Serving in the military is one of the most outstanding services an individual can offer to their country. Veterans represent our country’s highest ideals, which is why we honour their service. However, transitioning from military to civilian work can be challenging for veterans for several reasons.
One great strategy for veterans seeking work in Australia is to conduct a background check. This helps to give employers the further reassurance they need to hire them. Many employers are eager to hire veterans, and having a background check increases this likelihood.
With this in mind, this article provides a quick overview of employment background check options for veterans seeking work in Australia.
Why are Background Checks Necessary for Veterans?
Whether you are a veteran or a civilian, background checks are essential for the same reasons. Among some of the most common examples are to:
- Protect the company’s assets and reputation;
- Prevent claims of negligent hiring and retention;
- Avoid workplace theft and violence;
- Maximise hiring investment;
- Ensure job competence; and
- Detect lying applicants.
That said, there is no notable difference in the scope of background checks for a military or civilian applicant. Background checks should be consistent to avoid discriminatory hiring. The only noticeable difference would be the nature of employment verification for a civilian versus a former military applicant.
Employment Background Check Options
There are several employment background check options for veterans seeking work in Australia. Some of these include:
1. Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check (NCCHC)
Australia’s NCCHC – colloquially termed police check – is an official document that lists an applicant’s criminal record. This record may include arrests, convictions, and even criminal proceedings.
In Australia, the NCCHC is coordinated by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), who work with Australian police agencies and accredited bodies to provide the National Police Checking Service (NPCS).
✔ Process for Getting a NCCHC
Step 1 – apply.
As noted above, you can submit a police check application via an accredited body or an Australian police agency. The Australian National Character Check (ANCC) is an example of an accredited body. Most police check applications are usually submitted online. You will provide your personal information, identity documents and informed consent.
This personal information would include name, date of birth and more. You will also submit up to four identification documents, of which one must be a ‘commencement of identity document’. Examples include Australian birth certification, passport, valid visa, or citizenship certificate. Other required documents are ‘secondary use in community documents, like Medicare cards and bank cards.
Finally, you must fill out a consent form to give the police agency or accredited body the right to conduct a nationally coordinated criminal history check on you.
Police checks are not free, meaning you will need to pay an application fee. This will vary based on the accredited agency you are using. For example, the ANCC currently charges a base fee of $48.90, while the Australian Federal Police currently charges a base fee of $42 for national police checks.
Step 2 – Police Checking Process
After submitting your application, the first step is a linkage process to verify your identity. This might occur in person or through an online digital communication tool like a webcam.
Once completed, your application is submitted to the National Police Checking Service. This is the national IT system managed by the ACIC that contains access to the national police database. Running your details through this system pulls out all criminal information per relevant spent convictions legislation.
Step 3 – Getting the Result
In the final stage, your check result is returned to the police agency or accredited body you submitted your check through. They then notify you of the result. For most applications, the entire police checking process takes about 24 hours. But it can take up to seven working days for applications to be referred for manual processing.
✔ How Long Does NCCHC Last?
There is no official expiry date on a national police check. However, you must realise that NCCHC is a point-in-time check, meaning it only reveals criminal offences up until the time of the check. Hence, employers typically only accept checks that are less than three or six months old.
2. Working with Children Check (WWCC)
The Working with Children Check is a compulsory requirement for individuals that work or volunteer in child-related work. This check aims to screen out people who are an unacceptable risk from working with children. This helps to keep children safe from physical, emotional, mental, and sexual abuse.
3. Credit History Check
Employers might conduct a credit history check for veterans seeking to work in finance-related roles. While employers can not check your credit score, they can access a version of your credit report containing your details, debts incurred, mortgage, credit card debt and student loans, and your payment history of those debts. This information helps employers determine whether you pose a significant financial risk. That is why it is essential to keep good credit as a veteran by having a manageable debt portfolio and making regular payments.
4. Reference Checks
Reference checks are an excellent way for employers to determine how applicants perform in a working environment. Former commanding officers are great referees for veterans as they can directly vouch for your work ethic. Reference checks also help employers verify the applicant’s working history and responsibilities.
5. Education verification
Some people lie (or bend the truth) about their academic qualifications to secure a job, posing a significant risk for employers as they may hire someone unqualified or incompetent, and in the worst case, someone that does not meet the legal requirement, opening the door for legal actions against them. Education verification helps employers ensure that you studied a particular course, graduated with the stated grades, and in the indicated year.
Employment background checks are essential to the hiring process, even for veterans. This quick article has explored some of these checks. Other checks you may undergo as a veteran include identity verification, medical screening, and more.
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