Right to work

In keeping with the provisions of the Migration Act (1958), Federation University is responsible for ensuring that all its employees have the right to work in Australia. Breaches of this legislation can result in fines of up to "$66,000 per illegal worker and/or two years imprisonment".

When making an offer of any type of employment (except in the case of a secondment), the Delegated Officer or the Chair of the Merit Selection Panel must establish whether the person to be offered employment has the right to work in Australia. (Applicants without the right to work in Australia may still apply for a position with Federation University. In some cases the University may assist the successful applicant in obtaining the right to work.)

Any person who is to be made an employment offer must provide proof of their right to work by presenting:

  • a full Australian birth certificate for a person born before 20 August 1986 and another form of photo identification such as a driver's licence; or
  • an Australian citizenship certificate or a certificate of evidence of Australian citizenship and another form of photo identification such as a driver's licence; or
  • a full Australian birth certificate for a person born on or after 20 August 1986 showing that at least one parent was born in Australia and another form of photo identification such as a driver's licence; or
  • an Australian passport; or
  • a valid visa with work rights.

It is important this process is followed even if the person has been employed by the University before, as a visa status and right to work may have changed.

The University must ensure staff have the right to work in Australia on commencement of their employment however, the employee is responsible for advising the University should their visa conditions change at any time during their employment.

The Delegated Officer or Chair of the Merit Selection Panel must sign 'as sighted' a copy of the original document. The signed copy is then to be attached to the relevant recruitment forms.

Fixed-term and continuing contracts

Applicants without the right to work may apply for continuing appointments with the University. The University may assist the applicant gain the right to work by lodging an Employer nomination for Permanent Residency under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme. The nomination application must be lodged before the visa application. If Permanent Residency is granted, the University must sight the relevant documentation and place a copy on the personnel file.

Full full details on the procedures and implications of sponsorship, please refer to the section on Migration/Sponsorship or visit the DIAC website.

Casual/sessional staff

Proof of right to work documentation must be supplied for all new casual/sessional contracts and failure to do so may result in employees not receiving payment. The University must have this information prior to engaging the employee.


People visiting Australia from overseas do so under a visa or similar arrangement. In all cases, their "visa notification" will clearly state whether or not they have the right to work, and any restrictions on that right.

Some individuals will have permanent residency. This means they still hold an overseas passport, but their Australian visa allows them full permanent resident rights, including the right to work.


Often casual employees from overseas will be international students. If DIAC restrictions are creating a problem for a student, the student should be encouraged to seek support and advice from International Student Programs or the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

If a student has the right to work, but their visa limits the number of hours they can work, the student must abide by such restrictions. If the University becomes aware a student is working too many hours, the University must not continue to employ the student, and should advise the student to seek support from International Student Programs on how to manage their work appropriately.

What to do if a prospective employee does not have acceptable proof of right to work

If employees do not have any of the acceptable proof of right to work documentation they should be directed to the following organisations for assistance:

For a full Australian birth certificate

The Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages issues birth certificates for the relevant state or territory. The Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages are:

For proof of citizenship

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) provides proof of citizenship.

Record keeping of right to work

Based on advice obtained from DIAC, employers must keep signed 'as sighted' copies of right to work. People and Culture maintains personnel files for all fixed-term and continuing employees of the University. Right to work is maintained on these files. Casual and sessional employees' right to work is kept on file by Payroll and also recorded in the HRMIS system.

Schools/Sections/Directorates must not retain paper-based or electronic copies of right to work documentation on file. Any scanned right to work documents should be promptly deleted once the information has been provided to People and Culture. This is imperative due to privacy requirements concerning personal details

Where an employee is offered further employment with the University and People and Culture does have valid proof of right to work, you are not required to submit it again. It would be appreciated if it could be noted on casual/sessional contracts that right to work has been provided previously.


Where a prospective employee is on a visa and the work entitlements are not clear, please provide People and Culture with a signed 'as sighted' copy of the person's photo identification passport page. People and Culture will then conduct a right to work check through the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's VEVO services.

More information can be found by referring to the University's Recruitment and Merit Selection Procedure.

Further information

For full details regarding migration and the right to work, please refer to the DIAC website.