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TEQSA code change mandate return to in-person attendance for international students

In-person attendance for International students to become mandatory in 2023

Australia’s Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) has announced that all international students, with some exceptions, will be required to return to in-person attendance by 30 June 2023. 

The changes apply to all international students who hold an Australian student visa, including the higher education, vocational and schools sector. 

The measure follows the agency’s expectations for a “gradual return of international students to study in Australia”. 

“TEQSA now expects that all providers will transition to compliance with the ESOS National Code by 30 June 2023, where it is safe and practical to do so,” TEQSA says in a statement. 

This suggests that exceptions will be made for some special circumstances such as where a nation’s COVID-19 restrictions means that students cannot safely attend in-person. 

However, it is unclear whether other circumstances, such as immunocompromised status and disabilities constitute circumstances where students can attend university through distance learning.  

TEQSA also acknowledges that some institutions will face more obstacles in being able to get all international students to return to in-person attendance in time for the changes. 

“TEQSA expects that providers will actively adjust modes of delivery and student support services to comply with the National Code.

TEQSA understands that for some providers, a return to compliance by 30 June 2023 will pose challenges,” the statement read.

The update coincides with recent changes announced by the Department of Home Affairs last month that international students’ working hour limits will return to 40 hours per fortnight on 30 June 2023, ending unlimited working hour arrangements put in place since February this year by the Morrison government.