On 28 November 2019, the Federal Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships, Steve Irons, introduced the Student Identifiers Amendment (Enhanced Student Permissions) Bill 2019 (Cth) (“the Bill”) into the House of Representatives. The Bill passed Parliament on 14 May 2020, and was assented on 25 May 2020.
The Student Identifiers Amendment (Enhanced Student Permissions) Act 2020 (Cth) (“the Act”) amends the Student Identifiers Act 2014 (Cth) (“the 2014 Act”) in order to simplify recruitment and application processes in validating an individual’s vocational education and training (“VET”) qualifications. The Act wholly commenced on 26 May 2020.
An authenticated VET transcript includes information regarding an individual’s VET courses, modules, and units of competency taken after 1 January 2015. Using their student identifier, individuals can access their authenticated national training transcript through the student identifiers transcript service.
The 2014 Act previously did not allow employers, employee agencies, or licensing bodies to verify an individuals’ VET transcript directly through the transcript service. Individuals were able to set access controls in the service, however, they were only able to give access to registered training organisations or related VET bodies. The Act amends the 2014 Act to allow students to grant access to transcripts to businesses, recruitment agencies, licensing bodies, and other third parties. Whilst a larger number of entities will be able to request access to an individual’s authenticated VET transcript, the individuals will retain authority to set the access controls for their transcript, in order to maintain privacy.
These amendments aim to streamline and reduce costs for recruitment for businesses, whilst also mitigating the risk of individuals tampering with their transcripts prior to submission to potential employers. The Act also establishes a civil penalty regime in order to deter fraudulent behaviours in relation to transcripts and student identifiers. Under the new regime, the Student Identifiers Registrar (“the Registrar”) will be able to commence penalty proceedings or issue infringement notices for:
The Act also makes further amendments in order to clarify the powers of the Registrar in determining exemptions for an individual to hold a student identifier. As part of an individual’s application for an exemption, the amendments require the individual to declare that they understand the consequences of not being assigned an identifier. Individuals without an identifier will be unable to generate an authenticated VET transcript through the transcript service.
If this exemption is granted, a registered training organisation will be able to issue a VET qualification or VET statement of attainment for the exempted individual. The Act also clarifies that the Registrar may disclose information in an authenticated transcript in accordance to Australian Privacy Principle 6 under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), in relation to disclosure for law enforcement.
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Student Identifiers Amendment (Enhanced Student Permissions) Act 2020 (Cth), Student Identifiers Amendment (Enhanced Student Permissions) Bill 2019 (Cth), and supporting documents available from TimeBase’s LawOne Service
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