Summary publication

International Students’ Human Rights: a review of the Principles and the issues



Table of Contents


1 Introduction

In 2012 the Australian Human Rights Commission launched its publication, Principles to promote and protect the human rights of International Students (the Principles).[1] In 2014, the Commission reviewed the implementation of the Principles, in order to assess their utility and uptake.[2] This report summarises the Commission’s review of the Principles.

2 Actions

The following actions have been developed in response to this review, and having regard to the role and function and resources of the Commission.


Action 1

The Commission will pursue opportunities to speak to international students and distribute materials to inform international students about their rights under Federal anti-discrimination legislation and the Commission’s complaints process.

Action 2

The Commission will seek feedback on the draft Community Guide to the Racial Discrimination Act from key international student stakeholders such as CISA, the Australian Federation of International Students and the Overseas Students Ombudsman, and will ensure that the final Community Guide to the RDA is circulated to international students through key stakeholders and relevant forums and events.

Action 3

The Commission will continue to promote the Principles at relevant forums such as inquiries, roundtables and meetings.

Action 4

The Commission will consider the issues noted in this review in reporting to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). Given that some of the issues such as access to health services are likely to fall outside the scope of the RDA, the CERD reporting process is an appropriate avenue for elevating these concerns.

Action 5

The Commission will ensure that issues relating to discrimination experienced by international students in employment, accommodation and health inform its future work.

3 Background to the Principles

The Principles were developed to address the human rights concerns of international students living in Australia. The development of the Principles began in 2009, following a number of incidents of racist violence directed at international students. Since that time, there have been ongoing consultations with international students, their representative bodies and advocates, service providers working closely with international students such as social support, safety and education services and government agencies.

The human rights-based Principles aim to be an ongoing resource for this sector to be used:

  • as a guide for all organisations and government agencies that provide services to international students
  • to inform the ongoing development of policies and services relating to international students, and
  • to provide international students and their representative bodies with a guide on how their human rights can be better promoted and protected, and to support their advocacy with governments, service providers and other agencies.


4 Launch, circulation and promotion of the Principles

The Principles were launched on 4 October 2012 at a panel session at the Australian International Education Conference, chaired by Dr Eva Egron-Polak, Secretary General, International Association of Universities, UNESCO Paris. Panel members included:

  • Mr Aleem Nizari, President, Council of International Students Australia
  • Professor Dean Forbes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (International and Communities), Flinders University
  • Mr Gurdeep Singh Dhillon, CEO Australian Institute of Technical Training and Board Member of the Australian Council for Private Education and Training.

Following the launch, the Principles were circulated widely to a broad range of stakeholders listed at Appendix A. These included:

  • federal, state and territory education ministers and shadow federal education minister
  • federal, state and territory Departments of Education and the International Education Advisory Council
  • the Australian Federal Police and state and territory police
  • capital city local governments
  • educational institutions including IEAA, Universities Australia, English Australia, TAFE Directors Australia, Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET), Independent Schools Council of Australia
  • relevant government complaints bodies such as the Overseas Students Ombudsman, Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and the Tuition Protection Service (TPS)
  • relevant academics
  • international student representative bodies
  • key international student support services.

The distribution strategy of the Principles included designing and distributing postcards to international student events to promote awareness of rights under discrimination law and the Commission’s complaint handling functions. There was considerable interest from the Melbourne City Council and Study Brisbane in relation to these postcards.

The Principles were posted on the Commission’s website, together with translated summaries in Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese Traditional, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Malay, Nepali, Thai and Vietnamese.

5 Review of the impact of the Principles

The Commission reviewed the number of visits to the Commission’s webpage in relation to the Principles and downloads of the Principles and the translated summaries.
Overall, there were on average around 160 visits to the relevant webpage each month. The PDF versions of the Principles and translated summaries were downloaded more than the Word versions. The Chinese and Arabic summaries were the most downloaded translated summaries.

