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International lifeguards

In this section

The Australian Lifeguard Service is a division of Surf Life Saving Australia (SLSA). SLSA is the only beach based Lifeguard Service in Australia that is a member of the International Lifesaving Federation (ILS). As a result the ALS has a strong and extensive partnership with many nations for the employment of Lifeguards in Australia.

Lifeguard Exchanges

The Australian Lifeguard Service regularly offers exchanges for international lifeguards. These exchanges are designed to:

  • promote opportunities for lifeguards to experience other cultures
  • enhance international relations
  • broaden the experience and knowledge of lifeguards.

Exchange requirements

For an international lifeguard to work for the ALS in Australia, they will need to have recently worked for a lifesaving organisation within their own country. There must also be an official exchange agreement in place between that country and the ALS state for which they would like to work for.

Note: Exchange agreements between international organisations can only be established with individual state offices of the ALS, and not for the whole country.

To enquire about international lifeguard exchanges please contact the ALS state office of your choice, click here.

Australian Exchange Visa

The visa required by international lifeguards is the Exchange Visa 411. For more information on this visa, including requirements and a full explanation of the process visit the Australian Government - Department of Immgration and Citizenship website.

International lifeguards wishing to work for the ALS must first meet all of the following requirements to be eligible for the Exchange Visa (411):

  • have been nominated by the ALS in the state in which they would like to work to fill a lifeguard position
  • have the qualifications and experience which match those required for the nominated position
  • have adequate means to support themselves and any accompanying secondary applicants while in Australia
  • have health insurance for themselves and any secondary applicants.

For more information on applicant eligibility click here.

The Application Process

Step 1: Apply for a job with the ALS

International lifeguards wishing to work for the ALS will need to apply for employment positions like any Australian applicant. This means you will need to apply for an advertised job by the ALS and ensure you state that you are an international lifeguard.

Step 2: The ALS nominates a job position

If you are successful in being offered a job with the ALS, the state will officially nominate a position for you with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.

Step 3: Applicant applies for the visa

You need to satisfy the eligibility requirements for the visa and apply for a visa.

Application form

Applicants must complete the visa application and attach all necessary documentation as outlined in the application checklist.

See: Form 147 Application for a temporary residence visa (non-business)

Application checklist

The checklist provides all the information and supporting documents that they may be asked to provide with their application. Complete applications are likely to be processed more quickly. Incomplete applications may be delayed or, in some cases, refused.

See: Application Document Checklist

Application charge

There is a non-refundable fee for this application.

Step 4: On visa acceptance you can work for the ALS

Step 5: A reciprical job position is made available for your organisation in your country

For more information on the application process click here.

Use of ILS aligned certificates for employment with the ALS

The ILS has established a set of International Certificates to identify various achievement levels within a number of lifesaving based competency areas. Each Certificate requires mastery of ILS-specified core knowledge and skill competencies.

The International Certificate concept serves two purposes:

  • It establishes an international set of criteria that can be used by Member organisations.
  • It serves as an international standard or reference, against which existing awards and qualifications can be accredited.

The ILS Certificate is not a license that guarantees employment with the ALS. Instead it simply provides an international benchmark of achievement, an indicator of potential performance level. It can be used to help determine at which level to slot appropriately into the programme of the ALS the holder of an ILS Certificate.

The ILS Certificate demonstrates successful completion of approved knowledge and skill objectives. However, the ALS retains the right to test for other skills and knowledge and to request other training.

In Australia, there are government regulations or legislation that controls the standards of lifeguards and their associated training requirements. These regulations can also vary between States and Territories.

If you are unsure of how your country’s lifeguarding awards stack up against the Australian standard see the Education section of the ILS website, in particular the Equivalency Tables. Click here to go straight to the ILS website.

Qualifications for International Lifeguards

In addition to the Recruitment and Application Process required of all ALS Lifeguards, International Lifeguards will need to satisfy the following criteria in order to work in Australia for the ALS.

All ALS lifeguards are required to meet the essential qualifications (or equivalent) and evidence of current competence for that of a lifeguard. International lifeguards will need to provide copies of their certificates with the Lifeguard Application Form.

Additionally all International Lifeguards will need to attend an ALS Proficiency which will assess a Lifeguards competence to Australian Standards as well as currency in skills.

Further Information

For further information on working as an ALS Lifeguard, contact the applicable ALS State office of your choice.

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