Frequently Asked Questions
If you need ongoing access to security-classified resources relating to the Australian Government, you must hold a security clearance at the appropriate level. A clearance is not required if you only require access to unclassified resources. In reality, if you want to work in or with the Australian Government sector, you would be wise to seek a security clearance.
Baseline: Classified resources up to and including PROTECTED.
Negative Vetting Level 1: Classified resources up and including SECRET.
Negative Vetting Level 2: Classified resources up to and including TOP SECRET.
Positive Vetting: Classified resources up to and including TOP SECRET, including some caveated information.
An initial security clearance is based on an evaluation of your personal circumstances at the time. Clearly, your circumstances can evolve such that the changes might impact your suitability to hold a clearance. Unless unusual circumstances arise to cause a review, clearances are subject to routine review after:
Baseline: 15 years
NV1: 10 years
NV2: 7 years
PV: 7 years (plus an annual appraisal)
No. You should apply for the level of clearance appropriate to the level of classified material to which you will require regular access.
The list of requirements is extensive. Rather than attempt to list all requirements here, we refer you to the AGSVA page at https://www.defence.gov.au/security/clearances/applicants-holders/vetting-assessment-process.
The list of requirements is extensive. Rather than attempt to list all requirements here, we refer you to the AGSVA page here.
Your ADCG advisor will help you through the data collation and reporting process if required but can’t complete the forms for you due to privacy considerations.
A clearance is deactivated when an agency, employer or other sponsor withdraws their sponsorship of an individual. This is most likely to occur at the termination of a project or of equivalent full-time employment. A sponsor may also choose to withdraw their sponsorship of an individual where they have breached the standards set for clearance holders, specifically in relation to honesty, trustworthiness, maturity, tolerance, resilience and loyalty.
AGSVA’s record for an individual identifies a reactivatable level (which may differ from the level held previously). A new sponsor can generally reactivate a clearance, but it is not automatic. When the transition gap becomes extended due to “life getting in the way of work” brought about by extended holidays, full-time study, intensive home renovation, ill health, Covid-related issues or other normal life activities, simple reactivation might become a problem. You may be required to submit a Change of Circumstances form to support the reactivation process. Contact your ADCG Security Advisor to reactivate your clearance.
When you change jobs and still need to hold a security clearance, it is in your interest to ensure that your new employer registers their sponsorship of your clearance before your former employer removes sponsorship. Not doing so may result in your security clearance being deactivated due to not having a sponsor. Even people leaving uniformed service must comply with this requirement. ADCG regularly assists in this transition.
AGSVA will advise you by email of the details of the clearance you have been granted. No certificate is issued. This email can be shown to any potential employer, if required. However, a Security Officer in a potential employer organisation is obliged to check your security clearance status before commencement of employment.
If requested by a sponsored client, ADCG will issue a letter to interested parties stating the level of clearance held.
If the project agency is your clearance sponsor, your clearance will be cancelled. If the project is transferred to another agency, sponsorship of your clearance can be transferred at the discretion of the new agency.
If ADCG is your clearance sponsor, no change in the project will affect your clearance.
AGSVA is clear in stating, “Individuals are not eligible to sponsor a security clearance.”
A clearance will only be sustained if an authorised sponsor is prepared to continue or pick up/transfer the sponsorship. ADCG sponsors clearances for the life of the clearance. This means that holders can change contracts or permanent employment and not have their clearance status affected for even one day. Our experience has shown examples of government agencies being reluctant to pick up sponsorship from another agency during project transition leaving contractors in a difficult position – a problem fixed by ADCG! Ongoing sponsorship by ADCG completely removes these elements of “project friction”.
A government agency is obliged to ensure that its employees are sponsored at a level appropriate for the work it wants them to carry out. Contractors to government are also obliged to ensure that their employees are appropriately sponsored for a clearance, either directly or through a specialist like ADCG. There is no requirement for any employer to sponsor an upgrade to a level higher than the current work demands.
ADCG sponsors a number of full-time public servants to a higher level than their agency was prepared to sponsor. This has occurred because applicants had wished to prepare themselves for promotion opportunities where a higher clearance level was required.
There are very special provisions for foreign nationals to be granted a clearance. It is a rare occurrence. Even ADCG with our experience was unable to get a clearance approved for a retired one-star from one of Australia’s partner 5-eyes nations (who had previously held a related clearance in his homeland). In practical terms, you do need to be an Australian citizen!
A police check is part of the vetting process. There is no point in attempting to hide your history when completing your application. Honesty and Trustworthiness are traits on which you will be assessed. ADCG’s experience is that a police record will not necessarily prevent you from gaining a clearance, especially if you have been honest in declaring it in your application.
AGSVA are currently targeting processing times as follows. However, it is on a ‘case-by-case’ basis depending on the quality, complexity and accuracy of information you provide:
Baseline: 20 working days
Negative Vetting 1 (NV1): 70 working days
Negative Vetting 2 (NV2): 100 working days
Note that these are average processing times from when AGSVA confirms receipt (by email) of the electronic lodgement (ePack) and all supporting documents at which time the Vetting process will begin.
ADCG cannot influence the speed of this important process. However, we can help individuals reduce the time it takes to submit the required information in their ePack with good and experienced advice. The level of a candidate’s personal organisation will affect their ability to collate information for the ePack – it can take a few days or a few weeks. If the ePack is incomplete after around six weeks, the application may be cancelled.
We would also note that AGSVA has recently been seeing extended processing times due to Covid-induced staff shortages. We expect matters to normalise early in 2022. Contact your ADCG Security Advisor for up-to-date information on processing times.