For the six months from the launch date of 4 October 2012 to March 2013 there were 3 682 visits to the webpage, 2 236 of these in October 2012).[3] From April 2013 the Commission transitioned to a new website and more detailed data is available showing downloads of material from the webpage:

April 2013 - February 2014

Visits to Webpage
April 2013
May 2013
August 2013
September 2013
October 2013
November 2013
December 2013
January 2014
February 2014



Translated summaries
Brazilian Portuguese
Chinese Traditional
Translated summaries downloaded from webpage from April 10 2013 to February 2014


The uptake of the Principles by other organisations was as follows:

  • The Principles were noted, summarised and/or linked to a number of websites and documents such as Australian Policy Online[4], the WA Department of Education Services[5], La Trobe Student Union International Students Association ISA website[6], the City of Moreland’s website[7], the My Student Guide[8], the SA Government’s Study Adelaide[9], ISANA: International Education Association [10], International Association of Universities[11], the Good practice for safeguarding student learning engagement in higher education institutions’ project’s social justice principles[12], the International Education Advisory Council’s advice ‘Educating Globally'[13] Queensland University of Technology’s “Good practice for safeguarding student learning”[14], UK’s Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education’s Quality Update International bulletin[15] and the LLM Roadmap (US)[16]
  • The Principles were the subject of supportive news items and media release - examples include an ACPET news item[17] and an Australian Multicultural Council media release[18]
  • The Principles were noted as being supported by particular organisations, for example the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health’s ‘International Student Access to Pregnancy-related Care Position Paper’[19]
  • The Principles were adopted by an organisation – the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA)[20] which is also a Racism. It Stops With Me supporter
  • The Principles were used as a benchmark for good practices or services. For example, the Victorian Department of State Development Business and Innovation State Government of Victoria’s International Education Strategy for Victoria - 2013-2018 notes that Victorian student care services align with the Principles[21].

These references suggest the Principles have been of value as they have been promoted widely by organisations working with international students.

6 Telephone survey of key stakeholders

Semi-structured telephone and in-person interviews[22] were conducted among 11 organisations:

  • Council of International Students Australia (CISA)
  • Australian Federation of International Students (AFIS)
  • Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA)
  • City of Melbourne
  • International Student and Youth Project, City of Melbourne
  • The Couch, Salvation Army
  • Multicultural Employment Area, Monash University
  • ISANA: International Education Association
  • Overseas Student Ombudsman
  • Fair Work Australia
  • Redfern Legal Centre.

The Commission had consulted with all of these organisations in varying degrees in the development of the Principles.[23].
Responses to questions specifically about the Principles revealed they were useful, comprehensive, covered the relevant areas and provide a needed benchmark. The majority of respondents used the Principles in the last year.[24]

The broad consensus was that the Principles are useful, were comprehensive, cover the relevant areas and provide a needed benchmark.

A number of the issues were still relevant by respondents, particularly:

  • discrimination in employment
  • lack of trust in government or lack of comfort approaching government
  • the need to improve on the number of people knowing about the Principles, including students
  • the concern that the Principles are too broad, which may affect their utility in advocacy
  • the language used in the Principles could be less complex as it may be too difficult for some international students to understand
  • the Principles do not mandate any action and have no legal requirements so they cannot compel action
  • the Commission to promote rights more.

There was unanimous agreement by respondents that the issues outlined in the Principles have not been adequately addressed and are ongoing.

It was noted that the Principles are a first in the world in terms of articulating the human rights of international students.

One respondent mentioned there was a need to do more work and have more ongoing consultation about how to put the Principles into practice, particularly given the Principles are not enforceable. Another spoke of better promotion of the Principles, including police and health services.

