Security clearances

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance is a status granted to individuals allowing them access to classified information and resources after completion of a series of thorough background checks. These checks are undertaken to ensure that people entrusted with security classified information and resources have had their identities confirmed, are eligible to have access and are willing to comply with the standards that safeguard those resources against misuse.

Why would I need one?

Security clearances are only required for individuals who as part of their work for the Australian Government need to access classified information and resources. This applies to people employed by the APS and by consulting organisation that contract to the Government.

What are the different levels of clearance?

Australia has four levels of security vetting, each involving additional and more in-depth checking:

  • Baseline Vetting
  • Negative Vetting Level 1
  • Negative Vetting Level 2
  • Positive Vetting

The level of security clearance required will depend on the level of classified information and resources you need to access in your position.

I think I have clearance, how can I check?

The Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) is the central agency for the processing and granting of security clearances for the majority of Australian Government agencies. Through their website you can contact them and find out if you do have a current clearance and at what level your clearance is.

How do I get a clearance?

To obtain a security clearance you need to be sponsored by an Australian Government agency, it is not possible for you to obtain a clearance without sponsorship and this is usually only provided if you are already working for the agency.

I recently completed a police check, is that the same thing?

No, completing a police check may be part of your application to obtain a security clearance however it is not enough to issue you with a clearance.

I have seen a position advertised and it says “baseline clearance required”. I don’t have a clearance, can I still apply?

According to Australian Public Service Commission’s recruitment rules, agencies, or their contracted employment service agencies are not to exclude applicants who are not holders of a current security clearance. Unfortunately, many APS contract roles require an immediate start and given the security clearance application process can take upwards of a few months, practically it is often not possible for a clearance to be granted prior to commencement and candidates with a clearance already in place are more likely to be considered for the role.

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