Australia to miss the opportunity due to “crafty” implementation of Knight Recommendations… I feel smarted.

Mike Knight recommendations did open up an opportunity. However, I feel that someone is cleverly pulling out its punch and moving it towards: Much ado about nothing. I have already summarized the huge achievement as that it has changed the mood of the market from gross-pessimism to optimism. I also indicated that the biggest two gains have been the introduction of slightly lower financial requirements and introduction of Post Study Work.

Before I list my reasons for terming the implementation as “crafty”, let me first lay out the opportunity that OZ has.

The Opportunity:

Solely thanks to the Mike Knight recommendations and its apparent advantages to the students, the student market had turned to an upwards preference for Australia as a destination.

Setting aside the so-called expert opinions, we conducted a random survey of 100 students from Eastern India (between September  and mid-November) to gauge the mood on the ground. The survey was aimed at determining the “first choice destination” as expressed by the “fee paying student”. I would like to point out that these 100 students expressed their opinion prior-to them being counseled and hence the survey does-not indicate whether they will be joining their first choice destination at all. However, it is a major analysis of the impact of the situation on the ground and deserves your attention.

 The above clearly indicates that in this September – November period in 2011, the first-choice destination amongst the fee-paying students is still UK ahead of other competitive options. However, what is real-development is that there is a clear “drastic” decline in interest for UK in 2011 as compared to 2010 and if we compare it to other destinations, we can notice that in recent months, there is an increase in interest for Australia possibly due to the Post Study Work introduction there recently. There is also an increase in interest for Singapore while NZ and Canada which grew rapidly last year seem to be plateauing out now.

Now let me share why I feel that the implementation of the Knight Recommendations is happening but not-necessarily as was intended.

First I remind as to what Michael Knight recommended for Post Study Work…

4.1  All graduates of an Australian university Bachelor degree, who have spent at least two academic years studying that degree in Australia, and complied with their visa conditions, should receive two years work rights.

4.2  All graduates of an Australian university Masters by Coursework degree, who have studied that degree in Australia, and complied with their visa conditions, should receive two years work rights on successful completion of their course.

The FAQ too issued by immigration on PSW at the first instance simply provided a cut-paste of the above and hence implying that students who complete a Masters (by coursework) of any duration to be eligible for PSW. Under 4.1 Knight did recommend a minimum duration for Bachelors degree as 2 years but his entire purpose of listing the Masters provision under 4.2 is possibly that he has attempted to differentiate for Masters and not recommend a minimum 2 year requirement. Atleast, this is my reading. Read the above again for yourself.

Now, lets see what has just been put out on the immigration link detailing the implementation.  The link is


Proposed implementation of recommendations arising from the Knight review.

Post-study work rights (Recommendations 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4 and 8):

Bachelor (and Masters by Coursework) graduates who have spent at least two academic years studying that degree in Australia to receive two years post-study work rights

Masters by Research graduates to receive three years post-study work rights

PhD graduates to receive four years post-study work rights.

Do you notice the craftiness that takes away the real bite. UK has had Post Study Work after a Masters which in most cases was a one year qualification. Historically the Masters in Australia was between 1 and 1.5 years and was only made a 2 year program due to immigration point system that gave the points for Australian study only if one had studied for 2 years. If the Mike Knight recommendations 4.2 is implemented as has been mentioned in the Mike Knight Report, it would have meant a big-deal and a life-saver. However, that is not to be so… Immigration in its site is clubbing 4.1 and 4.2 together and indicating that Bachelors and Masters (Coursework) need to be of 2 year duration.

Well, I feel that someone does-not like the Mike Knight recommendations and is twisting them to derail the full reforms or its potential advantages. Hope that someone will bring this to the attention of those who drafted the recommendation. 

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  1. This sudden change at the time of implementing Knight’s recommendations would drive away the quality students from Australia. they should realize that one year or 1.5 years master is offered only to those students who have hons degrees of four year duration and in India the duration of hons degree in the field of arts and commerce is three years. Only degrees in engineering, biotechnologies or other such areas are of four years in India. So this change would act as a detterent for all these high quality students which Australia needs. These students would again prefer UK , Canada or New Zealand.


    1. Really good to have your comment on the blog… I agree that the implication of such a change will be that students will once again get attracted to only those Universities that can offer cheaper 2 year Masters. With “all Masters” having PSW, all Universities would have been able to remain attractive. Now with such a high exchange rate, the pluses of the visa reforms are getting certainly negated… Australia should stick to the recommendations made and allow all Masters degrees to have PSW benefits.


  2. Conversely, can it be seen as both to shore up universities’ income, and allow prospective PR applicants same deal as before, study minimum two years for university work rights period allows candidates to gain experience, then apply for PR? Killing two birds with one stone, helping universities (before they have to ask for hand outs) and allowing potential residency without having to speak about immigration (population growth etc.) to the media or electorate in Australia (which is presently political suicide)?

    Interesting to see results of recruitment and more importantly how universities monitor compliance e.g. will international marketing and recruitment personnel (assuming pull factors increase commencements and enrolments), will not need to promote onshore, but focus upon student welfare (social and academic) and visa compliance on campus? (In fact good marketing). Or will SOL pathways course e.g. accounting, be flooded with applicants automatically decreasing possibility of potential PR in future as potentail for removal from SOL, but not if business faculties can help it?

    The private English and vocational sector including TAFE who have been told they will gain same visa advantages too but later, may benefit from carefully observing how universities and international personnel deal with changes later 2012 i.e. responsibility and accountability? For now pathway institutions would not be directly accountable if student visa for university?

    In my opinion, with recent employment demand data from Clarius Recruitment, clear skill demand will be vocational occupations, only IT remains in top occupational shortages for quarter finishing September.


    1. well, what will happen in future, is in future… VET is waiting for the review to start and to finish and then for the Government to being considerations of the recommendations and finalize and then for them to attempt any marketing… Too far in the current context when attempts to wake up Australia as a destination is underway. The recommendations are being implemented in “installments” and already we can see some areas where tweaking is being done and possibly in the way that Knight recommended. Such as the introduction of the words “obtained first visa after 5th November 2011” for PSW is possibly going to exclude many such as previous students who studied Bachelors in Australia and now may consider Masters. 100% sure that Knight never recommended that those who studied in Australia in the past and now applying for their second visa with GTE be excluded from PSW…


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