Some of the issues noted as still being relevant include:

  • employment, including finding work, discrimination based on citizenship or permanent residence, fair treatment in the workplace, awareness of rights and obligations in the workplace, discriminatory practice occurring in bad economic climates, situations where employers from particular ethnic backgrounds employ only students from that ethnic background and do not pay for overtime or trials, and threaten employees if they make complaints
  • accommodation, such as being unsafe for example
  • transport concessions
  • health, including concern of pregnant international students returning to their home countries to give birth when the necessary health services are not included in their healthcare coverage
  • ongoing education campaign for international students about their rights
  • issue of governments viewing international students as economically beneficial, but with little investment into their support and care, the latter of which seems to be diminishing at a rapid rate. For example, a Melbourne legal advice centre that previously provided legal support to international students – the Western Suburbs Legal Clinic – ceased to operate 12 months ago.
  • the participation of international students in the broader community.

1.1 Lodging complaints

A vast majority of respondents agreed that international students do not readily lodge complaints. This is in light of students experiencing a range of discrimination, harassment and bullying including sexual harassment and racism, and particularly in the workplace. One respondent from an international student representative body noted that while he had seen about 50 to 60 work exploitation cases, only one student actually lodged a complaint with the Overseas Students Ombudsman.

Reasons for this general sense of apprehension include:

  • belief that they shouldn’t cause problems and should just ‘bite your tongue and put up with it’, sometimes because of cultural reasons (64% of respondents)
  • fear of repercussions about their visas (confidentiality of complaints) (45%)
  • lack of awareness about complaints handling bodies and what they do (including cost of lodging a complaint) (36%)
  • fear of whether the university will inform other agencies and whether they will be blacklisted (confidentiality of complaints) (27%)
  • lack of awareness about what outcome may result (27%)
  • lack of awareness about rights generally (18%)
  • lack of support to make a complaint, which makes the process appearing more daunting (18%)
  • lack of trust (fear) in those handling complaints (18%)
  • belief it is better to have a job and be underpaid than to question the practices (18%)
  • confusion about what a complaint is (9%)
  • fear of taxation issues that may flow from making a complaint (9%).

It was identified that international students need to have greater awareness of their rights and complaints processes, in order for them to be more likely to lodge complaints with the Commission.

A significant consideration is that culturally, many international students do not lodge complaints. This can be because they do not have similar mechanisms in their home countries. Also, the short amount of time some international students spend in Australia can be a factor. As a result of their reluctance, many international students put up with the discrimination, or wait until they move jobs before they lodge a complaint.

Respondents from the Overseas Student Ombudsman noted that this is a reason why it is the Ombudsman’s role to ensure that international students know about complaints handling processes and that they are given assurances that there are no negative consequences if they make a complaint.

Further suggestions on how international students could be encouraged to lodge complaints were:

  • to ensure information is circulated at orientation sessions, as well as at international student events, stalls and forums
  • to ensure international students are informed about the roles of the various complaints handling bodies such as the Commission and the Fair Work Ombudsman
  • to promote ways that international students can be supported through the complaints process
  • to emphasise the benefits of making a complaint
  • to emphasise that making a complaint will not have a negative effect on international students’ visas
  • to target information at various levels, from individual students to student representative bodies, remembering that students themselves are the best ambassadors of information
  • to provide information on social media, the way most international students communicate and receive information. Incorporate information in overseas briefings that happen in home countries
  • to challenge the idea that international students are cashed up and are of economic benefit only.

There were some suggestions of good practice in encouraging international students to lodge complaints. These suggestions ranged from ensuring targeted support to international students, reiterating how information is provided and working collaboratively. Some examples included:

  • having dedicated staff to provide information and support to international students in educational institutions. Once a good relationship is established, this greatly assists the information flow both ways. The staff needs to be different from the education staff, as students are reluctant to complain to lecturers or tutors because of concerns like getting a bad mark, or because of perceptions that they are causing problems by complaining. Having a student ombudsman such as in the University of South Australia is a good example of this.
  • noting the effectiveness of organisations such as Australian Federation of International Students (AFIS) and the Salvation Army’s the Couch service. AFIS, for example, has had great relationships with about 9 000 students coming for help or information in a two-year period.
    • circulating information through social media such as YouTube
    • providing information through student events such as the CISA conference
    • ensuring students, student representative bodies and complaints handling bodies work collaboratively where possible.

