Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme

On this website, you'll find guidance on the specific requirements of the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme and how to determine if you have an obligation to register.

Whether an activity is registrable depends on a combination of factors:

  • the identity of the person undertaking the activity
  • the identity of the foreign principal
  • the nature of the relationship between the foreign principal and the person undertaking the activity, and
  • the nature and purpose of the activity.

Frequently asked questions

  • How do I know if the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme applies to me?

    If your University work involves a foreign academic, organisation, institution or government, you may be engaged in an activity that should be registered under the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme (FITS). To comply with the FITS, you may need to register your activity or arrangement with the Australian Government*.

    Not all foreign engagements need to be registered, but there are some relationships which the Australian Government believes must be declared and made transparent to the Australian community. Registration of activities or arrangements identified under the Scheme safeguards the national interest.

    Registration does not mean that you have to change what you are doing. It just means that there will be a public record of your engagement and you will satisfy your legal obligation to be up front about the purpose of any relevant foreign relationships.

    Your need to register will be determined by the nature and purpose of:

    • The activity or the arrangement - and whether it has the intent or potential to influence a government or political decision; and
    • The foreign entity or person - and whether it is considered a "foreign principal" under the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act.

    The information and resources provided on this website will help you understand the specific requirements of the FITS and what information is needed to determine if you have an obligation to register*. Additional FITS resources are available on website of the Attorney-General's Department.

    *Please note that if registration is necessary this process must be completed within 14 days

  • What are my legal obligations under the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme?

  • Does the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme restrict who I can engage with or types of activities I can be involved in?

    The FITS does not seek to limit or restrict the lawful activities that the University and its personnel undertake with foreign collaborators.  However, the FITS does require that the University and its personnel register with the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department any arrangements and activities that have the potential to influence Australian decision-makers to advance the interests of the foreign collaborator.

    The guidance provided on this webpage will help you identify whether the arrangement or activity should be registered. Once registered, you and the University will have met the requirement and the collaboration can continue under the conditions set by the FITS. This may include ensuring that the activity with the foreign entity is further disclosed in any published or online materials and that registration is renewed if the arrangement is to continue beyond 12 months.

  • Where can I get help if I think that my activity or arrangement may require FITS registration?

    Personnel who identify a possible registration obligation should seek further guidance from the Office of the Chief Security Officer or from Legal Services to confirm the assessment and to assist with registration if necessary. 

    Before this happens, you will need to have collected certain information about your activity or arrangement. The guidance provided in the links below is there to assist you to collect the information you will need to assess whether a potential obligation exists and will provide a basis to engage with the Office of the Chief Security Officer or Legal and Risk about the formal steps needed for registration. Registration must be completed within 14 days.

    Please note that an assessment of your foreign engagement activity may be conducted as a part of other University review processes. You will be advised of any FITS obligations accordingly. These processes include:

    • Applying for Commonwealth grant funding for an international collaboration.  Registration obligations will be determined as part of the grant application assistance provided by Research Services.
    • Formal due diligence reviews conducted as a part of centrally managed contract approval processes through Research Legal Services, Innovation and Commercial Partners or Global Engagement.

    Identifying a foreign principal

    If you are dealing with a foreign entity in your work, you will need to consider whether they are a “foreign principal” under the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme Act.

    Registrable arrangements and activities

    A combination of factors must be considered to determine whether an activity or arrangement must be registered under the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme. If registration is required, this process must be completed within 14 days.

    Information and documentation requirements

    Whether or not you have a registration obligation, you must keep a record of the information you used to reach this decision, including what you know about your collaborator, the nature of your involvement with that entity and the activities or arrangements planned.

    Further information


    Office of the Chief Security Officer
    Division of Research and Innovation

    Legal Services Helpdesk
    08 8313 4539