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Protocol Guidelines

Protocol Guidelines 5.4 Employment in Australia

Members of the Diplomatic and Consular corps may not seek secondary employment or undertake activities for personal gain.

5.4.1 Dependants' employment

Dependants of diplomatic and consular officials, and of representatives of international organisations, are not permitted to work in Australia unless:

  • there is an arrangement in place between the sending State and Australia on bilateral employment of dependants; and
  • notification of an intention to work is received by DFAT.

Arrangements are established by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). A model MoU [DOCX]. Missions wishing to commence negotiations should write to the Chief of Protocol.

A mission is required, on behalf of the dependant, to notify DFAT of their intention to commence employment using the Notice of Intention to Engage in Gainful Employment form [PDF 5.56 MB], which should be emailed to Protocol Branch prior to commencing employment. The dependant must agree to:

  • pay Australian tax on the income earned
  • remain part of the diplomatic or consular official's household
  • have his/her immunity waived, should the need arise in relation to an issue relating to his/her employment.

Where a dependant seeks additional employment or a change of employment, the mission is required to submit a new Notice of Intention. Where a dependant seeks a type of employment that requires a qualification or approval from an Australian professional or industry organisation, the dependant will need to seek separate approval from the relevant organisation.

5.4.2 Claiming a refund of Australian superannuation contributions

Dependants can claim a refund of superannuation contributions they have made while employed in Australia. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) recommends dependants lodge claims two to three weeks after departing Australia, as refunds will not be made until their subclass 995 visa has ceased.

Dependants should call the ATO superannuation hotline on 13 10 20 (in Australia) or +61 2 6216 1111 (overseas) for information on the refund process.

5.4.3 Voluntary work

Diplomatic and consular officials and their dependants do not require prior approval from DFAT to undertake voluntary work. They do need to be aware, however, that should any legal matters arise in relation to their voluntary service, a waiver of diplomatic immunity could be requested.

Information on volunteering in Canberra is available from Volunteering ACT.

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