1.2 Current human rights issues facing international students

The top three human rights issues facing international students identified by respondents were employment, accommodation, racism and racial discrimination. Respondents made the following comments in relation to these matters:

  • Employment was noted as being key to supporting international students while they live in Australia, as well as providing for their family back home. Respondents noted that education agents promoting study overseas often state that there are lots of jobs available in Australia. Once they arrive, many international students struggle to find employment. Sometimes this is because employers specifically state employment is for Australian citizens or permanent residents only. Some international students have problems getting past the screening process for a job, possibly due to foreign sounding names. As a result, some try to adopt Western sounding names to get a job interview. Exploitation in employment was also noted by respondents, as occurring in a number of ways including underpayment, no payment for trials, work hours, and pregnancy rights.
  • Accommodation. Respondents noted that issues relating to accommodation were lack of safety, affordability, overcrowding, lack of proper tenancy, living in accommodation where there are drugs in the property, living in poor conditions such as not being able to cook, lock doors or use proper toilet. A major challenge in securing accommodation is that international students, being new to Australia, are not able to provide local references.
  • Racism and racial discrimination. This was noted as a ‘very challenging society problem in Australia and for international students’. One respondent noted that race-related complaints came predominantly from students of Indian, Sri Lankan and Nepalese backgrounds. It was noted that racism was not always the sole or dominant reason for complaints or incidents, but mostly played some part. The coverage in the mainstream press of international students taking local jobs, accommodation and overcrowding the cities was identified as ostracising this group from the larger community and leading to social isolation.
  • Health. One respondent noted the issue of pregnant international students not being able to access hospital services, with reasons cited as being a lack of beds. This resulted in some going to private hospitals or giving birth in cars. It is unknown whether the respondent noted this as being a current issue, or recalling it from a couple of years ago. East coast hospitals report that international students cost a lot, which is questionable given their insurance companies cover the cost. There are continual higher premiums charged, driven mostly from Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, but came at the cost of all international students.
  • Travel costs. This appears to still be a significant issue. Discounted fares for international students on public transport are available in almost all states and territories (except Victoria which is to introduce a new system of discounted tickets in 2015), but discounts are not viewed the same as student concessions that are equal to those given to local students. Also, discounts only apply to certain tickets such as MyMulti2 and 3 or annual tickets, which is not useful for students who come for three months to study a language course for example. The cost of transport affects the safety of international students, given the choices they may make about the times they travel and how they travel due to high costs.
  • Finance. Despite a number of media reports about international students being very wealthy, respondents noted that a number of students live below the poverty line and sometimes struggle to have enough money for food and other necessities, in part due to the high cost of living in Australia.
  • Social integration and isolation. It was acknowledged that it is difficult to identify the reasons why some international students struggle to interact and engage with the broader communities. Reasons may include cultural or language issues, or perceptions that they are ‘invading a particular area’, but nonetheless, this is a significant issue for many international students.

One respondent noted that international students experience information overload during their time in Australia, and there is a need to ensure that they are aware of the important information in a meaningful and lasting way.

1.3 Role of the Commission

Respondents were asked what they thought the role of the Commission might be in addressing these issues:

  • Increase awareness of Commission’s services, including complaints processes among international students. It is noted that individual representatives within international student organisations turn over regularly, due to the transitional nature of international students. Suggested processes included through face-to-face interactions, a social media campaign, pamphlets, postcards and education resources. It was also suggested that the success stories arising from the complaints process need to be heard by international students.
  • Raise the profile of the Principles and articulate them into more practical engagement and solutions with the relevant stakeholders.
  • Assist in challenging the stereotypes of international students that are detrimental such as the images that they are cashed up, stealing jobs, taking over some areas, and contribute to society in more ways other than strengthening the economy.
  • Facilitate stakeholder engagement, through regular roundtable discussions for example, with organisations that have direct linkages to international students such as tertiary education institutions, peak bodies, student groups, companies and employers, community groups, and in conjunction with CISA for example. .
  • Ensure compliance with the Principles through the development and monitoring of performance indicators. .This would help to identify for example, the support or lack of support that educational institutions provide to international students.
  • Amend the Principles to be more accessible to international students. Terms like ‘human rights’ and ‘principles’ for example are big words for international students.
  • Elevate importance of Principles to people overseas such as education agents who are promoting study in Australia, so that the Principles can reach those about to arrive. Share data relating to international students and identify research needs. This suggestion came from a government agency.
  • Develop a publication outlining how international students can expect to be treated, and what to do when their rights are threatened or violated.
  • Encourage industry to showcase their work and outline industry standards.
  • Promote and assist with research into problem issues.


