Back to top

Surveillance Officer

Being a Surveillance Officer is both a professional and a lifestyle commitment. They are highly competent specialists who adapt to their surroundings to covertly achieve their task, operating as part of a cohesive operational team within a high-tempo and challenging security environment, both on foot and with a range of supporting vehicles. Using specialist equipment designed to meet the challenges of the covert operating environment (including high-tech photographic, technical and IT systems). Surveillance Officers play a critical role in helping ASIO identify, investigate and provide advice on threats to security. 

The Role and Requirements 

ASIO's mission is to identify and investigate threats to security and provide advice to protect Australia, its people and its interests. 

Physical surveillance is an essential ASIO collection capability.  It supports the wider ASIO mission through the provision of time sensitive intelligence.  

The role of a Surveillance Officer is not an ordinary job.  It is both a profession and a lifestyle commitment. ASIO operates in a complex and ever changing environment and success in this environment demands talented people who are highly capable, dedicated, adaptable and resilient.

Surveillance Officers are highly competent specialists who are capable of adapting to their surroundings in order to covertly undertake their role.  

Australia has a highly diverse population so it is vital that ASIO has a diverse range of individuals who can operate and blend into a wide range of operating environments.

Working Environment 

Surveillance Officers undertake “shift work” and operate for extended periods both indoors and outdoors. 

By way of example, you will be expected to:  

  • maintain operational security. You will not be able to discuss your everyday work with others;
  • sustain vigilant observation during periods of heightened activity and during periods of extended inactivity;
  • respond to operational tasking at very short notice, which may include the necessity to work extended periods and to travel interstate at short notice;
  • be capable of spending extended periods (~ 8 hour shift) within a static vehicle, during both the peaks of summer and in winter; and
  • maintain your health and fitness to a standard that ensures you can operate ‘on foot’ (walking, running and standing) for extended periods, in various weather conditions. 

Surveillance Officer - Eligibility

To be eligible to apply, you must be:

  • in Australia and available at all stages of the selection, assessment and vetting processes;
  • an Australian Citizen with a checkable background. We cannot progress your application if you are awaiting citizenship;
  • willing to undergo a medical assessment clearance; 
  • willing to undergo an extensive security clearance process including drug testing;
  • willing to relocate to Sydney for up to six months for initial training and thereafter, be able to relocate to a geographic location at the Organisation’s request, noting you may not be based where you currently reside (posting location is Sydney, with likely positions in Melbourne and Canberra over the next 12 months).
  • Able to frequently travel interstate, often at short notice.

You must also:

  • Hold a current ‘C Class’ driver’s licence (for at least 3 years) and be eligible to qualify for a driver’s licence in any state or territory of Australia;
  • Have normal colour perception that enables clear delineation between red and green and no issues with “night blindness”;
  • There are fundamental physical and psychological capabilities an ASIO Surveillance Officer (SO) must possess in order to undertake the role safely and effectively.  These include the ability to maintain high levels of attention, concentration and memory when under pressure, to effectively communicate verbally with a wide variety of persons, to walk without significant discomfort for several kilometres, drive a motor vehicle confidently and competently for extended periods of time in various traffic environments, and to sit without significant discomfort for extended periods of time in various environments, including public locations. 

The assessment process will include a criminal history check. If you have a criminal history and or have received a significant number of traffic infringements, you will not be considered for the role.  

Relocation assistance may be provided to successful candidates if, upon completion of the Surveillance Training Program, the Organisation requests that you relocate. Further information on relocation assistance will be provided to successful candidates.

ASIO Security Clearance

Everyone who works in ASIO is required to hold the highest level of security clearance in Australia (Top Secret Positive Vetting). To be eligible, you need to be an Australian Citizen and have a checkable background.

More Information about security clearances.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1.  Where will I be based for the Surveillance Training Program?

