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Admissions and Welfare (International Students Under 18 Years) Procedures

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) International students under 18 years of age must have appropriate accommodation and welfare arrangements in place, compliant with Standard 5 of the ESOS National Code and relevant visa regulations, as well as State child protection laws, before they can obtain a student visa and commence university studies.

(2) These procedures provide the steps required to protect the personal safety and social wellbeing of an international student under 18 years of age accepted to study at the University.

(3) The procedures apply to international students who will be under 18 years of age at the date they commence their study in a program registered in the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students by the University (provider code 00917K) and who intend to study on a student visa.

(4) The procedures are to be read in conjunction with relevant University policies, including the Admissions Policy and Enrolment Policy, and the ESOS National Code and fact sheets and Immigration Guidelines - Welfare Arrangements for Students Under 18.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(5) Words and phrases used in these procedures and not otherwise defined in this document have the same meanings as in the Admissions Policy.

(6) Definitions for the purposes of these procedures:

  1. Approved Homestay Provider – means a provider the University approves and has a current agreement with, to provide accommodation services to international students who are under 18 years of age.
  2. Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW) letter – means the signed document the University issues which approves a student's accommodation and welfare arrangements while under 18 years of age and while enrolled at the University.
  3. Critical incident – means a traumatic event, or the threat of such (within or outside Australia as defined in the ESOS National Code).
  4. ESOS National Code – means the current National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students.  
  5. Homestay host – means a family in relation to whom a University Approved Homestay Provider enters into agreement to provide accommodation services to international students under 18 years of age.
  6. Case manager – means a staff member the University nominates to take responsibility for providing support to an international student who is under 18 years of age and monitoring their welfare until the student turns 18 years of age.
  7. Principal Executive Officer – means the person who has executive responsibility for the operation of an Approved Homestay Provider, that is not an individual in section 5 of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (Cth). At the University, the Pro Vice-Chancellor, International is the Principal Executive Officer.
  8. PRISMS – means the Federal Government's Provider Registration and International Student Management System from which the University and other providers issue Confirmations of Enrolment to, and report changes to the enrolments of, international students intending to study in Australia on student visas.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(7) As per the Admissions Policy, the University is committed to:

  1. assessing applicants for admission through policies and procedures that are fair and equitable;
  2. accommodating student diversity and creating admission opportunities regardless of students' backgrounds; and
  3. complying with legislative and regulatory requirements that apply to the admission of a certain class or classes of students, such as international students.

(8) Under the Admissions Policy, the University may admit an international student who will be under 18 years of age when they commence their course and who intends to study on a student visa, where the student:

  1. meets other admission requirements;
  2. is of at least 17 years of age; and
  3. will live in Australia until they turn 18 either:
    1. with their parent(s) or legal custodian;
    2. with a suitable relative, as approved by the Department of Home Affairs, whom the parent(s)/guardian nominates; or
    3. with an Approved Homestay Provider who has an agreement with the University.

(9) The University will only approve accommodation and welfare arrangements that comply with the requirements for protecting the personal safety and social wellbeing of students specified in Standard 5 of the ESOS National Code.

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Section 4 - Procedures

Part A - Offer of admission

(10) At the time of issuing an offer to an international applicant under 18 years of age, International Admissions will also issue an International Students Accommodation and Welfare Approval Application Form, which provides the steps the applicant needs to take to obtain appropriate accommodation and welfare arrangements, including the contact details of University Approved Homestay Providers.

(11) When responding to an offer of admission, the parent(s)/legal guardian of the applicant who is under 18 years of age must inform the University of the applicant's proposed accommodation and welfare arrangements by signing and lodging the International Students Accommodation and Welfare Approval Application Form, detailing that either:

  1. the student will reside with the parent(s)/guardian;
  2. the student will reside with a suitable relative as approved by the Department of Home Affairs; or
  3. a homestay place has been arranged for the student with a University Approved Homestay Provider, including evidence of this arrangement.