Appendix A – List of Recipients


  • Colin Walters (Cth Dep of Innovation) (Head)
  • Stephen Trengove-Jones (Cth Dep of Innovation)
  • Greg Gallaugher (Cth Dep of Innovation)
  • Luke Sheehy (Cth Minister Evan's office) (advisor)
  • Andrew Jakubowizc (UTS)
  • Dennis Murray (IEAA)
  • Simon Marginson (Uni of Melb)
  • Phil Honeywood (IEAA)
  • Devaki Monani (UTS)
  • Karen Toohey (A/g Commissioner, VEOHRC)
  • Ainslee Moore (Universities Australia)
  • Chris Nyland (Monash Uni)
  • Peter Holden (Tafe Directors Australia)
  • Fazal Rizvi (Uni of Melb)
  • Justine Jones (Overseas Student Ombudsman)
  • Anne-Marree Harrison (Cth Ombudsman)
  • Helen Forbes-Mewett (La Trobe uni)
  • Kevin Dunn (UWS)
  • Trevor Carter (Vic Police)
  • Jess Berenyi (Fair Work Australia)
  • Melanie Drayton (Office of the Information Commissioner)
  • Angelene Falk (Office of the Information Commissioner)
  • Tim De Sousa (Office of the Information Commissioner)
  • International officer (NUS)
  • International officer (CAPA)
  • President (NUS)
  • President (CAPA)
  • CISA Executive (CISA)
  • Danielle Hartridge (ISANA)
  • Catherine Nguyen (IS)
  • Wesa Chau (President, AFIS)
  • President (CISA)
  • Director (Multicultural Centre for Women's Health)
  • Melba Marginson (Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women's Coalition)
  • Sharon Smith (City of Melbourne)
  • J Ruth (Graduate Student Association, Uni of Melb)
  • Alexandra Prentice (Victorian Multicultural Commission)
  • N Butera (Centre for Multicultural Youth)
  • Victoria (FECCA)
  • V Mishra (Graduate Student Association, Uni of Melb)
  • Jon White (ANZPAA)
  • M Duncan (Worldcare)
  • Aristotle (Visa Lawyers)
  • Joanna (Redfern Legal Centre)
  • Jacqui (Redfern Legal Centre)
  • Ezekial (NSW Police)
  • International students
  • John Hale (Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board )
  • D Ritchie (Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
  • Gavin Dengate (NSW Police)
  • Hurriyet Babacan (James Cook Uni)
  • Bob (International House)
  • Senator Evans (Minister for Tertiary Education)
  • The Hon Peter Collier MLC (WA Minister for Education)
  • Dr Chris Bourke MLA (ACT Minister for Education)
  • The Hon Martin Dixon MP (Vic Minister for Education)
  • The Hon Robyn Lambley MLA (NT Minister for Education)
  • The Hon John-Paul Langbroek MP (Qld Min for Education)
  • The Hon Nick McKim MP (Tas Min for Education)
  • The Hon Adrian Piccoli MP (NSW Min for Education)
  • The Hon Grace Portolesi MP (SA Min for Education)
  • Mayor Felicity-Ann Lewis  (ALGA)
  • Professor Glyn Davis AC  (Chair, Universities Australia)
  • Mr Chris Wallis (Chair, English Australia)
  • Ms Claire Field  (CEO, Australian Council for Private Education and Training)(ACPET)
  • Mr Stephen Conway (Chair, Tafe Directors Australia)
  • Mr John Ralston OAM (Chairman, Independent Schools Council of Australia)
  • Mr Don Owers (Chair, Council of Private Higher Education Inc. )
  • Mr Phil Honeywood (ED, IEAA)
  • Professor William Purcell (Chair, Universities Australia Deputy Vice Chancellors (International) Committee)
  • Ms Barbara Green (President, University Colleges Australia)
  • Lord Mayor Graeme Sawyer, Darwin City Council
  • The Hon Graham Quirk, Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Brisbane City Council
  • Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP (City of Sydney)
  • Mr Phillip Perram (ACT Department of Territory & Municipal Services)
  • The Right Honorable Robert Doyle (City of Melbourne)
  • Lord Mayor Damon Thomas (Hobart City Council)
  • Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood (Adelaide City Council)
  • The Right Honourable Lisa Scaffidi (City of Perth)
  • Commissioner Tony Negus APM, AFP
  • Commissioner Andrew Scipione APM (NSW Police)
  • Commissioner John McRoberts APM (NT Police)
  • Commissioner Robert Atkinson APM (Qld Police)
  • Commissioner Malcolm Hyde AO APM (SA Police)
  • Chief Commissioner Ken Lay APM (Vic Police)
  • Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan (WA Police)
  • Commissioner Darren Hine APM (Tas Police)
  • Ms Maurene Horder (CEO Migration Institute of Australia)
  • Mr George Masri (Acting Deputy Ombudsman, Overseas Student Ombudsman)
  • The Hon Christopher Pyne MP (Shadow Minister for Education)
  • Dr Carol Nicoll , Chief Commissioner TESQA
  • Mr Vipan Mahajan, Director, Tuition Protection Service
  • Mr Chris Robinson , Chief Commissioner, ASQA
  • Mr Michael Chaney AO, Chair, International Education Advisory Council
  • Dr Carla Tromans
  • Dr Erik Lithander, Pro Vice Chancellor (International and Outreach), ANU
  • Your Excellency, Biren Nanda, High Commissioner for India
  • YouR Excellency, Ayo Olukanni, High Commissioner Nigeria
  • Lavern, South Africa
  • Jonathan Granger, Granger Australia
  • Ms Janelle Kyd, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Swinburne University
  • Brendan Nottle, international student safety couch, Salvation Army
  • Darryl Annett, International students safety couch, Salvos
  • Melanie Lynch, Griffith University, Queensland


