ASQA vs NEAS – Who are they?

 What is the role of ASQA?

Colleges that only provide ELICOS courses or that only have VET in addition to ELICOS need to apply to ASQA (a federal government agency) to gain permission to run ELICOS courses for overseas students. This also involves registration on CRICOS: this registration is required for any institution or course that will allow students to study on a student visa. A summary of the process is:

  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 the site audit.
  2. Site audit. ASQA will send out personnel who are familiar with ELICOS. Expect at least a day of interviews of key staff, document checks, tours of premises etc
  3. ASQA make a decision. If the decision is positive, a further process should result in being registered on CRICOS and being granted a CRICOS number.
  4. Student recruitment can begin once a CRICOS number has been obtained.

Importantly, be aware that the audit process is a check that you are ready to operate. In other words, the auditors need to see that you have everything you need to run your courses – lease on premises, fitout, furniture, books, computers, management personnel, policies, procedures and CVs of teachers and so on all need to be in place at this point, before approval can be given and before students can be recruited.

For ELICOS applications, ASQA will audit against the ELICOS National Standards as well as CRICOS requirements including the ESOS Act and National Code.


What is the role of NEAS?

NEAS is an industry body set up in the wake of upsets in the industry around twenty five years ago. It provides quality assurance. For many years, the vast majority of ELICOS colleges had to obtain and maintain NEAS accreditation. However, more recently, ASQA has been given an official role of registering ELICOS colleges. NEAS has replaced its accreditation process with a new quality assurance scheme. By the time this is fully implemented, most ELICOS colleges will be a part of it. Agents are familiar with the idea that colleges have NEAS accreditation, and NEAS is actively encouraging agents to consider their quality assurance mark positively when deciding where to send students. Thus, NEAS quality assurance is likely to be useful for most ELICOS colleges.


Our role

If you have any questions about the above, please feel free to contact us on 0403 791 238 (David) or

We can also help you prepare an application for NEAS Quality Assurance and/or for CRICOS.