Protocol Guidelines for Foreign Domestic Workers in diplomatic and consular corp posts

The source of the following information is the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

According to DFAT, the Head of a diplomatic mission and a Career Head of a consular post are the only diplomatic and consular officials that are eligible to bring a private domestic worker to Australia to be employed as full-time household staff.

Private domestic workers brought to Australia under diplomatic or consular privilege have the same employment rights, protections and obligations as Australian citizens and permanent residents.

The Fair Work Ombudsman website provides information and advice about Australian workplace conditions including wages and employment standards.

The following points are applicable to private domestic workers

  • Private domestic workers must at all times be in possession of their passport, identity card, and personal belongings.
  • Salaries must be paid through bank transfer into the private domestic worker’s Australian bank account.
  • Cash payments are not acceptable.
  • The employer must also keep accurate records of salary payments and provide the private domestic worker with a pay slip within one working day of each pay day.
  • The employer is responsible for paying the visa application fee including relevant health and character checks, health insurance in Australia and they must pay for the domestic worker’s return travel on completion of the contract.
  • These costs must not be deducted from the private domestic worker’s salary.
  • Private domestic workers are entitled to at least the national minimum wage ($19.49 per hour from 1 July 2019).
  • Underpayment, abuse or exploitation of a domestic worker – including excessive work hours – are breaches of Australian law.
  • Private domestic workers who are unfairly treated have access to various services in Australia for support and redress.
  • Allegations of mistreatment of domestic staff are viewed very seriously by Australian authorities; foreign officials found to be mistreating a domestic worker will lose their entitlement to employ domestic workers.

A fact sheet regarding the obligations of diplomatic and consular corps for private domestic workers in their household can be found here.

A checklist for private domestic workers can be found here.

A private domestic worker must hold a valid Temporary Work (International Relations)visa (subclass 403) visa.