Workforce Permits: Australia Heads Back to the Office

Workforce permits; as recently as a couple of months ago, workers in most capital cities across Australia have been required to carry one.

The pandemic has irrevocably impacted our lives throughout the past two+ years. Aside from the toll it’s placed on families, households, and our personal day-to-day activities, how and where we work has had the most significant bearing. And up until recently, the monitoring of Australia’s workforce has been nationally widespread.

Just a few of the work-related changes we’ve had to endure, include:

  • Working from home
  • A shift to hybrid working; part-time from home, part-time in the office
  • A heavier reliance on technology for productivity, collaboration, and communication
  • The requirement to carry workforce permits, depending on your industry
  • Government mandated rules to keep people working at home
  • A fear of returning to the office; fears based on getting sick (getting COVID), re-integrating back into office life, fear of change

So much change for Australia’s workforce, in such a short timeframe.

Today, we’ve taken stock of where Australia is at right now – April 2022 – and provided some answers to pressing questions about workforce permits, going back to the office, and best practices for getting your people re-established in this (semi) post-COVID workplace.

workforce permits

Are There Workforce Permit Restrictions in my Capital City?

It seems we’re getting back to some sort of normality in Australia. That said, there are still different requirements for each capital city. The impending winter months are also a concern: more people inside more often, a greater likelihood of COVID spreading.

And the situation changes weekly.

Here are the links to each state and territory’s workforce permits guidelines and restrictions:

Some state and territory governments are requiring certain workers to be vaccinated in order to work. And both employers and workers must comply with public health orders that apply to them. You can find more information on this, right here.

When is Our Workforce Required to Have a COVID Test?

Individuals in your workforce may need to get tested for various reasons. For example, they have COVID-like symptoms, or they are a close contact. Each state and territory health department offers advice and guidance about testing. We’ve provided them for you below:

You can also find out more about COVID testing and public health advice for your work workforce, right here.

How Can We Safely Re-Open Our Office?

The re-opening of offices across Australia will require careful planning and compliance. Workforce permits, safety measures, following government guidelines all need consideration.

When planning to reopen the office, keep in mind that COVID is still present. Despite an increasingly relaxed attitude, having a plan in place and contingencies for hurdles, is key.

State and federal governments have thorough guidelines for the return to the office. Here are a few:

  • This is a great planning tool for establishing a COVID-safe plan for your workplace
  • This is an industry-specific toolkit on workplace health and safety, and keeping your workplace free of COVID
  • And here, you can information and links to help you manage workplace health and safety as you return to the office

workforce permits

How Can We Safely Transition Workers Back to the Office?

Some states and territories have directions for workers to continue working from home if it’s feasible. Some no longer require workforce permits. Doing the research now for your business, is critical.

There are ample resources you can access to make sure your workplace is safe. Below, we’ve provided some that are government sourced, others that are commercially sourced. Importantly, keep in mind the general nature of your business culture, the sense you’re getting from your workers about going back to the office, and work on a plan that is fluid and customised to your industry and business.

  • This is a fantastic resource from PwC regarding the safe return to the workplace. Excellent guidelines and considerations for your business
  • From the Australian Psychological Society, this information helps employers to assist employees back to a ‘normal’ working existence, with a particular focus on mental health awareness and support. These strategies from Beyond Blue are also helpful
  • This is an interactive toolkit from the Fair Work Ombudsman. Some elements may not be relevant, but mostly it’s a very helpful resource
  • More helpful information here too, from the Fair Work Ombudsman


Whether the state or territory you’re in requires ongoing workforce permits, imposed restrictions and mandates or compliance stipulations, the most important factor right now is for your business to set a plan in place for the safe return of workers to the office. This may ultimately be a hybrid model of working in the long-term. But whatever model your business follows, safety of your workers must remain priority number 1.

As one of the world’s leading providers of contingent worker management solutionsCXC is well positioned to optimise all elements of your contingent workforce strategy. With operations in more than 50 countries across five continents and decades of experience, we can assist with every aspect of your program.

If you are interested in discussing our insights on workforce permits and the safe return of workers to the office, and would like to find out more about how we can work together, please contact us.