How to become a Border Force Officer

Border Force officers manage the security and integrity of Australia's borders. They mainly work at international airports, seaports or outposts along the Australian coastline. Border Force officers check passengers and crew before clearing them for entry into Australia. They check international mail, passenger luggage and other cargo of ships and aircraft to prevent the illegal entry into Australia of prohibited, quarantined or dutiable goods.

Personal requirements of a Border Force Officer

  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Flexible and resourceful
  • Good organisational and planning skills
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Courteous and efficient
  • High ethical standards
  • Able to deal with increasingly sophisticated technologies
  • Able to pass a medical and fitness examination
  • Able to satisfy security requirements
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Australian citizenship

Education & Training for a Border Force Officer

There are a number of entry pathways into the Border Force. This includes entering as a Border Force Recruit, a graduate trainee or through general recruitment. You can work as a Border Force Recruit without formal qualifications. To enter the Border Force Recruit program you must be over 18, hold or be willing to obtain a drivers licence, be an Australian citizen and undergo medical, fitness and security assessments. Training is provided on the job, with successful applicants undertaking a 12-month recruit training program before becoming a Level 3 officer. To become a graduate trainee you need to complete a 3-year or equivalent bachelor degree at an Australian university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. Graduate trainees are introduced to a diverse range of work within the organisation through an intensive 10-month training program. The program includes rotational work placements and formal training. General ‘above base’ recruitment entry is available to individuals applying for specific roles, based on their previous experience and qualifications.

Duties & Tasks of a Border Force Officer

Border Force officers may perform the following tasks:

  • process and assess risk levels of all passengers and crew entering or leaving Australia
  • board ships and aircraft to check compliance with regulations and search for undocumented cargo and people or prohibited goods
  • check documents, examine luggage and clear goods for import or export
  • seize and destroy prohibited imports
  • respond to public and industry enquiries
  • engage with clients, travelers and the general public
  • collect tariffs and duty, and refund GST to tourists
  • monitor security in Border Force controlled areas, including wharves and airport tarmac areas
  • perform administrative work as required.

Working conditions for a Border Force Officer

Border Force officers are multiskilled and usually work as part of a team or under general supervision. Most officers work closely with the public and related industry personnel. During initial training and in the early stages of their careers, officers can expect to be moved through a number of different areas. This may include periods of transfer to different locations around Australia depending on operational requirements. Some work areas require shiftwork and overtime.

Employment Opportunities for a Border Force Officer

All available positions are advertised based on operational requirements on the Border Force website or through the Australian Public Service website (www.apsjobs.gov.au).

Additional Information
The Border Force participates in the Australian Public Service Commission’s Indigenous Pathways program to engage entry-level Indigenous Cadetships and Indigenous graduates (www.apsc.gov.au/priorities/indigenous). An entry-level recruitment program is also available specifically for Torres Strait Islanders to join the National Marine Unit for 12 months as seagoing crew.
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