Personnel Security


Manage their departure (for clearance holders)

When a national security clearance holder leaves, they retain their knowledge of your organisation’s business operations, intellectual property, classified information, and security vulnerabilities. Managing their departure well will help to reduce the risk of this knowledge being misused.

When a clearance holder leaves an organisation, their manager must carry out the minimum departure requirements for an employee and some extra requirements. For more information about minimum departure requirements, go to: Manage their departure.

 They must also:

  • remind them of their ongoing obligations
  • transfer or cancel their security clearance
  • notify the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS).

An appropriately authorised person may have to:

  • debrief the clearance holder from any access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI)*
  • conduct an exit appraisal with the clearance holder
  • maintain post-separation contact with the departed clearance holder.

*When authorised by the SCI owner, a suitable person may debrief the clearance holder. If no one in the CSO’s team is authorised to do the debrief, the CSO or security team should contact the PSR team for advice.


Remind them of their ongoing obligations

The clearance holder’s manager must remind the clearance holder of:

  • the need for their continued discretion after they leave the organisation
  • their lifelong obligation to protect classified information, assets, and work locations.

It is good practice to obtain the clearance holder’s written acknowledgement of these obligations.

Transfer their security clearance

If a clearance holder is transferring directly to another government organisation, their clearance may transfer with them. In general, one organisation should recognise a security clearance granted by another organisation as long as the correct transfer process has been followed.

Accepting a clearance transfer

The chief executive of the new organisation may accept a transfer of a security clearance from another organisation. This action will happen immediately, provided the following conditions are met:

  • the original clearance is less than 5 years old (however, if the original clearance is less than 12 months from its expiry date at the time of transfer, the new organisation should immediately begin the process to renew the clearance)
  • there is a requirement to access classified information, assets, or work locations in the new role
  • the transferred clearance is at the same level or at a lower level than the clearance originally recommended by the NZSIS
  • the clearance holder moves directly from one government organisation to another without an intervening period with no security oversight (for example, overseas residence or extensive travel)
  • your chief executive obtains from the clearance holder’s former organisation:
    • the vetting recommendation from the NZSIS (this may have important security risk management advice)
    • written assurance of the clearance holder’s continuing suitability to hold a clearance
    • notification of any relevant changes in the clearance holder’s personal circumstance that happened after they were vetted.

Signing a confidentiality agreement or post-separation contract

Your organisation may need the clearance holder to sign a confidentiality agreement as part of their transfer. This action is to protect any classified information, assets, and work locations they may discuss as part of their new role. They may also need to sign a post-separation contract with your organisation.

Managing briefings for SCI

Remember that SCI briefings don't transfer. The clearance holder must be debriefed from the organisation they're currently in before they are transferred. They must also be briefed into the organisation they're transferring to if they’ll be accessing SCI.

Notifying the NZSIS when you transfer a security clearance

Your organisation must notify the NZSIS when the security clearance transfer has occurred.

When the transferred clearance expires

The transferred national security clearance will stop 5 years from the date of the original recommendation, or from when the original organisation granted the clearance.

Cancel their security clearance

When a clearance holder leaves your organisation, you should cancel their clearance and notify the NZSIS that you no longer employ the clearance holder.

Page last modified: 6/08/2020

Supporting documents