Moving abroad to study can be daunting and exciting and in Australia there are laws that protect the rights of international students.

The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act covers everything from financial protections through to work rights, student welfare and complaints.

students-school'The Australian Government wants international students to have a rewarding and enjoyable experience when they come to Australia to study,' said a department of education spokesman.

International students have rights to information about their course and the institution they wish to study with before and during enrolment. International students do not have to use an education agent and can enrol directly with an Australian education institution.

Anyone wanting to use an education agent are advised to pick one used by the institution they are applying to and a list of education agents can usually be found online. Agents must give you accurate advice about the courses on offer, including entry requirements and information about living in Australia.

Under Australian law an education institution must have a written agreement with the overseas student that outlines the services they will provide, all the fees a student is required to pay, and conditions for refunds of money if necessary.

Since December 2015, changes to Australian law give international students more choice about how they pay their fees. Previously you could not pay more than 50% of fees before starting a course. Now you can choose to pay more than 50% of tuition fees before the course starts. For example, paying more may avoid fluctuations in currency rates.

Australia is becoming more popular with overseas students and now for the first time six Australian universities have made the top 100 worldwide in the 2016 Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Some 23 Australian universities made the top 500 ranking, many improving on their best ever result. The University of Melbourne is the highest ranking Australian university at 40 while the University of Queensland moved from 77 to 55 in the overall rankings.

Monash University moved into the top 100 for the first time while the Australian National University, the University of Sydney and the University of Western Australia are also in the top 100.

Since 2009 the ARWU rankings have been published independently by Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. The rankings are based on six objective indicators with a focus on published and awarded research.

It is also possible to get funding to study at universities in Australia. For example, there is some $20 million of Australian government funding annually to Australian universities for over 300 International Postgraduate Research Scholarships (IPRS).