Successful applicants will undertake a six month full-time Surveillance Training Program in Sydney which will require some travel and periods away. The training includes a defensive driving training course, mentor program, recruit training course and on-the-job training. 

2.  Will I be required to organise accommodation for the period of the Surveillance Training Program?

No.  The Organisation will book and cover the expense of accommodation during the first 12 weeks of the training program.  Upon workplace posting at week 13 the Organisation may cover relocation costs and temporary accommodation if the Organisation requests you relocate.

3.  What will my starting salary be?

The Organisation offers competitive salary rates as per the relevant classification in our advertisements. Superannuation is paid on top of salary at a rate of 15.4% of your fortnightly contribution salary.  Successful applicants undertaking physical surveillance duties will also be eligible for an additional allowance of 30% of their annual base salary (composite payment).

4.  If I join the Organisation from an Australian Government Department, will my leave entitlements/prior service be transferred/recognised?

You may be eligible to transfer your leave entitlements and receive recognition of prior service with approved employers for the purposes of long service leave and personal leave. If you are offered a role, Pay Services can provide specific guidance based on your personal circumstances.

5.  Does the Organisation offer remuneration packaging

Yes, the Organisation does offer remuneration packaging. If you are offered a role, Pay Services can provide you with further information.

6.  How many positions are currently available? 

Positions become available periodically and we are unable to specify numbers.

7.  Why is there a three year requirement on my driver’s licence? 

Three years of driving experience after obtaining a licence ensures all applicants are on an “open” licence. In states where “P” plates are required for three years after obtaining a licence, the applicant will have to be off their “P” plates upon commencement of the Surveillance Officer Training Program.

8.  Must I be an Australian Citizen? 

Yes, we cannot progress your application if you are awaiting citizenship.

9.  Why do I require eyesight with normal colour perception? 

Normal colour perception is required in respect to ensuring accuracy of reporting e.g. blue car/purple car, green shirt/red shirt, and also in relation to safety when driving.

10.  Why do I have to be willing to relocate? 

Positions are dependent on Organisational requirements. Surveillance Officers are considered a national resource, as such it is a requirement of the Organisation that you acknowledge this and are willing to relocate if required.

11.  Will I get my own car? 

In general, as a Surveillance Officer you will have access to an Organisational motor vehicle (OMV). If due to operational requirements, this is not the case then arrangements will be made for you to be picked up prior to a shift. Vehicles are an Organisational resource. As such, only officers employed by the Organisation are authorised to operate them. 

12.  Is it a safe job? 

The training provided will equip you with all the skills you need to be an effective Surveillance Officer whilst ensuring your safety. Our people are our top priority when it comes to making sure they are able to take care of themselves and their team.

13.  Do I need to have knowledge of photographic and technical equipment for the role? 

Successful candidates will be taught how to use specific equipment. Whilst being familiar with photographic or technical equipment would be an advantage, an aptitude to learn these skills is more important.

14.  Why do I have to be able to carry 12kg and lift and move 32kg? 

Given Surveillance Officers are required to travel as part of their employment; these weights are an indication based on current checked and unchecked baggage allowances. Surveillance Officers also employ a range of equipment which falls within these weight ranges.

15.  What are my leave entitlements?

A generous range of leave entitlements are available to staff:

  • Annual leave - 4 weeks per year
  • Purchased leave - up to 4 weeks per year
  • Personal leave - 20 days per year
  • Long Service Leave
  • Compassionate and Bereavement leave                
  • Maternity/Parental leave
  • Australian Defence Force (ADF) Reserves leave

Note:  Leave balances listed are for full time employees. Part time employees will be credited leave on a pro rata basis.

16.  Does the Organisation offer flexible working arrangements?

Yes, flexible working arrangements are used to achieve a balance between work and personal lives. Flexible working arrangements are not suited to all roles within the Organisation and must be discussed and negotiated on commencement with the individual’s direct supervisor.  Noting Candidates will need to be able to work full-time hours, plus additional hours as required, throughout the Program.