Employment background check requirements for Australian health workers

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the health care sector has had to assume more employment than ever before, but this does not mean that getting a job in this domain is easy. Since working in health care implies assuming a lot of responsibilities, job applicants go through a complex screening process to make sure they are up to this.

Health care checks

Yes, you need to be reasonably healthy to work in health care. Stands to reason since these are stressful jobs with long hours and strenuous work.

All job applicants need to undergo a health assessment prior to getting the job. In most cases, this is quite easy and all you have to do is complete a Health Declaration online. If the position you’re applying for has special requirements you might be asked to undergo further health checks.

Since you’ll be working around sick people, you need to have your immunization shots in order. In most cases, you will be required to declare your TB status, but for certain jobs you might be asked about specific vaccines.

National police checks

People working in health care are required to submit to a pre-employment background check. In most cases, when you go to your job interview you will be asked to consent to a police check. At the same time, you will be asked to present a Criminal History Declaration together with your CV.

Make sure to list any convictions on your record since you will probably have to present a national police certificate as well.

As far as background checks are concerned, you probably won’t have to do anything about those. Once you’ve given your written consent your prospective employer can order a background check on you using the services of an online character check agency.

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Foreign nationals applying for a job in health care in Australia will be required to submit a background check issued by their local police.

How about working with children?

Health care employees working in pediatric hospitals or interacting with children on a regular basis, will need to undergo a Working With Children Check. These checks are way more comprehensive than basic national police certificates. For instance, once you apply for a WWCC clearance number any spent convictions you might have will also be disclosed, something that does not happen during a regular background check.

The cost of obtaining a WWCC permit is $80. People who volunteer to work for a children’s organisation can get their permit for free, but keep in mind that you cannot use that for paid employment.

A WWCC is valid for three years, after which you will have to apply to have it renewed.

How about working with vulnerable adults?

Australian law is very strict when it comes to health care personnel working with vulnerable adults. Since most of these are almost fully dependent on their carers, health care institutions need to make sure they employ trustworthy people. At the very least, you will have to complete an Aged Care Statutory Declaration stating that you have never been convicted for any type of assault, including sexual assault, or for murder. Keep in mind that making false statements in a statutory declaration is an offence punishable by a four years prison sentence.

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