(12) If the parent(s)/guardian nominate a relative or family friend with whom they wish their child to reside while in Australia, but who is not approved by the Department of Home Affairs, that person must first be registered with a University Approved Homestay Provider and provide accommodation through that Approved Homestay Provider.

Part B - Accommodation agreement

(13) Where the parent(s)/guardian has arranged a homestay place with an Approved Homestay Provider, the parent(s)/guardian must enter into a University-approved agreement with the Homestay Provider which sets out the accommodation arrangements to be provided to the student for the duration of the agreement. The agreement must:

  1. begin no later than the commencement date shown on the student's Confirmation of Enrolment; and
  2. remain in place:
    1. for the duration of the student's enrolment plus seven days; or
    2. until the student turns 18 years of age;
whichever occurs sooner.

(14) A copy of the accommodation agreement must be provided to the University before the Confirmation of Enrolment (COE) is issued as the accommodation arrangements must be included in the Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW) letter and are attached to the COE. 

Part C - Welfare arrangement

(15) The University will ensure via its Student Welfare Service that there is appropriate welfare support for international students under 18 years of age staying with Approved Homestay Providers. Parent(s)/guardian will be informed of the arrangements in the International Students Accommodation and Welfare Agreement.

(16) Notwithstanding the support provided by the Student Welfare Service, the University will require Homestay Providers to ensure homestay hosts provide reasonable welfare assistance and advice to the students they host, in accordance with the terms of their agreement with the University.

(17) The University will provide reasonable support to the student in adjusting to study and life in Australia by providing access to an age and culturally appropriate orientation program that aligns with requirements in Standard 6 of the ESOS National Code.

(18) As part of orientation, students will be provided with age and culturally appropriate information on who to contact and how to contact them in emergency situations. This will include specific information on seeking assistance and reporting any incident or allegation involving actual or alleged sexual, physical or other abuse.

Part D - Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW)

(19) When the University receives a copy of a University-approved agreement that a parent(s)/guardian of an international student under 18 years of age has entered into with an Approved Homestay Provider:

  1. International Admissions will issue the Confirmation of Enrolment and a Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW) letter to the applicant's parent(s)/guardian under the authority of the University's Principal Executive Officer;
  2. International Admissions will inform the Team Leader, Student Welfare Service or nominee of the student's accommodation arrangements;
  3. The Team Leader, Student Welfare Service, or nominee, will:
    1. allocate a case manager to the student; and
    2. complete an Under 18 International Student Support Plan and notify the relevant academic unit of the support plan in place for the student.

(20) The timeframe within the CAAW letter will:

  1. be at a minimum, the period of the Confirmation of Enrolment plus seven days or until the student turns 18 years of age, whichever occurs sooner; and
  2. align with the student’s proposed visa providing for a longer period, as nominated by the University, to cover pre-course requirements such as orientation. 

Part E - Conditions of appropriate accommodation and welfare arrangements

(21) A student who is the subject of an appropriate accommodation and welfare arrangement must:

  1. live in the University-approved accommodation for the duration of the CAAW letter or until the letter is cancelled or changed by the University;
  2. act responsibly, including being aware of their responsibilities under Australian law, not participate in illicit activities, and not partake in risk-taking behaviour;
  3. attend scheduled meetings with their case manager;
  4. follow the instructions of their case manager;
  5. obtain their parent(s)/guardian's prior written approval to reside temporarily at a location other than the approved accommodation; and
  6. ensure the contact details of their parent(s)/guardian are known by the University and kept up to date.  

(22) Where the student has their parent(s)/guardian's written approval to reside temporarily at a location other than the Approved Homestay accommodation, the Homestay Provider will inform the student's case manager in advance of the relevant period.

(23) Where the student is the subject of an appropriate accommodation and welfare arrangement, the University must ensure each adult involved in or providing accommodation and welfare arrangements to the student has current working with children clearances (or equivalent) appropriate to the jurisdiction(s) in which the registered provider operates.

(24) The University may cancel any student’s CAAW letter, and therefore the appropriate accommodation and welfare arrangements, of any student who breaches any of the conditions listed in these procedures.

