Find answers to your questions about ASIS's functions and careers.

About ASIS

  • What does ASIS do?

    ASIS is Australia's foreign intelligence collection agency. Our main function is to collect and distribute secret foreign intelligence, information which would be otherwise unavailable to Australia, in order to protect Australia and further Australian interests. ASIS is a statutory agency that provides foreign intelligence for those departments that formulate policy. Our other functions, as stated in the Intelligence Services Act 2001, include counter-intelligence activities and communicating with intelligence and security services overseas.

  • Does ASIS set its own collection requirements?

    No, we do not. Although we are a collection agency, we gather intelligence in response to government priorities only. Key agencies involved in setting the intelligence priorities for ASIS include the Office of National Intelligence (ONI), the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Department of Defence.

  • Is ASIS a member of the National Intelligence Community (NIC)?

    Yes, we are. The National Intelligence Community comprises ten agencies - the Office of National Intelligence (ONI), the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation (AGO), the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the Defence Intelligence Organisation (DIO), the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), the intelligence functions of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) and the Department of Home Affairs.

  • Who oversees ASIS's activities and expenditure?

    We are accountable to the Australian Government through the Minister for Foreign Affairs under the Intelligence Services Act 2001. ASIS's Director-General is directly responsible to the Minister, and holds regular meetings with her to discuss ASIS's activities. ASIS is subject to Parliamentary oversight through the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) which reviews our expenditure and adminstration, and other matters referred to it by the Minister or either House of Parliament. Any legal issues and the propriety of ASIS's activities are overseen by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (IGIS), who reports to the Prime Minister annually. ASIS's financial and administrative affairs are regularly audited by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO). ASIS also prepares a classified Annual Report.

  • Does ASIS collect intelligence on Australians?

    Yes, but only in special situations. On 17 September 2008, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, following consultation with the Director-General of ASIS, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security and the Attorney-General, developed written rules regulating ASIS intelligence concerning Australian persons. The Rules to Protect the Privacy of Australians state that collection on an Australian person is allowed only for authorised intelligence purpose; for example, if an Australian person was believed to pose a risk to national security, or to be acting on behalf of a foreign power. Any collection on Australian persons requires the approval of the Director-General and Minister for Foreign Affairs.

  • Does ASIS ever use torture?

    No. We act in accordance with Australian law and Australian Government policy, and do not employ torture, in the pursuit of our functions or act in a way that sanctions or encourages torture by others. The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment establishes Australia's obligations in relation to the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. No exceptional circumstances such as war, internal political instability, or any other public emergency, or an order from a superior officer or public authority may be invoked as justification for torture.

  • Do ASIS officers carry weapons?

    Yes, but only in certain circumstances and only for self-defence purposes. ASIS's legislation provides for the protection of our people. Schedule 2 of the Intelligence Services Act 2001 sets out the conditions by which ASIS officers are permitted to carry weapons.

  • What are the differences between ASIS and ASIO?

    The main difference between the two intelligence agencies is that while ASIS's function relates to obtaining foreign intelligence, ASIO's function primarily involves security intelligence from within Australia. ASIO does operate internationally, and in special situations, ASIS will gather intelligence domestically, however this work does not make up the majority of each agency's operations. Another important difference is that while human intelligence is the main focus of ASIS's work, ASIO's human intelligence collection is only one part of its mandate - as it is also an integrated collection, assessment and advisory agency.

  • How many people work for ASIS?

    We cannot reveal the number of staff we employ, for reasons of operational security.

  • Where do ASIS officers work?

    Our headquarters are in Canberra where many of our officers work. Of course, they also work overseas.

Careers Information

  • How do I become an officer in ASIS?

    If you would like to apply for a position within ASIS, please visit our Careers Pages.

  • What is the career path like?

    We can offer long-term career opportunities. Employment and promotion decisions in ASIS are based on merit, with regular promotion and internal transfer opportunities available.

  • Who can I discuss my interest in working for ASIS with?

    At this stage, you should not discuss your application with anyone, even family and friends. This may seem overly cautious but there are important reasons why, which will become clear when/if you progress through the recruitment process. If you have any questions or concerns please call the relevant number for further advice.

  • What is ASIS actually looking for in candidates?

    We are looking for highly motivated and dedicated professionals from a broad range of backgrounds and/or academic disciplines. If you want to work for ASIS, you will need to have certain attributes, which are set out in job descriptions.

  • Does ASIS employ people under work experience programs?

    Unfortunately, no. Because of the high level security clearance which every ASIS position requires, and the time it can take to obtain such a clearance, we are unable to offer work experience programs.

  • Do I need to speak other languages?

    Unless specified, it is not essential to your application. Language training is provided if you are working in an operational position where knowledge of another language is required.

  • How long will the selection process take?

    The selection process incorporates extensive security and background checking which can take some time, depending on your position and personal history. As a rough guide, Intelligence Officer applications generally take around 7-12 months from the date of application to the offer of employment.

  • Where are jobs located?

    Our team works in Canberra with some roles given the opportunity to undertake postings in a range of overseas locations.

  • Can I transfer to ASIS from my current job in the APS or ADF?

    While APS or ADF members are eligible to apply for any advertised vacancy, they will have to compete on merit with other applicants for each position. There are no special arrangements with the Australian Public Services (APS) or Australian Defence Force (ADF) for members to transfer directly to ASIS. However, some conditions of service may be recognised (E.g., long-service leave).

  • I already have a security clearance for my current job. Will this make the application process quicker for me?

    In some cases a current security clearance will speed up the application process. Everyone applying for a job in ASIS is required to go through extensive security and background checking. The time required to complete these checks may be reduced if you currently hold a security clearance however this depends on the type of clearance previously held, the agency for which the clearance was issued, and how recently the clearance was issued or re-evaluated.

  • I have dual Australian-foreign citizenship. Does ASIS have guidelines regarding the use of my foreign passport?

    All applicants must have Australian citizenship. Employees of ASIS may have dual Australian-foreign citizenship, but it is a condition of employment that you do not use your foreign citizenship for the period of your employment with ASIS, including not using your foreign passport for overseas travel.

Application Information