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Security clearance

A security clearance is granted to an individual following a favourable vetting assessment and recommendation provided by the NZSIS. An employee’s suitability to access protectively marked material is dependent on the clearance level granted and the need-to-know principle.

Agency Personnel Security

1.3 Scope

... Management Protocol.
They are part of a suite of documents that aid agencies to meet their personnel security management requirements.
These requirements are divided into four sections:

personnel security risk
principles of personnel security management
security clearance requirements
candidate and agency responsibilities....

4 National security clearance requirements

... assurance are required.
security vetting is the process by which NZSIS assesses an individual's loyalty to New Zealand, integrity and trustworthiness, and their suitability for access to national security information.
Agency heads may grant a national security clearance to an employee or contractor only after they have received a security vetting recommendation from NZSIS.

4.3 Recruiting for positions that require national security clearances

It is good practice to advise potential applicants at the time of advertising that the position requires a national security clearance and to outline the criteria for eligibility.
This may deter applicants who are ineligible or who are unwilling to undergo the security vetting process from applying for the position.
When recruiting for roles which involve the national security of New Zealand, agencies are exempt from certain legislation:
Section 19(3)(d)(i) of Criminal Records (Clean Slate Act)...

4 National security clearance requirements

... assurance are required.
security vetting is the process by which NZSIS assesses an individual's loyalty to New Zealand, integrity and trustworthiness, and their suitability for access to national security information.
Agency heads may grant a national security clearance to an employee or contractor only after they have received a security vetting recommendation from NZSIS.

4.4 Requesting a security vetting from NZSIS

... authorise all requests to NZSIS for security vettings. Requests must be made using the Online Vetting Request (OVR) system.
Agencies must have trust and confidence in the candidate and his or her ability to gain a favourable recommendation for a national security clearance before submitting a security vetting request to the NZSIS.
Urgent vetting requests
Urgent vetting requests will be given priority by NZSIS. Agencies should contact NZSIS to discuss these cases prior to sending requests.
When...

4 National security clearance requirements

... assurance are required.
security vetting is the process by which NZSIS assesses an individual's loyalty to New Zealand, integrity and trustworthiness, and their suitability for access to national security information.
Agency heads may grant a national security clearance to an employee or contractor only after they have received a security vetting recommendation from NZSIS.

4.5 Actions on receipt of an NZSIS vetting recommendation

NZSIS will advise the CSO when a security vetting is completed. The recommendation will usually be a formal letter or by email correspondence.
The clearance may be recommended:

at the level requested
at a lower level
with specific security clearance management provisions (‘qualifications’)

CSOs must advise NZSIS of their decision.
Action when clearance is recommended at the requested level
Agencies must provide the candidate with:

a briefing on his or her responsibilities in relation to i...

5 Ongoing personnel security clearance management

5.1 Management of national security clearance holders

Managers must advise their CSO of:

any changes in personal circumstances of employees or contractors holding a national  security clearance
any concerns about the continued suitability to hold a national security clearance they may have about their staff.

Changes in personal circumstances
Agencies must advise all national security clearance holders of their responsibility to report any changes of personal circumstances.
Refer to Reporting Changes in Personal Circumstances.
CSOs should seek ad...

5 Ongoing personnel security clearance management

5.3 Contact and incident reporting

clearance holders should report any notifiable contacts or requests to access agency assets or protectively marked information or resources.
Also refer to Contact Reporting.
Agencies should assess the reported contacts to determine whether there is any need to:

advise NZSIS of contacts that may have national security implications
undertake an internal investigation (see Reporting Incidents and Conducting security Investigations)
pass on to the police for criminal investigations....

Can I access protectively marked material that is higher than my national security clearance level?

No. Individuals can only access protectively marked material up to the level their clearance allows. Agencies must not grant ‘waivers’, ‘interim’ or ‘temporary’ security clearances while waiting for a recommendation from the NZSIS. Agencies can submit urgent clearance requests. Agencies should contact the NZSIS to discuss these cases prior to sending requests. Agency heads may authorise emergency access in exceptional circumstances. The emergency access provisions must not be used to...

