Overseas applicants

The Navy welcomes enquiries from current and ex-serving members of foreign countries who are interested in a new career and new life in Australia and who meet our requirements.

Reinforcing the Navy

In the coming decade the Navy is delivering new capabilities in amphibious warfare, air warfare helicopter systems and also the Navy's ongoing Submarine capability. This has created the need to at times supplement Australian employment resources with specialist experienced personnel from overseas.

Applications for Navy overseas recruitment are to be submitted during the following periods:

  • 1st February – 28th February (for appointment/enlistment in January the following year), and
  • 1st August – 31st August (for appointment/enlistment in July the following year).

Experience and qualifications sought

The Navy overseas recruitment program is aimed at serving or immediately ex-serving officers and sailors of no more than three years since discharge, and foreign Naval Forces with specific qualifications and/or experience that is directly transferable into the Navy (Commonwealth countries only).

The Navy is recruiting to particular ranks and specialisations that can help build on experience whilst enhancing our current capability deficiencies. Each application and expression of interest to join the Navy from military forces will be considered on an individual basis. Remuneration packages will be determined based against individual skills set, recognised qualifications and experience. Rank on entry will be determined by current workforce demand requirements.

Within the Submarine service the Navy is seeking officers and sailors who are specialised in the following:

Submariner Officers

  • Maritime Warfare (Seaman) Officers

Submariner Sailors

  • Marine Technicians
  • Electronics Warfare
  • Acoustic Warfare Analyst

(All other submariner occupational groups will be assessed on a case by case basis.)

Within the Surface Fleet the Navy is seeking officers and sailors (with a minimum rank of Lieutenant or Leading Seaman) who are specialised in the following:

General Service Officers

  • Aviation Warfare Officer
  • Pilot
  • Maritime Warfare Officer (Navigation, Principal Warfare Officer and non specialist)
  • Medical Officer
  • Intelligence Officer
  • Maritime Logistics Officer
  • Dental Officer
  • Marine Engineer
  • Weapons Engineer
  • Acoustic Warfare Analyst

General Service Sailors

  • Electronic Technician
  • Cryptologic Linguist
  • Cryptologic Systems
  • Electronics Warfare

AEGIS Weapons System Expertise

The introduction of the three HOBART class Guided Missile Destroyers (DDGs) from 2014 also demand skill sets not currently available in the Navy including Aegis Weapon System experience. Specifically, the Navy is seeking sailors who are specialists in Aegis Computer Networks, SPY 1 Radar and Aegis Fire Control.


Click on the job titles to find out more.

Officers: Lieutenant Commander and Lieutenant

Aviation Warfare Officer
Pilot (Naval helicopter experience only)
Maritime Warfare Officer (Navigation and Principle Warfare Officer Specialisations only)
Maritime Warfare Officer Submariner
Medical Officer (LCDR rank only)
Marine Engineering Officer
Marine Engineering Officer Submariner
Electronics Engineer Officer
Electronics Engineer Officer Submariner

Sailors: Chief Petty Officer

Electronic Technician
Marine Technician
Marine Technician Submariner

Petty Officer

Communications Information System Submariner
Cryptologic Systems Operator
Marine Technician
Marine Technician Submariner

Leading Seaman and Able Seaman

Communications Information System Submariner
Cryptologic Systems Operator
Combat Systems Operator (LS Only)*
Electronic Warfare Submariner
Electronics Technician
Electronics Technician Submariner
Marine Technician Submariner
Medical Submariner

Occupational Groups and/or rank requirements may change from time to time subject to workforce demand.

As the requirement for specific ranks and specialisations may change from time to time subject to new capability requirements, the Navy welcomes enquiries from officers and sailors from other specialisations, not just the ones being presently advertised. Each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis to see where a fit can be found in the Navy.

*Combat Systems Operator

The role of a Combat Systems Operator is to ensure that air defence anti-submarine, anti-surface, and Fleet support aircraft are provided with safe and efficient aircraft control.

Controllers of ASW and ASuW aircraft in the Navy are titled Anti-Submarine/Anti-Surface Aircraft Controller (ASAC). ASAC is a specialisation of the Combat Systems Operator (CSO) category. The ASAC course is conducted at HMAS Watson and consists of nine weeks classroom instruction and synthetic aircraft control, followed by a one week sea assessment period controlling live assets. ASAC training is restricted to Combat System Operator sailors of at least Able Seaman (AB) rank. They can be nominated for ASAC training with a minimum of 12 months sea service as an AB.

The function of the ASAC qualified Combat Systems Operator is to implement the tactical employment of Anti-Submarine/Anti-Surface aircraft as required by Command in both the operational and training environment. As the tactical aircraft control subject matter expert onboard, the ASAC acts as the sole conduit between the high value air asset/s and the ship to ensure the mission objectives are reached. The ASAC is an integral part of the AIO team and looked upon as a knowledgeable and reliable sailor as they have the core CSO qualification as well as the extra ASAC qualification. The added responsibilities of the ASAC are recognised financially by a two level pay-grade increase from the standard CSO pay grade.


Application Timings

The time frame for the lateral entry process varies and is reliant on candidates providing the required information for assessment and individual circumstances e.g. their ability to be released from their current Service. From initial enquiry through to enlistment or appointment, the application process can take 18 months to 2 years.

Applicants are to submit an expression of interest with a current CV attached. On completion of the initial workforce assessment candidates will be required to complete an application pack and include (but not limited to):

Certified true copies

  • Certificate of Military service (if no longer serving)
  • Two written references (personal and professional)
  • Trade and professional qualification certificates
  • Tertiary reports (if applicable)
  • Membership of professional bodies (if applicable)
  • Full Service history
  • Watchkeeping certificates
  • Formal written request for transfer (Officers only)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Last three Performance Appraisals (All areas are to be completed i.e.: Head of Department / Commanding Officer comments and assessments and signatures)

Once all information is received, a skills assessment will be undertaken to determine the alignment of skills and qualifications within the Navy career continuum and workforce demand. On successful completion of the skills assessment the applicant will undergo the interview phase. This will include an interview with the of the candidate and their family members by Defence Community Organisation (DCO). This is usually conducted via telephone interview. Following recommendations by the DCO, applicants are required to be interviewed by a psychologist as well as a Navy delegate to determine suitability. On successful recommendations the candidate may be offered a letter of employment in the Navy which will outline the Conditions of Service (COS) and provide a proposed joining date.

The second phase of the process requires candidates to complete a full medical assessment and provide service medical and dental documents. Once medically cleared for transfer, immigration (Australian Permanent Residency Visa) approvals and security assessment are sought. After Visa’s and security requirements are met, travel and appointment/enlistment into the Navy is then arranged. Local High Commissions or Embassy’s require up to 8 weeks to arrange full removals, appointment or enlistment and travel to Australia.

Further Information

For further information on Navy Lateral Transfer please e-mail Navy People Career Management Agency – Staff Officer Lateral Entry: ran.overseasrecruiting@defence.gov.au


The Navy currently operates under a Labour Agreement which permits sponsorship of visas for those individuals who are recommended for processing for appointment or enlistment. Those applicants who are approved for sponsorship are responsible for obtaining their Australian permanent resident visa. An applicant and each dependent family member must hold a permanent resident visa before entry to the Navy. The visa is the trigger for all authorisations and individuals are strongly advised not to make any lifestyle changes until visas are formally issued.

Additionally, applicants must make a written undertaking that they will apply for Australian citizenship as soon as they are eligible (normally after three months service in the permanent Navy). For information on accelerated citizenship for families of Defence Overseas Lateral Recruits, please refer to this document.

Find out more about Australian citizenship

English Language

Applicants from non-English speaking background must have a minimum of vocational proficiency in English and must have an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test score in accordance with the Labour Agreement between the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Defence, dated 13 August 2015. There may be an additional cost for the applicant, and/or any member of their family aged 18 years or older, to undertake a language barrier test when submitting the visa application.


Applicants must hold an appropriate Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) security clearance at a minimum of Negative Vetting Level 1 before appointment or enlistment. Australian security arrangements require that applicants have a background of at least 10 years, which can be directly verified by AGSVA.

Current international agreements permit security clearances to be transferred for active military personnel from Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom or the United States, subject to verification procedures.

Reserves, non-Australian citizen or non-permanent resident without military experience

While this program is not for personnel wishing to transfer to the Royal Australian Navy Reserves, interested personnel may apply for enlistment through an Australian ADF Careers agency, once Australian permanent residency requirements have been satisfied.

Foreign nationals who do not have military experience are not eligible for recruitment via this program. Applications for enlistment may be lodged through an Australian ADF Careers agency, once Australian permanent residency requirements have been satisfied.


Commonwealth country

You must be a current citizen of a recognised Commonwealth country to apply.


Due to immigration regulations the maximum age on appointment/enlistment is 50 years. The compulsory retirement age in the Navy is 60.


Navy and Foreign Navy Military Forces medical standards differ significantly and personnel who do not satisfy Navy medical entry standards are unable to enter.

Service history

Applicants must have an above average Service performance reporting history. Officer candidates must hold minimum rank of Lieutenant or equivalent, while sailors must hold minimum rank of Able Seaman or equivalent with significant relevant occupational experience.

Employment restrictions

Applicants must not have any employment or locality restrictions. All applicants will be required to serve for a period of six years and must also be prepared to serve anywhere in Australia, at sea or overseas at short notice.


Applicants must have resigned from their parent Service (including terminal leave and release from all Reserve Service obligations) before entry.


Applicants who accept an offer of employment must be available to clear immigration visa requirements and to join the Navy within 12 months.


Officers/Senior Sailors

Applicants for any one of the occupational groups must have:

  • A qualification equivalent to an AQTF bachelor degree (or higher level qualification), and at least three years relevant experience.


  • Five years relevant experience in the occupation to be performed.


  • Be assessed as having a minimum of vocational proficiency in English (as per the English Language testing requirements).

Junior Sailors/other Ranks

Applicants for any one of the occupational groups must have:

  • A qualification equivalent to an AQF Cert IV (or higher level qualification).


  • One year's relevant experience post qualification.


  • A minimum of three years relevant post-qualification experience in the occupation to be performed in the Navy.


  • Be assessed as having a minimum of vocational proficiency in English (as per the English Language testing requirements).

Additional education information

Australian Education International (AEI), through the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (AEI-NOOSR), provides official information and advice on the comparability of overseas qualifications with Australian qualifications. This aims to help overseas qualified people work and study in Australia. NOOSR assessments are not Recognition of Prior Learning assessments.

AEI is part of the Department of Education and uniquely integrates the development of international government relations with support for the commercial activities of Australia's education community. To do this, AEI liaises with all sectors of the education and training industry and all levels of government.

AEI-NOOSR does not assess secondary school qualifications (these are normally assessed by State/Territory education authorities) or trade qualifications (which can be assessed by Trades Recognition Australia).

For further information about AEI services, as well as links to other assessing agencies, please refer to the AEI website.