Private Investigator Licensing and Subcontracting in Australia

Investigators: Advertising, Subcontracting, Employing and Being Employed

In every state and territory other than the ACT, you are required to hold a license in order to be a Private Investigator in Australia. Exactly what activities constitute acting as an investigator vary slightly between states, but generally anyone who is paid to obtain information as to the character or actions of others, or the nature of the business or occupation of others, to search for missing persons or to conduct surveillance, is acting as an investigator.

Broadly, there are two main categories of Private Investigator licenses in Australia - individual licenses, such as an investigator his or herself would hold, and Business or Firm licences. In some states, this business license allows an organisation to employ investigators, while in others it is required before you can advertise investigation services. What these licenses are called also varies.

The laws around employment of investigators vary widely between states. On an investigator license, in some states you can be employed as an investigator but cannot be a subcontractor, while in others you can advertise, subcontract, be employed and even employ others. 

Self-employed Investigators

A self-employed investigator would be one who either advertises their own services directly, and/or who subcontracts their services to another organisation, including an investigation agency or insurance company. 

This is different to being an employee, where you are on the payroll of an organisation and are employed as an investigator by them. This would not be considered self-employment.  

Depending on which state or territory of Australia you are in, you may or may not be able to be self-employed (including subcontracting) simply by being a licensed investigator.

 

I’m going to look at each state, and whether, on an individual investigator license you are allowed to

  • Be employed as an investigator
  • Advertise your services and take clients directly
  • Subcontract your services
  • Employ other investigators

Victoria
 

An individual license holder may be employed as an investigator, may subcontract their services, and may advertise and take on clients directly. 

An individual license holder may not employ other investigators. 

http://www.police.vic.gov.au/content.as … ent_ID=125

NSW

An individual license holder may be employed by the holder of a business license (called a “Master License” in NSW). 

An individual license holder may not subcontract their services, may not advertise and take clients directly, and may not employ other investigators. 

 

http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/services/s … r_licences

 

Qld

An individual license holder may be employed as an investigator (by a “Security Firm”, may subcontract their services, and advertise and service clients directly.

An individual license holder may not employ other investigators.


http://www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au/priva … igator.htm  
http://www.fairtrading.qld.gov.au/security-firm.htm 

WA

An individual license holder (a “non-agent” license) may be employed as an investigator. 

You may not subcontract, advertise and take clients directly, or employ others. To be self-employed you need both a “non-agent” license and an “Agent” license, which is the equivalent to a business license. http://www.police.wa.gov.au/Ourservices … fault.aspx 

 

SA

An individual license holder may work as an employee. (“Agent” licenses are subject to an “employee condition” unless specifically applied for with a “business condition”)

You may not subcontract, advertise and take on clients directly, or employ other investigators. 


http://www.ocba.sa.gov.au/licensing/sec … tions.html

Tas

An individual license holder (called an “Agent” in Tasmania) may be employed as an investigator, may advertise their services and take clients directly, may subcontract their services, and may employee other investigators. 

There is no business license for investigators, but a license holder may be a corporation, in which case a Manager must be allocated, and that Manager must meet the criteria for licensing as an Investigator. http://www.consumer.tas.gov.au/security … uiry_agent 

 

NT

An individual license holder may be employed as an investigator, may advertise their services and take clients directly, may subcontract their services, and may employee other investigators. 

There is no business license for investigators in the NT, but a license holder may be an individual or a corporation. 

http://www.nt.gov.au/justice/licenreg/b … ents.shtml

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