Delay with details on PSW(Post Study Work) by OZ leads to confusion… I think the institutions are getting it all wrong…

When Australia announced the PSW to all graduating degree students who had studied for certain duration of time onshore, it seemed to be the right move at the time when UK had announced withdrawal of PSW. Quite promptly, a FAQ too hit the Immigration’s official site that indicated that it would be on offer to students graduating from 2013.

However, there seems to be a long pause since the last FAQ that went online in March 2013 and this delay has led to confusing information coming out primarily from the institutions to the students. I actually find some of the information to be in contradiction to what I have gathered officially from the Department of Immigration sources.

The FAQ of March 2012 states…

In the last six months before applying for the visa, the applicant must have completed a Bachelor degree (or a higher level course such as a Masters or Doctoral degree) obtained in Australia.

Graduates must also meet the Australian study requirement. The Australian study requirement is defined as study in Australia in a course registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) for a period of at least 2 academic years (92 weeks). The course itself should be conducted in English and should be completed in no less than 16 calendar months. The level of study must be at either Bachelor degree, Masters by coursework degree, Masters by research degree or Doctoral degree – courses packaged together with a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma will not be eligible, even if the total duration of study equals 92 weeks.

Now this is the source of the confusion… At one place this states the eligible course should be “a course registered on CRICOS for a period of 2 years (92 weeks)” indicating hence that it is “one course” of duration of 2 years. At another place it indicates that packaging is fine to meet the duration as long as it is a packaging of right courses… (Diploma with Degree is not fine…)

This led to institutions quickly beefing up their current 1 and 1.5 year Master degrees to offer an extended version of 2 years simply to meet the PSW requirements. Also the institutions continued to advise the students to undertake “one degree of the said duration”.

My reading of the FAQ and my understanding of the intention of the Immigration has been slightly different. I believe that …

The Australian Study Requirement of 2 years (92 weeks) can be made up of multiple programs such as two 1 year Masters. The only thing to be careful of is that the constituents of the packaging should all be eligible programs for PSW. Hence in addition two 1 year Masters or say one 1.5 year Masters packaged with another 1 year Masters where the student gets a .5 year advanced standing for the first Masters should actually be fine.

I thought that the FAQ was not correctly worded and that there is a need for clarification and so I wrote to the DIAC for a clarification which confirmed my belief that the information coming out from the institutions were not possibly accurate and they were showing unnecessary hurry in extending their degrees without the full details of PSW being available. The reply that I received stated the following…

Advise received from DIAC on 12th October 2012

I have checked with the policy area and the below is still the current policy advice – i.e. as long as eligible course completed and total study of eligible course/s exceeds the 92 weeks CRICOS and 16 calendar mths then should be ok on that front (i.e. two one year masters or Bachelors plus 1 yr Masters). However please note that full eligibility requirements are still being worked through and we expect further information to be publicly available shortly.

 Advise above refers to the following advise that I received on 14th March…

The policy and framework for the PSW visa is still being developed. The intention however is that students must study a course that is at least 92 weeks in CRICOS and takes at least 16 calendar months to complete. The course studied must be an eligible one such as Bachelors, Masters or PHD. The 92 weeks could however be made up of a combination of eligible courses such as two one year Masters courses but could not be made up by an eligible course e.g. Masters and a non-eligible course e.g. Post Grad Diploma.

I have shared the above with the institutions that have been a little uncertain and well some still continues to remain uncertain and have even been changing and altering their current offerings which might just not be necessary… I strongly believe that students can choose even to study in two institutions for eligible programs to make up the duration required for PSW.

However it will be ideal for DIAC to issue full details as soon as possible especially since the PSW has been now marketed by institutions (and their agents) for over a year and is to be applicable for students graduating in 2013. Students must know what is included and what is not… PSW is not PR and is to be used an USP for Australian Education… as per Knight Review recommendations…

8 Comments

  1. Not only PSW, other issues are the GTE and study pathways eligible for SVP.

    What is the definition of a negative GTE outcome further down the track, and who will be responsible or accountable for a negative outcome?

    Further, apparently TAFE will be in SVP system but while they have agents who have focused upon VET education mostly, only agents who have agreement with the university can have students apply under the SVP for a TAFE pathway (meaning Melbourne TAFEs with degrees will benefit most).

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  2. Thanks Ravi – you have raised it very timely. I fully agree with you and remember that the fact which you have mentioned that students completing two masters in two years would be eligible was also conveyed to us in one of the DIAC’s presentation held at the Australian High Commission, New Delhi. The confusion or uncertainity on the eligibility of PSW to students would not only hamper our promotional activities but also restrict students to choose Australia as their destination.

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    1. Yes Gulshan… we are under the right impression… however institutions believe that it should be “one cricos covering the duration” and are in a hurry to extend their current offerings of 1 and 1.5 years to 2 years… Misplaced advise for sure…

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