Foreign Principals

Not all foreign engagement activities or arrangements will require registration under the Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme (FITS).

While all foreign engagement activity must be declared and documented either as a part of the foreign engagement compliance review process and/or as a part of regular performance development reviews with your line manager, the criteria that define a “foreign principal” are quite specific.

If you are dealing with a foreign entity in your work, you will need to consider whether they are, or may be, a “foreign principal”.

Examples of a foreign principal include:

  • A visiting academic who is not an Australian citizen or permanent resident is employed by a government funded university which requires all staff to be members of a specified foreign political organisation.
  • A research institute located overseas has various private sources of funding but its constitution gives a foreign government the legal right to nominate the majority of appointees to the governing board. 
  • The major shareholder in an innovative international health promotion company is a foreign government.
  • An influential overseas think tank is known to be affiliated with a foreign political party.

For the purposes of the FITS Act,  foreign principals are defined as one of the four following categories: