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Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Amendment (Streamlining Regulation) Bill 2015

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2013-2014-2015

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Education Services for Overseas Students (REGISTRATION CHARGES) Amendment (streamlining REGULATION)

Bill 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Education and Training,

the Honourable Christopher Pyne MP)



Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Amendment (Streamlining Regulation) Bill 2015

 

OUTLINE

 

The purpose of the Bill is to make minor changes to the Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Act 1997 (Registration Charges Act) that are consequent on changes to be made to the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) by the Education Services for Overseas Students Amendment (Streamlining Regulation) Bill 2015 (Streamlining Regulation Bill).

 

The Streamlining Regulation Bill amends the ESOS Act to (amongst other things) remove the minimum two-year period of registration for a provider under that Act.

 

The amendments in the Bill will ensure that an education provider registered under the ESOS Act pays all entry to market charges but is not charged more than once if its registration period is less than two years and it seeks renewal.

 



FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

 

There is no financial impact concerned with this Bill.

 

REGULATION IMPACT STATEMENT

 

 

The Office of Best Practice Regulation has advised that a Regulation Impact Statement is not required for this Bill (OBPR ID 19583).



 

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

Education Services for Overseas Students (REGISTRATION CHARGES) Amendment (STREAMLINING REGULATION) Bill 2015

 

 

This Bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

 

Overview of the Bill

 

The purpose of the Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Amendment (Streamlining Regulation) Bill 2015 (Registration Charges Bill) is to make minor changes to the Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Act 1997 (Registration Charges Act) that are consequent on changes to be made to the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act) by the Education Services for Overseas Students Amendment (Streamlining Regulation) Bill 2015 (Streamlining Regulation Bill).

 

The Streamlining Regulation Bill amends the ESOS Act to (amongst other things) remove the minimum two-year period of registration for a provider registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). The Registration Charges Bill will ensure that an education provider registered under the ESOS Act pays all entry to market charges but is not charged more than once if its registration period is less than two years and it seeks renewal.

 

Human Rights Implications

 

Right to education

 

This Bill engages the right to education, contained in Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. In particular, this Bill has an effect on the provision of education services to international students by bodies corporate registered on CRICOS.

 

Articles 13(3) and (4) state that countries are obliged to establish “minimum educational standards” to which all education institutions established are required to conform. They must also maintain a transparent and effective system to monitor such standards. This Bill promotes these rights through the various measures in the associated Streamlining Regulation Bill, which will improve the regulation of institutional quality and enforcement of appropriate standards. This Bill will ensure institutions are charged appropriately where costs are recovered for certain activities to register them on CRICOS and monitor their compliance with the ESOS Act and associated legislative instruments.

 

Conclusion

 

This Bill is compatible with human rights because it promotes the right to education.



Education Services for Overseas Students (REGISTRATION CHARGES) AMENDMENT (STREAMLINING REGULATION) bill 2015

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 - Short title

 

Clause 1 provides for the Act to be cited as the Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Amendment (Streamlining Regulation) Act 2015 .

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

Subclause 2(1) inserts a three column table setting out commencement information for various provisions in the Bill. Each provision of the Bill specified in column 1 of the table commences (or is taken to have commenced) in accordance with column 2 of the table and any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.

 

Sections 1 to 3 and anything else in the Act not otherwise covered by the table commence on the day the Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

Schedule 1 commences at the same time that Schedule 1 to the Education Services for Overseas Students Amendment (Streamlining Regulation) Act 2015 commences (i.e. 1 July 2016).

 

Any information in column three of the table is not part of the Act (sub­clause 2(2)).

 

A note explains that the commencement times in the table will not be amended should the provisions of this Act be amended by any future Act.

 

Clause 3 - Schedules

 

Clause 3 provides that any legislation that is specified in a Schedule is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule and that any other item in a Schedule has effect according to its terms.



 

 

List of abbreviations

 

ESOS Act

Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000

Streamlining Regulation Bill

Education Services for Overseas Students Amendment (Streamlining Regulation) Bill 2015

Registration Charges Act

Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Act 1997

Registration Charges Regulations

Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Regulations 2011

 



 

 

Schedule 1

Entry to market charges

 

Summary

 

The Registration Charges Act requires certain registered providers to pay an entry to market charge when they are first registered to provide a course at a location under the ESOS Act, and at the start of each of the subsequent two years of their registration. The entry to market charges replace a previous initial registration charge, and have applied since 1 January 2012.

 

The entry to market charges are generally payable by providers seeking their first registration, and by providers whose registration has been cancelled or, in some cases, expired and who are seeking to be registered under the ESOS Act again.

 

Providers seeking new registration under the ESOS Act are liable to pay three entry to market charges, which are as follows for 2015:

 

  • $7,998 at the time the provider first becomes registered;
  • $5,332 on the first anniversary of the day on which the provider was registered; and
  • $2,666 on the second anniversary of the day on which the provider was registered.

 

Currently, under the Registration Charges Regulations, government schools, state or territory VET institutions, and Table A providers (as defined in the Higher Education Support Act 2003 - essentially public universities) are exempt from the requirement to pay entry to market charges.

