The new code comes into effect on 1 July 2016 and replaces the prior code except for students already enrolled who are covered by the old code until the end of the year.

The purpose of the code is to protect international students and ensure they have a positive experience (as far as possible).

Education providers can apply to join up to the code.

The provider must have acceptable financial practices and performance together with policies and procedures to meet the code requirements.  A general discretion to reject applications applies based on suitability tests.

Under the code all marketing and promotion must be clear and accurate.  There are minimum information requirements dealing with things such as costs for study and living accommodation and transport, learning outcomes, the institution, staff, facilities and equipment.

Any agents appointed must be monitored to ensure their integrity and professionalism.  There must be a written contract with any agent and agents must be terminated if they breach the law or jeopardise compliance with the code.

Providers must give students (and parents) information to enable informed choices before entering into a contract and keep copies of all documentation as well as provide copies to the student (or family).

As well as information that must be provided to students, the education establishment must ensure all students are insured for their travel, medical, repatriation and funeral costs.

Providers must not allow students to enrol, or continue, if they do not qualify under the Immigration Act.  They must report known or suspected breaches as well as terminations of study.

There must be a good orientation programme at the start of their study.  This must cover policies, support, services, contact details for staff, health and safety, grievance procedures and termination.

They must provide a safe study environment, adequate support and as far as practicable, ensure a safe living environment.

Providers must respond effectively to inappropriate behaviour, develop policies for managing behaviour, communicate those to staff and student and have suitable emergency procedures.  At least one staff member must be available 24/7 to be contacted in an emergency.

Students from 10-17 years have special requirements regarding living arrangements and parental caregiver supervision.

Students under 10 years must live with a parent/legal guardian unless they are in a school hostel.

Appropriate protocols must be in place for at risk or special needs students.  Accommodation and caregivers for under 18 students need to be checked for legal compliance and safety.  They must monitor this by ongoing home visits and interviews. 

Students of different ages must be appropriately separated.  Students must also be provided with information on legal rights, minimum wages, maximum hours and further study opportunities.

Fees must be protected in the event of withdrawal, ending of the course or closure of the institution.  Refund conditions must be clearly set out.

The establishment must have an effective internal grievance process and external avenues are made know in the event of dissatisfaction with the internal outcome.  They must comply with the International Student Dispute Resolution Scheme.

Providers must self-review for compliance with the Code but can also be subject to external review.  Providers must comply with all instructions of the code administrator.