The Scheme provides a dispute resolution mechanism for international students in relation to their education providers and will come into force on 1 July 2016.

Students may make a verbal or written Dispute Resolution Scheme (DRS) claim, free of charge, to the DRS operator.

Any oral complaints will be recorded in writing by the operator who will also provide reasonable support to enable the claim to be made.

Within 10 working days the operator will acknowledge the claim, whether it is covered by the DRS, refer the student to any other appropriate authorities and refer the student back to the provider if no opportunity to resolve the dispute has yet been given.

Claims may be rejected if they have not been raised with the education provider, are being dealt with elsewhere, would be better handled by a Court or Tribunal, have been dealt with before, are frivolous or vexatious or are too old to allow a proper investigation.

Disputes must be dealt with in a timely, cost effective and fair manner.  Parties are encouraged to achieve a mutually agreed solution.

The parties are advised that the adjudicator is not bound by rules of evidence, determines the matter accordingly to the merits and justice, the process is confidential and that systemic issues, breaches of rules and serious misconduct must be reported.

Disputes are resolved by negotiation, mediation or adjudication.

Parties must supply information requested by the operator unless it is confidential, subject to legal privilege or not held by them.

The adjudicator must provide a proposed decision to each party and allow 10 working days for a response.

Once the decision is final the student has 10 working days to accept the decision.  If accepted the decision is binding on the parties. 

The remedies available are payment of up to $200,000, remedial actions ordered, non-monetary redress and cessation of conduct.