector that matches your student visa, and that you must continue to have sufficient financial capacity to support your study and stay in Australia. For further information on the implications of changing courses:
See: Information on changing courses

  • 8517 – Dependents Education

You must maintain adequate schooling arrangements for your school-age dependents who joined you in Australia on a student dependent visa for more than 3 months.

  • 8533 – Notify Address

You must notify your education provider of your residential address in Australia within 7 days of arriving in Australia. You must notify your education provider of any change in your residential address within 7 days of the change. You must notify your education provider of a change of education provider within 7 days of receiving the electronic Confirmation of Enrolment certificate or evidence of enrolment.

You may find out more information in Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.

Changing Courses

Students may not be eligible for course change until after six (6) months of Study in initial course for which visa was granted and Student changing courses must complete the Change Course and Class Form and submit to the Registrar.

Students may change course before enrollment of a new units after 6 Months of studies or within 30 days after 6months in the nominated course for which a visa was granted

Note: An administration fee of AUD 50.00 apply if you decide to change course after this cooling off period for every change.