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Pre-employment Screening in Australia

The information on this webpage is to be read in conjunction with this disclaimer:
Australian National Character Check (ANCC) makes every effort to provide updated and accurate information to its customers. However due to the continuously changing nature of legislations for the Commonwealth and various States and Territories, it is inevitable that some information may not be up to date. The information on the website is general information only. The contents on the website do not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, suitability, accuracy or availability with respect to the information.

Recruitment periods are some of the hardest and most important part of an organisation's process, irrespective of the sector. It is no wonder many organisations outsource this task to third-party recruiting agencies.

Sometimes it is just like you get the perfect candidate for a role, and you turn to other criteria, and they fall short. It is similar to an ever lopsided see-saw; you are left with balancing the see-saw using the most amenable applicant.

What Organisations Must show during Screening

Any organisation or third-party agency that handles the recruitment process must employ due diligence and vigilance on their potential candidate.

Beyond standard interviews, there are other key assessments employers must consider before issuing the candidate a formal letter of employment.

Some of the important assessments are;

  1. Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks (Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks)
  2. Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO Check)
  3. Working with Children Check; where the role relates to working with children and is a regulated activity
  4. Working with Vulnerable People check (in the ACT and Tasmania)
  5. NDIS Worker Screening Check (for NDIS related roles only)

What do these assessments do?

Like all assessments, the certificates from any of the tests or checks provide employers with useful knowledge of the individual.

For some roles like working with children, it is mandatory in the law to request at least the Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check result along with a Working with Children Check.

The primary assessment all organisations should carry out include;

  1. Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check

There are very few circumstances or situations where you will not need a police check assessment. It is perhaps the most important form of assessment in Australia and can be issued by

A local police agency


Accredited service providers like Australian National Character Check (ANCC)

However, no matter who issues the police check for employment purposes, the results/content is the same. There may be small formatting differences in the certificate, however both (from a local police agency or from ANCC are equally valid). The Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check contains all convictions details of the candidates per the State or Territory’s release legislation;

  • Criminal records disclosure laws, and

Police checks are usually issued relative to the position the candidate is vying for. Therefore, the convictions the employer will find (if any) will all be related to the role the company offers. It makes it thus easier to assess the candidate’s suitability to the role based on their character.

Although the nationally coordinated criminal history check does not expire, the employer can request/conduct an updated check anytime (if the certificate is older than 3 months).

The police check discloses all the candidate's interactions with the Australian legal system like;

Or else the nationally coordinated criminal history check returns as No Disclosable Court Outcomes.

Business and enterprise customers can streamline the ordering, tracking and results of police checks via the ANCC business portal which is used by businesses and enterprises all over Australia and internationally.

  1. Working with Children Check (WWCC)

If the role offered requires the candidate to;

  • Be in proximity of children, vulnerable, aged, or,
  • Even have anything to do with them;

They must submit a WWCC or a Working with Vulnerable Check as applied in the jurisdiction.

The Working with Children Check is the single acceptable assessment in Australia if the candidate has to "work" around/with children.

The results provide the employer or requesting party the records of the candidate especially relating to children/minors/juveniles like;

Although the WWCC legislations may vary among the States, the importance of working in child-related roles remains unshaken.

Some of the roles where an employer must review the candidate’s WWCC are;

  • Medical or Healthcare related jobs
  • Educators and Teachers
  • School bus drivers or CPV drivers
  • Nannies, Private Home Tutors, Cooks, and so on.
  • School Counsellors and other non-admin staff
  • Public workers who work with children
  • Caregivers to the old and vulnerable.

The WWCC is only valid for the period specified, and it varies among the different States and territories. Furthermore, it is a non-transferable document and it cannot be transferred between States and Territories.

  1. Right to Work in Australia Check (VEVO Check)

It is easy for an employee to commit a crime or reckless action if they have no database or documentation to work in the country. The Australian government imposes harsh punishment on any organisation that has employed an illegal worker.