(25) If a student misconduct case is not involved, before cancelling a CAAW letter, the University will provide the student with an opportunity to show cause to their case manager as to why the CAAW letter should not be cancelled and contact their parent(s)/guardian to advise them of the intention to cancel their CAAW letter. The student must provide a case to support their continued enrolment by addressing how the impediment causing the cancellation of their CAAW is unreasonable, unfair and will be resolved. The student’s case manager will provide the Show Cause case with a recommendation to the Pro Vice-Chancellor, International for the decision on whether the cancellation should proceed.

(26) When the University cancels a CAAW letter it will:

  1. notify the student's parent(s)/guardian of the cancellation of the CAAW letter and its possible visa implications as soon as possible;
  2. advise the parent(s)/guardian to contact the Department of Home Affairs as to the impact on the student's visa.

(27) The cancellation of the CAAW in PRISMS constitutes the University's advice to the Department of Home Affairs.

Part F - Changes to accommodation and welfare arrangements

(28) If a student and their parent(s)/guardian wish to put in place accommodation and welfare arrangements that are different from those the University has approved:

  1. the parent(s)/guardian must first consult the Team Leader, Student Welfare Service or nominee with the details of the proposed alternative arrangements and provide evidence that the arrangements will satisfy the requirements of the ESOS National Code for international students under 18 years of age;
  2. where the alternative arrangements will satisfy the requirements of the ESOS National Code and the student will no longer have a homestay place with an Approved Homestay Provider, the Team Leader, Student Welfare Service or nominee will arrange for the cancellation of the CAAW letter; 
  3. where the student is to transfer to another Approved Homestay Provider, the parent(s)/guardian must enter into an agreement with the new Homestay Provider and provide a copy of the agreement to International Admissions who will liaise with the Team Leader, Student Welfare Service or nominee to issue a new CAAW letter.

(29) Issuing the new CAAW letter via PRISMS will constitute advice to the Department of Home Affairs.

Part G - Monitoring accommodation and welfare arrangements

(30) The case manager will monitor the suitability of a student's accommodation and welfare arrangements by:

  1. arranging face to face meetings with the student at least fortnightly for the first two months of the student’s CAAW letter period to discuss any welfare, accommodation or study related matters for which the student may require assistance;
  2. arranging face to face, phone or electronic meetings as determined by the case manager with the student at least fortnightly following the first two months of the students CAAW letter and for the remainder of the CAAW letter duration to discuss any welfare, accommodation or study related matters for which the student may require assistance;
  3. contacting staff of the student’s academic unit where appropriate;
  4. directing the student to access the University's other support services or medical, legal or other services provided outside the University, where necessary; and
  5. maintaining regular contact with the Homestay Provider, at least six monthly, to ensure the accommodation is appropriate, by processes including but not limited to, site visits, student interviews and student surveys.

(31) The relevant academic unit will notify the case manager of any matter they become aware of that affects the student's accommodation or welfare arrangements.

(32) Where a student resides with a suitable relative as approved by the Department of Home Affairs, the University is not obliged to monitor the arrangements, but will contact the Department of Home Affairs if they become aware the student is not being supported appropriately.

(33) The University will report to the Department of Home Affairs that it no longer approves the accommodation and welfare arrangements for a student only once all other attempts to assist the student to maintain appropriate arrangements have been exhausted.

Part H - Changes to enrolment

(34) Where a student in an appropriate accommodation and welfare arrangement approved by the University transfers to another education provider before the end of the date on the CAAW letter:

  1. the parent(s)/guardian will arrange suitable accommodation and welfare support in consultation with the new education provider, and inform the Team Leader, Student Welfare Service or nominee;
  2. the Team Leader, Student Welfare Service or nominee will ensure that the receiving provider has obtained written confirmation that the student’s parent(s)/guardian supports the transfer; that the receiving registered provider has established welfare arrangements for the student and that the Department of Home Affairs is aware of the change in the approving institution for the student's accommodation and welfare arrangements;
  3. the receiving registered provider is to ensure there are no gaps in welfare arrangements;
  4. the Team Leader, Student Welfare Service will cancel the student's CAAW letter if the new arrangements satisfy visa requirements for international students under 18 years of age;
  5. where the University accepts an international student under 18 years of age who has welfare arrangements approved by another registered provider, International Admissions will;
    1. negotiate the transfer date with the releasing registered provider to ensure there is no gap in welfare arrangements;
    2. inform the 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 approve welfare arrangements take effect;
    3. arrange issue of a new CAAW letter covering the transition and for the appropriate period.