Appendix B - Questionnaire

Introduction script

Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed as part of our review of the Commission’s international students work. We are conducting this internal review just over one year after our release of the Principles, which were launched in October last year. We hope to assess how useful they have been to you and to discuss your views on any current issues that international students are experiencing. These issues may be issues identified in the Principles, or they may be new or emerging.

Data from these interviews will not be linked to identifiable individuals but the results from this review will be used to inform the work of the Race Discrimination Commissioner, and the Commission generally.

Introductory questions

  1. Firstly can you tell me how you found out about the Principles?


  • I was involved in the development of the Principles
  • I was sent the Principles by the Commission
  • I found out about the Principles through someone else
  • I found the Principles through the Commission’s website or social media
  • Unsure.
  1. We would like to get a sense of how the Principles are used (if at all) by some of the stakeholders. Can you tell me if you have used the Principles in the past year. For example as a personal reference tool or in training staff?

Other prompts:

  • in policy development
  • in service development
  • in awareness-raising
  • in training
  • in advocacy
  • as a reference (eg as an information resource)
  • other
  • I haven’t.
  1. We would like to know what (if anything) has been less useful about the Principles. So is there anything about the Principles that has not been useful for you?


  • for example issues have changed
  • it has been hard to use them in my work
  • it’s length (too short, long)
  • it’s level of detail (too much, not enough)
  • other.

