AHN Student Placement Policy

Name:           AHN Student Placement Policy
Version:        2
July 2008 (revised December 2017)

AHN Student Placement Policy - AU

Document Overview:
This document outlines the procedure for placing AHN students with Homestay Hosts.  It will contain policies for placing the following students:

  1. Over 18 Students
  2. Under 18 Students
  3. Study Tour Students

Over 18 Students:

The following policy should be followed when placing students with homestay hosts. The student’s profile should be checked against system-matched homestay hosts for suitability before confirming a placement. Students must not be placed with a homestay host simply because it is convenient, the student’s profile should be checked against available hosts for issues including the following:

  • gender, age and personal preferences
  • size of the family, how many children and their ages
  • pets, dogs or cats, or both
  • smoking or non-smoking
  • transport time to institution
  • length of stay
  • hobbies
  • special needs

If ‘special needs’ has been highlighted every care and precaution should be taken and confirmation sought from the host that they can meet the student’s requirements. Students will have preferences, which may or may not be accommodated at the time of matching. While it is desirable to meet student’s needs, be aware, that some homestay students may have overly high or specific expectations. Students may make requests such as ‘I want to be able to walk to my school’ or ‘I want my own bathroom’.  In these cases, it must be explained to the homestay student that while the program may not have available homestay hosts meeting these criteria, there are other suitable households available.

The number of students placed with one homestay host should be limited. If there are multiple students present in one household, they will not gain full exposure to Australian culture and language. There are also legal implications to having multiple students in a household. AHN will limit 3 students to one host, at a maximum.

It is very important that students not be placed with another student who speaks the same language. This will limit growth of the students’ language skills and work against one of the important aims of homestay. An exception to the rule may be when students specifically request to be placed with a friend or a relative, or in the case of underage students who may request to be placed with someone of their own culture or language background, where possible.

Once a placement has been confirmed a detailed placement report will be sent to the student and the host.


Under 18 Students:

Prearrival Information:

Education providers must first sign a Confirmation of Appropriate Accommodation and Welfare (CAAW or often referred to as a Welfare Letter) before a student can be issued with a study visa.  A Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) is issued at the same time.  The student must be issued with the address of their host prior to the issue of these documents and any changes recorded with their education provider.  Where a student has applied for homestay and been informed of their host’s address then the education provider takes responsibility for the student when signing the CAAW letter required prior to visa issue. 

The CAAW must start from the date of commencement of the student’s COE and end seven days after the end of the student’s course.  As students may not be permitted to travel to Australia before their welfare arrangements are in place, the CAAW should provide appropriate time (usually seven days) prior to the commencement of the student’s course to allow them to come to Australia and settle into their accommodation.  The student must abide by these dates and negotiate with their education provider for an extension of the CAAW if they plan to arrive more than one week prior to the start date.

Homestay hosts are not legal guardians for their student and do not have any parental responsibilities towards a student.   Hosts have no right to sign any legal documents, such as a visa application, on the student’s behalf.  If the student remains in Australia and does not make an application for a further visa, the visa will cease and they may be located and removed from Australia by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).  The AHN community is not responsible if a student does not leave the country.

Placement information:

All hosts accepting under 18 students must have a valid Working with Children Check. Details of State and/or Territory requirements are available at this link.  All members of the host’s household who are over the age of eighteen must have applied for and been issued with this card prior to the placement commencing.

In addition to the policy for placing over 18 students, and the AHN Under 18 Code of Conduct under 18 students:

·         Must not be placed in a homestay with the opposite sex, where possible, especially when there is a large age gap

·         Female students must not be placed in a home where there is no female host

·         Students should be placed as close to the education provider as possible, but within 60 minutes by public transport at a maximum

·         Unless the education provider has given written approval for travel with parents, students are not permitted to travel to and from the airport unless booked with an AHN assigned transport company

·         Students are to abide by curfews, as set in each state – refer to local office rules for these times

·         Any breach of curfew is to be reported by the hosts to AHN within 15-20min of the breach then reported to the education provider as appropriate

·         Any time away from homestay must be approved in writing by the education provider

·         Check the local AHN office rules for any other rules relating to under 18 students in each state

Regular counselling must be offered to the student whilst in homestay but this is generally done as part of the counselling responsibilities of the education provider.  AHN will be in contact with the host and student at regular intervals during the stay.

Students under 18 must seek assistance from AHN if they are concerned about their homestay arrangement in any way or if they would like to request to change homestay hosts. AHN will assess the request and if a transfer is approved a new host and transportation will be arranged. The student may be required to pay for professional pick up service if required. The education provider and DIAC must be informed of the new address. 

Guardianship companies can be utilised at the student’s request.  There is a fee payable to the guardianship company for this service.  The company liaises with the host, AHN and the education provider to resolve minor issues.  However, any critical incident must be reported to the appropriate authorities (police, welfare authorities) and the student’s education provider.

The student must have emergency access for twenty-four hours/seven days a week or contact with their AHN local office. Generally, students under 18 years old need to have written requests to change anything about their educational contract (i.e. duration, provider, etc).  Different education providers will have rules in place relating to travel, overnight absences and changing of accommodation etc.   Applicable state and federal laws must be obeyed regarding travel – such as wanting to drive a car, motorbike or bicycle (licensed appropriately, seatbelts, helmets etc) 

Study Tour Students:

Study tour students arrive in groups, are enrolled in groups and generally stay together with the group for all activities. Some study tour students attend English language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) and some have holiday activities combined with their English course.  Each education provider will be different.

The quotation agreed with each individual partner will dictate the method used for placing study tour students i.e. host family/travel requirements, and the financial arrangement about the homestay fee. The tour coordinator will provide AHN with manual application forms and profiles for each student and AHN takes responsibility for entering the data into the system and setting up the study tour.

In addition to the policy for placing over 18 students, it is important to remember that study tour students can often have a lower level of English, depending where they are from. Consequently, it is important to place the students with hosts who have been proven to have a high duty of care and the attitude and ability to communicate easily with students with a low level of English. 

Travel should be straightforward and it is good practice to place students in one area (where possible), so that they may travel together on the train or bus.  Should the numbers be too high to achieve this goal, pick several suburbs close together and place a few students in each suburb.

It is advisable to arrange for a suitable time and place for these students to be introduced to their hosts and this is a good opportunity for the education provider and AHN representative to speak to all hosts and students together and allay any fears the students might have regarding food or travel and to advise hosts of the considerate use of the afterhours mobile telephone.

There are often more after hours calls when these students arrive so it is important to have mechanisms in place for afterhours duties to be shared.