What’s the difference between CRICOS and NEAS?

What’s the difference between CRICOS and NEAS?


Australian education institutions must be registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) if they intend to deliver ELICOS courses to students on a Student Visa. To do this, they must meet the requirements of:

  • the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act); and
  • the National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018 (National Code).

They must also meet the ELICOS Standards 2018(ELICOS Standards).

Colleges are regulated by an independent body.

  • ASQA, for providers who are also RTOs and some stand-alone ELICOS providers; or
  • TEQSA, for providers with higher education and foundation programs, or direct entry agreements to those.
See our FAQs page for more information about ASQAand TEQSA.
Audit process
There are differences between the audit procedures for ASQA and TEQSA, but a general summary of the process is below.
  1. Prepare and submit an application
    This involves writing curriculum documents for each course, including a detailed syllabus for each level. Some policies and procedures and other evidence also have to be submitted at this point, while others may be looked at during later stages. A key person you will need to recruit at this stage is an Academic Manager (sometimes known as a Director of Studies), with experience in teaching and managing within English Language teaching organisations, ideally ELICOS, plus related postgraduate qualifications.
  2. Desk audit
    The application will be checked at one of the ASQA/TEQSA offices.
  3. Site audit
    If the desk audit is passed, in most cases auditors will visit your premises. Expect at least a day of interviews of key staff, document checks, tours of premises etc. Your Academic Manager will be key to this.
  4. ASQA/TEQSA make a decision
    If the decision is positive, a further process should result in being granted a CRICOS number. You can begin student recruitment once a CRICOS number has been obtained.

For more information about CRICOS, go to https://www.dese.gov.au/esos-framework/registration-cricos


  • Marketing: agents tend to send higher value students to colleges with evidence of better quality, and NEAS membership is part of this. Potential students are likely to have greater confidence in NEAS members than otherwise.
  • Compliance: ASQA tend to give NEAS members a better risk rating, and auditors often have more confidence that the college is compliant and of good quality, due to the regular NEAS checks. This may lead to fewer and smoother audits.
  • Quality: NEAS provides helpful feedback which can be used to improve operations. Also, many of the better teachers prefer to work at NEAS member colleges as it’s better for their career and CV.