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Overseas Secondary Student Exchange Organisations

Updated VRQA Guidelines, Conditions and Application Form for the Approval of Overseas Secondary Student Exchange Organisations

The VRQA Guidelines have been updated to reflect the July 2015 amendments in the National Consultative Committee for International Secondary Student Exchange Organisations (NCCISSE National Guidelines).

The revised VRQA Guidelines take effect from 1 January 2016.

Overseas secondary student exchange programs

A student exchange program is a secondary school program organised by a VRQA approved organisation or school to broaden students’ educational experiences and intercultural understanding.

The overseas secondary student exchange program in Victoria is a state specific program enabling students from another country to study as full-time students in a Victorian secondary school for a period ranging from 29 days up to a maximum of one year. Under reciprocal arrangements, Victorian students undertake full-time study programs in secondary schools overseas.

The VRQA has responsibility for the approval and quality assurance of Student Exchange Organisations (SEOs) under section 4.5A of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006. Only VRQA approved SEOs can provide secondary student exchange programs in Victoria.

On this page

List of student exchange organisations (SEOs)

VRQA approved SEOs (doc - 134.5kb), include registered schools, community organisations and private not-for-profit organisations.

Visa requirements

International exchange students enter Australia on a subclass 500 student visa with a specific exchange student statistical code. The visa is issued through documentation generated by VRQA, (an AASES form) issued only to approved SEOs.

The exchange student is enrolled within the school, studying formal subjects at age appropriate levels. Typically, student exchanges operate at Year 10 level. Official exchange students do not pay school tuition fees, and host families providing accommodation to exchange students do so on a voluntary basis.

Student exchange programs are different from the full-fee paying international students program offered at Victorian schools. They do not include programs where students enter Australia on visitor visas – such as school group study tours, short term visits of students between Victorian and overseas ‘sister-schools’, or private arrangements initiated by parents with relatives or family friends. 

Approval of SEOs

Approved SEOs must meet VRQA guidelines and conditions of approval for both international ‘in-bound’ exchange students and for Victorian students travelling overseas on ‘out-bound’ student exchange programs. All VRQA approved SEOs must maintain an equal balance of the number of in-bound and out-bound exchange students on a student/month basis.

In December 2015 the VRQA Board approved revised VRQA Guidelines, Conditions and Application Form for the Approval of Overseas Secondary Student Exchange Organisations 2015 (doc - 2.84mb).

Registered schools or not-for-profit organisations seeking VRQA approval to provide student exchange programs into and out of Victoria should apply to VRQA using the application form included in the VRQA Guidelines.

Please contact the VRQA if you have any question about the approval process.

Student exchange forms

VRQA approved SEOs should use the following forms when requesting acceptance advice for new in-bound exchange students, advising VRQA of the details of new out-bound students or notifying the VRQA of any changes to an exchange students program: