australia

Australia Employee Background Checks

Country Overview

Australia is composed of six states: New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia, which each have its own constitution. The states are allowed to enact legislation regarding any matters not controlled by the Federal Commonwealth.

In addition to the states, there are ten territories. Two of the mainland territories – the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory – and one of the offshore territories – Norfolk Island – have the capacity to self-govern to a limited extent. Indeed, due to their size, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory are treated more similarly to states. The other territories: Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Australian Antarctic Territory, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Jervis Bay Territory and Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands are controlled by Federal Commonwealth law. In the event that any laws conflict, the Federal Commonwealth law will control.

The Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 used to cover federal agencies and private organizations in Australia and the Australian Capital Territory. However, in 2012 expansive reforms were passed via the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012. These reforms have been in effect since March 12, 2014. One of the most significant changes with the Amendment came in the form of the Australian Privacy Principles. These principles replaced the previous framework which was divided into two sets – the Information Privacy Principles (which applied to federal government agencies) and the National Privacy Principles (which applied to private companies).

There are 13 APPs that address a variety of topics including: a requirement for covered entities to have a comprehensive Privacy Policy, a requirement for consent prior to sensitive personal data collection (unless an exception applies) and requirements regarding cross-border disclosures of personal information.

Australia also possesses extensive human rights protections via the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (formerly referred to as the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986) which established the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). The AHRC has defined indirect discrimination to include situations where a neutral condition that applies to everyone has a disproportionate impact on individuals with a particular attribute such as a criminal record. The term criminal record is not defined under the Act but the AHRC notes that it has been interpreted broadly to include the information on the police record and the circumstances behind the conviction. According to the Act, employers in all states and territories are covered including temporary, full-time and part-time employment relationships. Based on this Act, employers should review criminal records on an individualized basis to analyze whether the record means the individual would be unable to perform the inherent requirements of the particular position being filled. The AHRC has noted it will likely not conduct investigations into alleged discrimination if an employer denies employment to an individual with a criminal record based on a legal requirement.

For further information, download our Australia Country Data Sheet.

 
Individual Records Searches Signup

  Australian Criminal (National Database) Search 

 signup

Requirements: Name, date of birth, city, release form

The Nationwide Database Search is a proprietary database product that consists of publicly available case law, and state, territory and criminal court information. This should not be considered an official criminal search akin to the National Police Check, but can provide insight into an individual’s background if a faster search is desired.

  Australian Criminal (National Police Check) – Recommended  

 signup

Requirements: Name, date of birth, general consent form, Federal police application form, copies of two identification documents if applicant is Australian national or copies of three identification documents if applicant is not Australian national, current address and address start date, 5-year address history (full address needed with a postal code and address start date), maiden name or other previously used names

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) provides the National Police Certificate which contains items such as unspent convictions (unless an exclusion applies – see below) and other criminal history information held by police services. This certificate is considered to be the most reliable source of criminal information which is why it is highly recommended. The National Police Certificate provided by the AFP is available for overseas employment, residents of the Australian Capital Territory, Jervis Bay Territory and other external Commonwealth territories, or individuals requiring a check under Commonwealth legislation, such as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

For individuals who do not meet those requirements, the particular state or territory police service should be contacted. For example, in Western Australia there is a National Police Certificate available that will list an individual's disclosable court outcomes and pending charges sourced from the databases of all Australian police jurisdictions. The form for the NPC in Western Australia may be completed by the applicant online, and results are returned rather quickly if no further investigation is needed.

An electronic version of the police certificate is provided to you at no additional cost. If you would like to have the original certificate mailed to you, additional fees and turnaround times will apply.

  Banned & Disqualified Directors 

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A search of the Banned and Disqualified Persons Register maintained by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. The name and address of the individual along with the details of the banning or disqualification including the type, date of commencement and date of cessation will be provided when available.

  Australia Civil Records Search - National Level 

 signup

Requirements: Name (including former name), dob, address, release

The civil search is conducted through the Federal Court of Australia for any Federal Court actions. Report may include case type, file date, case number, name of court where case was filed, plaintiff, defendant and disposition if a case can be located.

  Australia Civil Records Search - local Level 

 signup

Requirements: Name (including former name), dob, address, release

This civil search is conducted through the Supreme Court in the state specified for any civil actions. Report may include case type, file date, case number, name of court where case was filed, plaintiff, defendant and disposition if a case can be located.

  Australia Bankruptcy Records Search 

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Requirements: Name, date of birth, address, release

This search is conducted at the nationwide level through the Personal Insolvency Index held by the Insolvency and Trustee Service in Australia. This search will return information on bankruptcies, Part X Agreements, Part IX Debt Agreements and other proceedings under the Bankruptcy Act. Report may include file date, case number, name of court where case was filed and case status if available.