The VEVO (Visa Entitlement Verification Online) is an authentic document that shows the employer that the holder has legal status to work in Australia. And it remains as valid as the period of their Visa.

The VEVO assessment will disclose to the employer information such as;

  • Nature and expiry date of the applicant's Visa
  • The "must not arrive after the" date of the Visa holder.
  • Legal conditions of the Visa and the period of stay
  • Limitations to your Visa
  • Hours you are allowed to work depending on the visa type

All these assist the employer in preparing the suitable offers, including roles and no working hours.

  1. Medical Assessments or Checks

One of the information not disclosed in any of the assessments above is the medical tests.

If the role involves exposure to certain routines, chemicals or environments, the employers must request/conduct a medical test.

The tests must provide important details about the candidate's health status, conditions, allergy, running ailments, medications, doctor's report and other conditions the employer specifies.

An employer can either switch their role or terminate the process if it is considered inimical to the candidate's health.

  1. Psychological assessment

The employer can also conduct psychological and evaluation tests if they think it is necessary to the role. An example amongst hundred others is the Meyers-Briggs test of the candidate's personality.

  1. Employment History Check

The employer can take the extra steps to verify the candidate’s information about their previous place of employment. It ensures that the person has not lied about their job title, salary scale, accomplishments, conducts or other disciplinary involvements.

  1. Security and related Clearances

For some roles, the employee may be privy to some information. However, this information is esoteric and requires the most upright and scrupulous people.

The candidate, including their friends and older colleagues, may be subject to questioning, interviews and other forms of assessments.

The necessary security clearance is done after the Police checks.

  1. Professional Membership Association Check

In sectors where membership of a professional body influences employment, the employer must verify that the potential employee belongs to such body.

You can do it through a simple electronic correspondence to the professional body or an in-person verification.

Other pre-employment screening processes should also follow Australian Laws and as related to the Role offered.

Other important Checks are;

  • License Checks
  • Educational History verification
  • Fitness Tests

Candidates Consent

Sometimes, the employer may obtain/carry out the necessary tests/Checks on behalf of the candidate. While this is not bad, employers should do it with the written consent of the candidate. It is a breach of the Privacy Act and Public Conduct to conduct a test about a candidate without their approval or consent.

If the candidate refuses the assessment, you can propose alternatives, or withdraw the offer.

What laws must employers comply with?

While pre-screening is very important for employers to get the most qualified and scrupulous candidates, they must not break any of the laws while conducting it.

Here are some of the laws to watch out for when pre-screening your candidates;

  • Privacy Laws

The employer must treat all personal details of candidates or applicants as sensitive documents at all times. The use and implementation of personal info is described in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

Employers will face serious punishment for any breach of the privacy laws.

Is Pre-employment Screening Transferable Between States?

Not all Checks are transferable inter-states. However, it depends on the content and purpose of the check.

While a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check may be transferable within the Commonwealth for the same purpose, a WWCC is not.

Medical tests, Educational and employment history may also be transferred.

When Should I conduct a Screening Check?

Due to the stress it may take to carry out these tests on every applicant, it is prudent to do the pre-screening just before the formal employment offer.

The Pre-screening Check should be the final step of the tests and interview before the candidate gets the job.

Copyright & Disclaimer

The content on this website is communicated to you on behalf of Australian National Character Check™ (ANCC®) pursuant to Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act).

The material in this communication may be subject to copyright under the Act. Any further reproduction of this material may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act.

You may include a link on your website pointing to this content for commercial, educational, governmental or personal use.

The contents of this website do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice.

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About ANCC

ANCC® enables individuals and approved legal entities to apply for a nationally coordinated criminal history check, which is commonly referred to as a national police check. The nationally coordinated criminal history check is valid all over Australia and can be used when applying for Employment, Probity, Licencing, or Commonwealth check purposes. Get discount police checks online. We beat prices!


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