(35) Where the University cancels or suspends a student's enrolment, the University will continue to check the suitability of the student's accommodation and welfare arrangements until:

  1. the student is accepted by another registered education provider who will take on responsibility for approving the accommodation and welfare arrangements; or
  2. the student leaves Australia; or
  3. the parent(s)/guardian makes other suitable arrangements; or
  4. the student turns 18 years old; or
  5. events have occurred that make it impossible for the University to continue to check the arrangements for the student.

(36) The student's parent(s)/guardian are to inform both the Approved Homestay Provider and the University's case manager if the student leaves Australia for any period while the CAAW letter is in place.

(37) If the student appeals his/her cancellation or suspension of enrolment by the University, the terms and conditions of the CAAW letter remain in place until such time as all internal and external appeals have been exhausted, unless other suitable arrangements have been made that satisfy the Department of Home Affairs.

Part I - Fees

(38) A student's parent(s)/guardian must pay all fees and charges associated with homestay accommodation, airport transfers, and travel between the homestay accommodation and the University, directly to the contracted Homestay Provider.

Part J - Approval of Homestay Providers

(39) The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor may, following advice from the Pro Vice-Chancellor, International, approve a Homestay Provider on behalf of the University where:

  1. the Provider has entered into a written agreement with the University, in the form approved by the University; 
  2. the Provider has entered into a written agreement with each student's parent(s)/guardian to provide accommodation arrangements while the students are under 18 years of age, in the form approved by the University; and
  3. the University will request the Homestay Provider provide to the University copies of any relevant accreditation requirements, standards or code of conduct.

(40) The Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor will withdraw the approval of a Homestay Provider where continuing with the arrangement is not in the best interests of the University and/or its students, or where the Provider has not complied with their agreement with the University. Before the Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor withdraws such approval, the Principal Executive Officer or delegate will ensure there are appropriate accommodation and welfare arrangements in place for students whose parent(s)/guardians have entered into agreements with the Provider.

(41) The withdrawal of approval of a Homestay Provider will be undertaken in accordance with the criteria and process set out in the written agreement the University has entered into with the Provider.

Part K - Critical incident management

(42) The University will meet the relevant Commonwealth and NSW State legislation and other regulatory requirements relating to child welfare and protection of enrolled students under 18 years of age.

(43) Emergency situations concerning students under 18 years of age will be managed in accordance with University policies including the University Critical Incident Guidelines and University Crisis Management Plan.

(44) If a student goes missing from their approved accommodation or otherwise suffers a critical incident, the University will implement its Crisis Management Procedures and/or Critical Incident Guidelines, which includes notifying the police and other external agencies as appropriate. The CAAW letter will be cancelled within 24 hours and the University will make all reasonable efforts to ensure the overseas student’s parent(s)/guardian are notified immediately if it can no longer take responsibility for the student’s welfare.

(45) If a missing student has not been found after a reasonable period, the University will report the student's breach of visa condition to the Department of Home Affairs.

Part L - Record keeping

(46) The University will maintain accommodation and welfare records relating to international students under 18 years of age in accordance with its Records and Archives Management Policy.

Part M - Privacy

(47) The University's position and procedures in relation to protecting a student's personal and health information are set out in its Privacy Policy and Privacy Management Plan.

Part N - Implementation and Risk Management

(48) The University will identify, manage and monitor its risks in relation to the provision of accommodation and welfare arrangements for international students under 18 years of age in accordance with its Risk Management Policy.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(49) ESOS National Code

(50) Crisis Management Plan

(51) Critical Incident Procedures

(52) Immigration Guidelines - Welfare Arrangements for Students Under 18