 

The Streamlining Regulation Bill amends the ESOS Act to (amongst other things) remove the minimum two-year period of registration for a provider. As a consequence of that change, this Bill clarifies the application of the entry to market charges to ensure that an education provider registered under the ESOS Act pays all entry to market charges but is not charged more than once if its registration period is less than two years and it seeks renewal of that registration.

 

The Bill provides that the first entry to market charge will be due for payment before the provider is registered to provide the course. If the provider is still registered on the first anniversary of the provider’s registration, the second entry to market charge will be payable on that day. Similarly, if the provider is still registered on the second anniversary of the provider’s registration, the third entry to market charge will be payable on that day. The Bill specifies the amount of the entry to market charges and contains arrangements for the indexation of these amounts on an annual basis. The amounts of the entry to market charges, the indexation arrangements for those amounts, and the due dates for the payment of entry to market charges, are unchanged from the current Registration Charges Act.

 

Detailed explanation

 

Education Services for Overseas Students (Registration Charges) Act 1997

 

Item 1

 

This item substitutes section 6 of the Registration Charges Act.

 

New subsection 6(1) provides that a provider is liable to pay three entry to market charges in accordance with section 6 if all of the following apply:

 

  • the provider makes an application under the ESOS Act to become registered to provide a course or courses at a location or locations to overseas students;
  • the provider meets the ESOS Act registration requirements (other than the registration requirement set out in subparagraph 11(g)(i) of the ESOS Act, which itself relates to payment of the entry to market charge);
  • at the time the provider meets those requirements, the provider is not registered under the ESOS Act to provide any courses at any locations; and
  • the provider is not in a class of providers that are exempt from the entry to market charges requirements under the Registration Charges Regulations.

 

Entry to market charges are as follows:

 

  • the first entry to market charge is $7998 - payable before a provider can be registered to provide a course at a location (new subsections 6(2) and (3));
  • the second entry to market charge is $5332 - if the provider is still registered to provide the course or courses at a location or locations on the first anniversary day, payable at the end of that day (new subsections 6(4) and (5)); and
  • the third entry to market charge is $2666 - if the provider is still registered to provide the course or courses at a location or locations on the second anniversary day, payable at the end of that day (new subsections 6(6) and (7)).

 

The amounts of the entry to market charges set out in the new section 6 are the amounts in 2015. These amounts are indexed every year under section 7 of the Registration Charges Act.

 

New subsection 6(8) provides that, if the provider’s first registration is renewed, continued or extended under the ESOS Act for a period of time and the first anniversary day or second anniversary day falls within that period of time - then the provider is taken, for section 6 purposes, to be still registered to provide the course at the location on that day.

 

Under new subsection 6(9), the Registration Charges Regulations can prescribe that certain classes of providers are exempt from the requirement to pay the entry to market charges imposed by section 8.  Note that item 5 of the Bill saves the existing Registration Charges Regulations, which are made for the current subsection 6(4) of the Registration Charges Act.

 

New subsection 6(10) defines the following for the purposes of section 6:

 

·          “first anniversary day” means the first anniversary of the day when the provider’s period of registration started; and

·          “second anniversary day” means the second anniversary of the day when the provider’s period of registration started.

 

Items 2 and 3

 

Section 7 of the Registration Charges Act provides for the indexation of annual registration charges and entry to market charges. This indexation occurs every year “after the initial year” (subsections 7(1) and (1A)).

 

Item 3 substitutes subsection 7(6), which defines “initial year” for the purposes of section 7. Under the new definition, “initial year” for the purposes of section 7 means:

 

  • for the annual registration charge - the first calendar year in which dollar amounts that are specified in subsection 5(2) are imposed under section 8; or
  • for an entry to market charge - 2015.

 

The setting of 2015 as the initial year for the entry to market charge means that indexation of the amounts of entry to market charges (set out in new subsections 6(2), (4) and (6)) will start from 2016. When the Bill commences on 1 July 2016, the amounts set out in new subsections 6(2), (4) and (6) will be immediately indexed under section 7 as amended, giving new amounts for 2016.

 

Item 2 makes consequential amendments to the indexation formula in subsection 7(2) to remove the reference to column 1 of the table in subsection 6(2) (as section 6 is being substituted) and, instead, inserting references to new subsections 6(2), (4) or (6).

 



 

Item 4

 

Item 4 is a transitional provision that makes it clear that a provider that is liable to pay entry to market charges immediately before commencement of the Bill continues to be liable to pay those charges after commencement, in accordance with the Registration Charges Act as amended by the Bill.  As the Bill will not change either the amounts or timing for payment of entry to market charges, this will have no adverse effect on liable providers.

 

Item 5

 

Item 5 is a saving provision that ensures that regulations made for the purposes of subsection 6(4) of the Registration Charges Act before commencement of this item continue to have effect after commencement as if they were regulations made for subsection 6(9) of the Act. In short, the regulations that currently specify the classes of provider that are exempt from having to pay entry to market charges will continue to exempt those providers after commencement of the Bill, notwithstanding the repeal and replacement of section 6 of the Act.