Making complaints

One of the aims of the Principles is to promote complaints handling processes to international students, particularly with respect to the discrimination issues such as racial or sex discrimination. This is reflected in Principle 2 of the Principles, which is to ensure “all international students have access to human rights and freedom from discrimination protections”. These next questions explore anecdotal evidence that suggests international students do not readily lodge complaints.

  1. In your experience, do you agree that international students do not lodge discrimination complaints?
  1. (If yes) Why do you do think this is the case?
  2. (If yes) How do you think this could be changed?
  1. Do you have any examples of good practice in supporting international students to lodge complaints, which may improve international students’ awareness and use of the discrimination complaints process?

Current and ongoing human rights-based issues

The Principles cover a range of human rights issues identified by international students and people working with them. Some of these issues include:

  • barriers to accessing health services, housing and employment
  • addressing violence and discrimination
  • working towards better data collection and research about international students and their experiences
  • empowering international students to better participate in Australia.
  1. Do you think the issues covered in the Principles have been adequately addressed and can now be left alone, or is there more that can be done?
  1. As a result of your experience, what would you identify as the top three human rights issues that international students face?
  2. What role do you think the Commission might have in addressing these issues?

[1] At (viewed 24 March 2014).

[2] The internal review was conducted from February to March 2014. It involved:

  • collecting the web analytics of the Principles from the Commission website
  • conducting a desktop review of references to the Principles
  • surveying key stakeholders, through the use of semi-structured telephone interviews.

[3] November 2012 - 621 visits, December 2012 - 225 visits, January 2013 - 166 visits, February 2013 - 197 visits, and March 2013 - 237 visits.

[4] APO Principles to promote and protect the human rights of international students



[7] See

[8] This publication provides information and guidance to students. At

[9] See

[10] “New resource to help with international students” (Media Release, 4 October 2012). At



[13] This advice provides recommendations about Australia’s education sector and notes the Principles as a strategy that promotes students’ well-being. At

[14] (2012), p 23. At

[15] Issue 81, October 2012. At

[16]The Need for a United Nations Declaration of the Rights of International Students : NAFSA Association of International Educators Conference Discussions” At . LL.M. Roadmap is a resource and guide to international students to US Law School Programs.

[17] ACPET “Principles to promote and protect the human rights of international students” (Media Release 29 October 2012). At

[18] “Council welcomes international student protection” (Media release, 5 October 2012). At

[19] See

[20] See

[21] (2013) at p24. At

[22] The interviews were conducted in February 2014. Each interview took, on average, 30 minutes. The questionnaire is at Appendix B.

[23] In six of these eleven organisations, the contact people were different at the time of the review interviews, compared to the initial consultation in relation to the Principles, indicating the turnover of contacts in this area.

[24] Respondents found out about the Principles in the following ways:

  • fifty-five per cent of respondents said they found out about the Principles through the consultation period
  • twenty-seven per cent were sent the Principles following the launch
  • nine per cent found them through independent research
  • nine per cent were referred the Principles by someone else.

Sixty-four per cent of respondents said they used the Principles in the past year. Reasons included:

  • referring them to others to increase awareness of issues faced by international students
  • using them to inform and develop a strategy for City of Melbourne's A Great Place to Study: International Student Strategy 2013-2017 (which aims to enhance the wellbeing and experience of life for international students in Melbourne)25
  • using them as a justification for why certain programs and projects need to run
  • referring them to stakeholders as best practice guidelines
  • referring to them when consulting with stakeholders
  • using them for advocacy purposes (primary purpose for a representative body)
  • using them in a submission to NSW Parliament regarding gambling
  • using them to develop better services, such as the Principle relating to research and data collection reinforces the importance of sharing information and working with state agencies to collect consistent data

Twenty-seven per cent of respondents were unsure or did not clearly state whether the Principles had been used. However, two respondents (both government agencies) noted that there work aligned with the Principles or met the Principles in practice. Nine per cent of respondents stated they did not use the Principles in the last year.