  Education Degree Verification in Australia 

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Requirements: Name, date of birth, school name, degree, major, dates of attendance, city of school, release form

It is common to verify only the highest degree obtained by a candidate. Educational institutions will be contacted to verify dates of attendance, graduation date and degree information.

  Employment Verification in Australia 

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Requirements: Name, date of birth, employer name and contact information, release form, date of employment, position held

Employers will be contacted to verify the individual’s title, dates of employment and if the candidate is eligible for rehire. Typically employment verifications do not extend beyond a 7 year time frame in the absent a legal or regulatory requirement to obtain that information.

  Reference Check in Australia 

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Requirements: Applicant name and date of birth, reference's relationship, contact name and contact information (including phone number and email address)

This search is conducted via telephone (or at times e-mail) with the individual’s personal or professional references using a standard list of questions.

  Motor Vehicle Records 

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Requirements: Name, dob, address, state specific form, copy of driver's license, release

The motor vehicle records search is performed on a jurisdiction-specific level, and search results may vary. Some states offer a full driving history while others may return more limited information. Currently the MVR search is not available in New South Wales.

  Credit Report 

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Requirements: Name, DOB, driver's license number, release

The Basic Credit Report is compiled with information from public records including Court Writs, Court Judgments, securities and limited bankruptcies.

  Global Monitor Check 

 signup

Requirements: Name, date of birth, address

The Global Monitor Check (GMC) is database product that searches a variety of databases including (but not limited to):

  • • Bank of England Sanctions
  • • Commodity Futures Trading Commission List of Regulatory and Self-Regulatory Authorities
  • • Defense Trade Controls (DTC) Debarred Parties
  • • FBI Fugitives 10 Most Wanted, Most Wanted Terrorists and Monthly Most Wanted
  • • Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Special Alert List
  • • Foreign Agent Registrations
  • • International Police Most Wanted
  • • Office of Foreign Asset Control
  • • OFAC - Enhanced Sanctioned Countries
  • • OFAC – Palestinian Legislative Council
  • • Office of Controller of Currency of Unauthorized Banks
  • • OSFI - Canada
  • • Politically Exposed Persons
  • • State Department Terrorist Exclusions
  • • Terrorists Inside of European Union
  • • Terrorists Outside of European Union
  • • United Nations Named Terrorists
  • • US Bureau of Industry and Security - Unverified Entity List
  • • US Bureau of Industry and Security - Denied Entity List
  • • US Bureau of Industry and Security - Denied Person List
  • • World Bank Ineligible Firms

  ID Check in Australia 

 signup

Requirements: Name, DOB, Address, Consent Form, Identification Card Color Copy (Front and Back)

A validation and/or verification of the data subject’s identity documents.

  Directorship Check in Australia 

 signup

Requirements: Name, date of birth, address, passport copy, company name where directorship was held, company address, In-Country Residence History Form

A search to determine if a candidate had fiduciary or board of directors responsibilities for a company.

Individual Packages Signup

  Employment Screening Package 

  signup

Requirements: Name, date of birth, city, school name, degree obtained, dates of attendance, city of school, employer name and contact information, dates of employment, position and release form

The employment screening package includes one Australian nationwide criminal database search, education verification of highest degree obtained and one employment verification.

  Criminal and Civil Search Package 

  signup

Requirements: Name (including former name), dob, address, release

The Criminal and Civil Search Package offers discounted pricing of our most popular searches. This bundle includes one criminal records search and one civil records search, based on the jurisdiction of the address provided.

  Civil and Bankruptcy Search Package 

  signup

Requirements: Name (including former name), dob, address, release

The Civil and Bankruptcy Search Package offers discounted pricing of our most popular due diligence searches. This bundle includes one civil records search and one bankruptcy records search, based on the jurisdiction of the address provided.

 

Australian Police Certificate


Available. Includes nationwide fingerprint check.

Procedures to be followed for visa applicants both inside and outside the country who wish to obtain clearances:

 

Applicants Inside of Australia: Applicant must go to any police station to obtain fingerprints and complete necessary forms for request.

 

Applicants Outside of Australia: Applicant must obtain a police-certified fingerprint set from the country of residence, accompanied by their DOB, sex, the country for which the certification is required for immigration, and the address of the requesting authority. This may be accomplished by calling the NSW police at 02-9689-7682. The package must also include a bank draft or an International money order. All items are then sent to:

 

N.S.W. Police Service
Criminal Records Unit
P.O. Box 7777
Parramatta, N.S.W. 2124

 

Australian Privacy laws & Regulations


Australia’s Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act of 2012 created thirteen Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) which apply to both federal government agencies and private organizations. This amendment enhances the privacy protection originally laid out in The Commonwealth Privacy Act of 1988, and affords more privacy protection.

