ASQA Announces Changes to Initial RTO Registration Requirements Focusing on Quality and Integrity

ASQA Announces Changes to Initial RTO Registration Requirements Focusing on Quality and Integrity

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has recently updated its requirements and processes for initial registration applications for new entrants in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) market. This move aligns with the government's intent to uphold quality and integrity within the VET sector.

Key Updates and Enhanced Assessment Processes

Enhanced Fit and Proper Person Requirements: ASQA has implemented new Fit and Proper Person Requirements as part of the initial registration process. This measure ensures that only those committed to providing quality VET can manage Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).

Rigorous Assessment for Market Entry: Applicants seeking to enter the VET market will undergo a stringent assessment process. This ensures their capability and commitment to providing quality VET are thoroughly evaluated before registration is granted.

Application Completeness and Quality Control: ASQA has observed many low-quality and incomplete applications.

Approximately 90% of checked registration applications were found incomplete at submission. Applicants are given a 3-day window to address application gaps, failing which the application is deemed invalid.

Revised Service Standards: ASQA has modified its service standards, now requiring to notify applicants of the validity of a market entry application within seven days of receiving the lodgement fee. The assessment outcomes must be informed within 90 days of receiving the fee. This change, from 80% to 60%, allows ASQA to ensure full compliance of applicants upon registration and conduct in-depth investigations per the revised Fit and Proper Person Requirements.

Ongoing Monitoring and Feedback Collection: Throughout 2024, ASQA will continue to collect feedback and monitor the market entry process, the effectiveness of the updated requirements, and the efficiency of its regulatory assessment procedures.

Improvements to Digital Systems and Application Processes: Efforts are being made to enhance digital systems for market entry and streamline the application process for applicants and ASQA staff.

Access to Information and Guidance: Updated initial registration application forms, supporting evidence requirements, and details about the strengthened Fit and Proper Person Requirements are available on ASQA's website for applicants' reference.

Implications for New Entrants in the VET Market

These updates signify ASQA's commitment to maintaining high standards in the VET sector. New entrants to the market must be prepared to meet these enhanced requirements, ensuring their readiness to deliver quality training from the onset of their operations. ASQA's focus on thorough vetting and enhanced application processes is set to elevate the overall quality and integrity of vocational education and training across Australia.

Summary of ASQA's Regulatory Performance and Activities (1 July 2023 to 31 December 2023)

From the Deputy CEO of ASQA

Highlights of Regulatory Focus and Achievements

Government Priorities and Student Welfare: ASQA’s regulation has been aligned with government priorities, focusing on safeguarding student welfare and enhancing the quality of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector.

Use of Intelligence and Data: Regulatory activities, including registration, monitoring, compliance, enforcement, and education, have been heavily data-driven, ensuring community confidence in ASQA’s risk-based approach.

Monitoring and Compliance Efforts

Performance Assessments: ASQA completed 182 performance assessments in the first half of the 2023-24 period. Out of these, 115 assessments identified non-compliance with legal or regulatory standards.

Commitment to Quality Training: Most providers showed a commitment to delivering quality training. Continuous review of performance and compliance was undertaken.

Agreements to Rectify Non-Compliance: 16 providers entered into agreements to rectify (ATR) their non-compliance issues.

Finalisation and Compliance Results of ATRs: Of 17 finalised ATRs, 9 providers returned to compliance, 6 addressed most issues and received written direction for minor outstanding issues. Two providers faced escalated management - one had its scope suspended, and another’s registration was cancelled.

Nature of the ATR

The ATR depended on factors like the impact of non-compliance, provider conduct, understanding of the problem, commitment to improvement, and effectiveness of the solution.

Response to Non-Compliant Providers

Regulatory Actions: For providers lacking commitment or capability in delivering quality training or addressing non-compliance,

  • 35 providers had their registrations cancelled.
  • 8 providers faced suspension of registration.
  • 9 providers had conditions imposed on their registration.

Education as a Regulatory Tool

Sector Alerts and Communication: ASQA issued sector alerts on issues like virtual kidnapping and concerning practices in the real estate sector. They also addressed risks and areas of non-compliance through direct communication with providers.

Engagement Statistics: ASQA received 13,834 calls and 6,730 email enquiries, reflecting active engagement with the sector.

Future Reports and Updates

Quarterly ASQA Updates: The organisation plans to continue evolving these reports to provide insights into how they address quality and integrity issues in the VET sector and measure their regulatory impact.


In summary, ASQA’s activities for the latter half of 2023 focused on enhancing the quality and integrity of the VET sector. Through rigorous monitoring, assessment, and enforcement activities, coupled with a commitment to education and communication, ASQA is actively working to uphold and improve standards within the sector.

Suggested Read: Annual CEO Declaration for RTO Compliance with VET Quality Framework

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Sukh Sandhu

Executive Director

Sukh has been working in the VET and Higher Education Industry for over 25 years. In this time, he has held several roles with RTO's and Higher Education Providers (HEP) including CEO roles for International Colleges and National Compliance and Quality Assurance Manager roles for several RTO's, TAFE's and Universities. Sukh has also worked for the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) as a Business Systems Project Official. Sukh is a Canadian permanent resident and Australian citizen.

Sukh has had extensive project management experience in risk management, compliance, administration and as a training consultant. He has extensive knowledge in government compliance standards and has participated in nearly one hundred audits across Australia and provided consultancy advice regarding ASQA/VRQA, TEQSA, ACPET, DET-HESG, VQF/Higher Education, ELICOS, NEAS, ANMAC, AHPRA, CRICOS, ESOS and ISO.

Sukh is a member of several independent professional organisations and government bodies including, ACPET, VELG, ACS, AITD, MARA, MIA, ISANA, APEX, IEEE, The Internet Society (Global Member), AISIP, IAMOT, ACM, OISV, APACALL, IWA, Eta Kappa Nu, EDSIG and several others.

Sukh's qualifications include two MBAs, three masters in IT and systems, a Graduate diploma of management learning, Diploma in training design and development, Diploma in vocational education training, Diploma of work, health and safety, Diploma of Quality Auditing, Advanced diploma of management, Advanced diploma in marketing, human resources, information technology, and a number of other courses and qualifications. He has been working as a lecturer and as a trainer and assessor since 1998, Sukh has been a vocal advocate of audit reforms and system centred auditing practices rather than auditor centred auditing practices for many years.