Can I be issued with a temporary national security clearance?

No. Agencies must not grant ‘waivers’, ‘interim’ or ‘temporary’ security clearances while waiting for a recommendation from the NZSIS. Agencies can submit urgent clearance requests. Agencies should contact the NZSIS to discuss these cases prior to sending requests. Agency heads may authorise emergency access in exceptional circumstances. The emergency access provisions must not be used to facilitate entry or appointment into a position, or on reassignment of duties, while awaiting co...

How do I maintain my national security clearance?

To maintain a security clearance, you must continue to demonstrate honesty, trustworthiness, maturity and loyalty. As a security clearance holder, you are expected to report relevant changes in personal circumstances, any security incidents you are aware of and any suspicious contact. If you hold a high-level security clearance, you will also be required to complete an annual security appraisal.

I am considering applying for a role that requires a national security clearance, what do I need to consider?

If your application for employment is successful, the employing agency will be responsible for initiating and managing your security vetting and security clearance.To be eligible for a security clearance, you must be a New Zealand citizen or holders of a Resident Class visa whose background can be checked for a requisite period of five years for CONFIDENTIAL level clearances, ten years for SECRET level clearances and ‘whole-of-life’ for the highest-level clearances. You must also demonstrate...

I am going to a cross agency meeting, will the other agencies recognise my national security clearance?

Yes. New Zealand government agencies should recognise your security clearance and you should be able to participate in meetings discussing protectively marked information with employees from other agencies when there is a 'need-to-know'. 

Is a national security clearance still valid if I move to another government agency?

A national security clearance can be transferred from one government agency to another under certain conditions. The clearance must be less than four years old, and the holder must be moving directly to a similar role. It is the receiving agency's responsibility to make themselves aware of any security clearance management advice the original agency received from NZSIS. The receiving agency must also notify NZSIS of the transfer. Agencies must follow the guidance for this process contained in th...

Security clearances for contractors who have spent time overseas: a PERSEC case study

This case study looks at the possible impact of an uncheckable period overseas for a contractor seeking TOP SECRET level security clearance.  Themes covered include: security clearance requirements for contractors pre-employment screening process. Scenario – what happened Martin is a New Zealander with South African heritage (his parents were both born in South Africa) who has qualifications in computer studies and logistics.  His criminal history has been unremarkable – as a teenager gr...

What do I need to consider before travelling overseas?

... advice from your CSO before you travel. It may also be appropriate for you to be briefed by NZSIS – your CSO can arrange this.While you are overseas you may come into contact with foreign government officials. All government employees, in particular, security clearance holders, must report any contact with foreign government officials that appears suspicious, persistent or unusual in any respect to their CSO. You will be asked to complete a contact reporting form.security clearance holders mu...

What happens when I have been granted a security clearance?

... provide you with: a briefing on your responsibilities in relation to information handling details of action in case of a change in circumstance details of the agency’s security awareness training programme. Your agency must also implement a personal security clearance management plan.

What is a national security clearance?

A national security clearance is granted to an individual following a favourable vetting assessment by NZSIS. It indicates an individual’s suitability to access protectively marked material up to a specific clearance level. security vetting, required before a security clearance can be granted, is a series of background checks and assessments carried out by the NZSIS’s vetting officers. For further information, see New Zealand Personnel security Management Requirements – Information for Sec...

When do I need to report a change in circumstances?

... information. Some significant changes may be used by foreign intelligence services, issue-motivated groups, criminal organisations or others to coerce or induce individuals into providing information or equipment belonging to the New Zealand government. security clearance holders must report any changes in their personal circumstances to their CSO at the time they occur. Changes in circumstances include: entering into, or ceasing, a close personal relationship residence in, or visits to, forei...

When should I report contact with a foreign citizen?

All government employees, in particular, security clearance holders, must report any contact with foreign government officials that appears suspicious, persistent or unusual in any respect to their CSO. You will be asked to complete a contact reporting form if it involved non-official contact with embassy or foreign government officials within New Zealand, or foreign officials and/or nationals outside New Zealand, or any contact with a foreign national that seems suspicious. This includes any co...