The thirteen APPs are:

  1. Open and transparent management of personal information
    • An organization may not collect personal information unless there is a legitimate business need, and they may only collect personal information by lawful and fair means. The collection may not be unreasonably intrusive in any way. The organization may only collect information from the individual concerned. Additionally, the individual whose information is going to be collected must provide their consent, understand the purposes for which the information is collected, and what kind of organizations that the gathered information is usually disclosed to.
  2. Anonymity and pseudosymmetry
    • An organization must provide the individual with an option of not identifying themselves. This is achieved by either letting the individual stay anonymous, or allowing them to use a pseudonym. Exceptions do exist, such as when it is impractical for an organization to deal with an individual who does not identify themselves.
  3. Collection of solicited personal information
    • An organization may only collect personal information for a legitimate business purpose. This information may only be collected with the individual’s consent, and must collect this information from the individual unless it is unreasonable or impracticable to do so.
  4. Dealing with unsolicited personal information
    • An organization must treat unsolicited personal information with the same privacy protection as solicited personal information. If the unsolicited information could not have been collected without using APP 3, the organization must destroy or de-identify the information immediately.
  5. Notification of the collection of personal information
    • An organization must ensure they notify the individual that their personal information is being collected, and the circumstances involved with that collection.
  6. Use or disclosure of personal information
    • An organization must not use or disclose personal information for a purpose other than their primary legitimate business purposes unless the individual has given their consent to other purposes (secondary purposes). Exceptions do exist.
  7. Direct marketing
    • An organization may only use personal information for direct marketing purposes if an exception applies.
  8. Cross-border disclosures and transfers
    • An organization that discloses personal information to an overseas recipient must ensure that the organization receiving the information does not breach the APPs. If the receiving organization does breach the APPs, the organization that initially disclosed the information is also considered to breach the APPs. A number of exceptions for this requirement do exist.
  9. Adoption, use, or disclosure of government related identifiers
    • An organization may not adopt, use, or disclose a government related identifier unless an exception applies.
  10. Quality of personal information
    • An organization must ensure that the personal information that is collected is accurate, up-to-date, complete, relevant, and not misleading.
  11. Security of personal information
    • An organization must ensure that they take reasonable steps to protect the personal information it collects, and protects that information from misuse, loss, unauthorized access, modification, and disclosure. An organization must also destroy or de-identify personal information when it is no longer needed.
  12. Access to personal information
    • An organization must give an individual access to their personal information if the organization holds that information.
  13. Correction of personal information

An organization must take reasonable steps to correct personal information to ensure that it holds information that is accurate, up-to-date, complete, relevant, and not misleading. An organization must allow individuals to request their personal information to be corrected, and must respond to a correction request within a reasonable period of time.

 

Australia Cross Border Transfer Requirements


Australia takes privacy protection and data protection very seriously, and wants to ensure that personal information is protected at all times. Including situations where that personal information may be transferred outside of Australia. The APPs and the protections afforded by the APPs follow the data when that data has had contact with Australia. Australia recognizes that there needs to be a free flow of information, however, they still want to protect that information and ensure that the information sent across borders is still involved with legitimate business purposes.

 

To afford protections across borders, Australia uses an “accountability” model for holding organizations responsible for cross-border transfers. Australia does not have a list of countries that they have deemed adequate or acceptable regarding privacy protection. Instead, they hold the organizations collecting and transferring that data accountable and responsible for the protection of the data they are dealing with. This responsibility means the organization is accountable for the protection of the data they transfer, and must ensure that whom they are transferring the data to abides by the APPs.

 

If a breach of the APPs is found in either the transferring organization or the receiving organization, the organization that transferred the information across borders is also held responsible for breaching the APPs.

 

Australian Spent Convictions


The Spent Convictions Scheme is part of the Crimes Act 1914 that was created to prevent discrimination based on individual's previous convictions. It is concerned with the collection, use and disclosure of old conviction information. The Scheme prevents discrimination against certain convictions, once 10 years has elapsed, the individual has shown that they have not re-offended and have met the other required criteria. The Spent Convictions Scheme also prevents discrimination against convictions that have been quashed or pardoned.

 

A crime is considered a spent conviction when ALL the following criteria are satisfied for a Commonwealth, Territory, State or foreign offence.

  • 10 years has passed since the conviction date. (5 years have passed since the date of a juvenile conviction)
  • The conviction did not include sentencing for imprisonment or if sentenced for imprisonment it was not over 30 months.
  • Individual did not re-offend during the 10 year ( or 5 year for juvenile offenses) waiting period
  • There are no statutory or prescribed exclusions that apply to the situation. The privacy Commission holds a full list of exclusions.

An individual with a conviction protected by this Act is not obligated to disclose the conviction to anyone including a Commonwealth Authority, unless there is an applicable exclusion involved. Commonwealth authorities are also not allowed to disclose or consider convictions protected under this Act unless they have consent to do so from the individual.

 

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