Graduate development programme

On this page:

With almost 15,000 employees across every Australian state and territory, and in 52 locations around the globe, we offer graduates more interesting opportunities and experiences than most government agencies.

Who we are

We are an innovative, high-profile global agency responsible for protecting Australia’s border, and managing the movement of people and goods across it.

The work we do supports the Australian Government to achieve:

  • strong national security
  • a strong economy
  • a prosperous and cohesive society.

Following the integration of the former Department of Immigration and Citizenship with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, the new department has an expanded policy, service delivery and law enforcement role, which brings with it a unique opportunity to join an organisation that touches almost every part of Australian life. These opportunities extend to industry and commerce, trade and travel, our national security, the protection of our community, the enforcement of our laws, the security of our maritime resources outside Australia and environment, and the collection of revenue for the Australian Government.

A career with us means you could be working to provide frontline service delivery, making a difference to people’s lives in the visa and citizenship centres, shaping the trade and travel policy of the future, or developing innovative systems that support your colleagues in all facets of their work.

We are looking for graduates who will grow with us into the future. Strong leadership, shared values and culture, and a professional workforce are essential to our success.

To be part of our team you’ll need to be motivated, flexible and have great collaboration and communication skills. You will also require the highest levels of integrity and professionalism to support our values and mission.

The Graduate Development Programme

The Graduate Development Programme is a 10 month programme designed to provide graduates with a range of work experiences within the Department.

Following selection and commencement with the Department, Graduates receive ongoing support from orientation and induction programmes to ongoing Learning and Development opportunities.

We recruit graduates in four development streams:

  • generalist
  • Indigenous
  • Information Communication Technology (ICT)
  • Intelligence.

Candidates with the following qualifications are encouraged to apply, however, we also consider graduates from other disciplines:

  • accounting
  • analytics
  • architecture
  • big data
  • business administration
  • cloud computing
  • commerce
  • criminology, cybercrime, forensics
  • economics
  • governance
  • industrial relations
  • information technology
  • international and/or Asian studies
  • journalism
  • law
  • marketing
  • mathematics and statistics
  • media
  • organisational psychology
  • policy
  • project management
  • public relations
  • sciences and social sciences (geographical spatial science)
  • strategic communication.

Our graduate recruitment process is comprehensive and involves a number of stages. You should read each stage in detail, before you submit an application.

Due to the suitability and assessment requirements, the recruitment process can take up to six months from the time your application is considered to an offer of engagement being made.

Minimum requirements

Our graduates are required to:

  • have a minimum three year undergraduate degree obtained in the last five years
  • have maintained a credit (or equivalent) average throughout your university degree
  • hold Australian citizenship at the time of application
  • obtain and maintain an Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) clearance and Departmental Employment Suitability Clearance (ESC)
  • be willing to relocate to Canberra, if required.

Stage 1 – Online application

Create an account to register and use the online recruitment website.

You will receive an email when you submit your application to confirm it has been received. You will also receive profile information so you can log into your applicant account and see updates/notifications, download documents, complete assessments and make changes to your personal information.

You must read this and all other emails that you receive carefully as they will provide important next step information. If you do not receive the email, check the Spam/Junk folder of your email account.

Make sure you have the following personal details available:

  • personal particulars
  • current employment details
  • work experience
  • responses to the selection criteria
  • resume.

If you realise you have made an error or want to make a change to a section after submitting your application, you will be able to log back into your application profile.

You can make changes to most sections of your application. You will also be able to reset your password or withdraw your application if you no longer want to be considered for a graduate position.

After the closing date you will only be able to make changes to your profile information (for example, your contact details).

Stage 2 - Online psychometric testing

The online psychometric test includes cognitive and competency based assessment. The assessment measures four competencies, including:

  • adapting and responding
  • working with people
  • relating and networking
  • deciding and initiating action.

Stage 3 - Cognitive ability testing

The cognitive ability test is a 30 minute timed ability assessment delivered in a fully online format. The assessment measures verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning ability, providing a balanced measure of general cognitive ability. It is an established predictor of future job performance and job-related learning abilities.

If you progress through stages 1 – 3 you will be invited to attend an Assessment Centre.

Stage 4 - Emotional Intelligence (EI) test

The EI test is a 40 minute ability assessment, delivered in a fully online format. The assessment measures perceiving emotions, facilitating thought, understanding emotions and managing emotions. EI affects how we manage behaviour, navigate social complexities and make decisions.

Stage 5 - Assessment centre

Assessment Centres will be held in most capital cities in Australia. We will conduct telephone interviews for applicants from remote areas or for people outside Australia. The Assessment Centre process involves three areas of activity:

  • work scenario
  • group activity
  • panel interview.

The process will take approximately three hours and preparation is essential to do well in the interview.

The interview process is similar to any professional job interview; make sure you approach it like one:

  • Present yourself well and dress appropriately.
  • Speak clearly.
  • Know your resume and be able to expand on it if asked.
  • Know the job you are applying for, read the job description and research the website.
  • Show interest and enthusiasm, we want to know you want to work with us.
  • Ask for clarification if you are unsure of anything.

Stage 6 – Referee report(s)

Referee reports are used to seek information about your employment history, qualifications, experience and role suitability. They also provide the selection panel with the opportunity to seek clarification on matters discussed during your assessment.

Stage 7 – Security requirements

We operate in a position of trust within the Australian community. Our employees are provided with significant powers to support the efficient and effective management of the Australian border.

To maintain the confidence of the Australian Government and the community, it is essential that all employees demonstrate and adhere to the highest standards of integrity and ethical behaviour - both in their official and private capacities.

Before you can be offered a position, you must first undergo a rigorous pre-employment character and integrity suitability screening process.

To work with us, you must be able to:

  • obtain and maintain the required AGSVA clearance
  • obtain and maintain an Employment Suitability Clearance (ESC).

If you do not already hold a valid security clearance, we will send you the relevant security packs that must be completed and returned before you commence work. We will assess if there is any risk associated with granting access to classified information. That assessment will be based, among other things, on advice from the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

You should be aware that the security processes can be intrusive in nature and include (but is not limited to) detailed background, character, employment, police and financial checks.

How and when we notify you

If you are found suitable you will be placed in a pool of merit and notified accordingly.

Graduate proposed timeline

The graduate recruitment process timeline is as follows:

  • position advertised: 2 - 15 May 2016
  • online Logical Reasoning: 18 May 2016
  • online Psychometric testing: 22 May 2016
  • online Emotional Intelligence testing: 30 May 2016
  • assessment centres: commencing: 6 June 2016
  • reference checks: early to mid-July 2016
  • pool of merit finalised: late July 2016
  • Employment Suitability Clearance: can take approximately one to two months to be issued
  • baseline security clearance: can take approximately three to six months to be issued
  • on-boarding takes place once clearances have been issued.

Commencement date and salary

Commencement dates cannot be confirmed until security requirements are successfully completed. Successful graduates usually start in early February each year.

Graduates are classified as APS4, at a salary of $60,452 - $66,904. Details about pay, leave entitlements and other conditions can be found in the current Enterprise Agreement 2011-2014 (1.9MB PDF).

Existing terms and conditions provided for under the Department of Immigration and Citizenship Enterprise Agreement 2011–2014 (DIBP EA) and determinations made under section 24 of the Public Service Act 1999 for former ACBPS employees will continue to apply until a new agreement is in place.


Applications for our 2017 intake are now closed. Thank you and best of luck to all who applied. You can keep up to date with what's happening on LinkedIn.