Customs careers

We're always on the lookout for new people to help keep the border secure and our community safe.

View our current vacancies at Customs.

Customs employs over 1,200 people in a broad range of roles across New Zealand.

We promote New Zealand’s international trade, collect Crown revenue, and enforce the law by identifying and seizing prohibited imports and exports. We also make sure that lawful travellers and items can move across our border as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Generally, our operations roles are located at our main airports and ports and the Auckland International Mail Centre. The majority of our frontline positions are located in Auckland. For our operational frontline positions, the entry point into Customs is Assistant Customs Officer or Customs Officer.

Our operational roles are structured on rank – once you are appointed into an entry level role and have gained some Customs knowledge and experience you will be able to apply for further opportunities within Customs. Our operational areas include intelligence, assurance, detector dogs, trade and passenger facilitation.

Customs also has a range of corporate functions that support our work at the border.

When you apply for one of our roles, please ensure you meet the requirements of that position, and have your updated CV and covering letter ready to attach with your application. As you go through the online application process you will be asked some questions that will form the basis of your application. This information is important to help us assess your suitability for roles at Customs.

Security requirements

To be considered for a role at Customs, you need to be able to meet our requirements for security clearance including a police check and drugs test (once a position is offered), and;

  • You must be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • You must have lived in New Zealand continuously for the last 5 years; or
  • In New Zealand continuously and one or more of the following countries for the last 5 years:
    •  Australia
    •  Canada
    •  United Kingdom
    •  United States of America.

If you’ve travelled or lived away from New Zealand during the last 5 years, we will require further information, and in some cases may require Police certificates from those countries.

For some positions, a higher Government level clearance (up to ‘Top Secret’) may be required. For these positions you must have a background history that is verifiable and can be assessed as appropriate by the NZ Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS). For a ‘Confidential’ clearance this is a minimum of five years, and for ‘Secret’ or ‘Top Secret’ this is a minimum of 10 years.

We may not give you a New Zealand Customs security clearance if we can’t properly vet you. The most common reasons for this are:

  • You have lived outside the countries listed above for 5-10 years before you applied for a clearance
  • We didn’t get a response from the referees in your application.

Customs career benefits

At Customs we offer a range of benefits to our employees:

  •  Discounted health insurance for permanent staff
  •  A structured career path
  •  Subsidised vision assistance (for some staff)
  •  Learning and development opportunities
  •  Leadership programmes
  •  Active social clubs
  •  Vibrant Māori cultural groups
  •  Free gym access (at some sites)
  •  Flexible working arrangements (in some locations)
  •  Free flu vaccinations for permanent staff.

In-house, we offer an NZQA-accredited Certificate in Border Management.

We also offer New Zealand's only NZQA-recognised Diploma and Certificate in Intelligence Analysis.

Customs officers and Assistant Customs officers

To become a Customs officer you will undertake an 8 week training course. Customs officers work in a range of areas, with a focus on law enforcement and securing New Zealand’s border. They do a range of tasks including identifying risks, performing assurance and audits, investigations, directing and processing passengers, answering questions and providing support to the team.

An Assistant Customs officer completes a 3 weeks training course and undertakes a more customer service focused role. They are the people who stamp your passports, or help you navigate through our eGate.

If you’d like to apply to work as a Customs officer or Assistant Customs officer, please apply through Randstad. Randstad assists Customs with the recruitment of our frontline positions and will take you through a comprehensive screening process to assess your suitability. If you meet the criteria for the role and our security clearance requirements, you will be invited to attend an Assessment Centre which will provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate your suitability and experience for the role. For more information and to register your interest please visit Randstad’s website.

Customs Officers - Dog handlers and trainers

Customs uses specially-trained Labrador dogs to detect drugs and large sums of cash crossing New Zealand’s border.

If you would like to join the detector dog unit as a handler, you must:

  • Undergo a three month training programme
  • Pass a property inspection to ensure you have adequate fencing and the property is dog-friendly
  • Have no other dogs living at your residence.

If you're interested in becoming a detector dog trainer, the following criteria is highly desirable:

  • A qualification in dog behaviour and training
  • Experience in handling and training detector dogs or service dogs
  • A qualification in adult education and teaching
  • Have a property that is suitable for housing detector dogs, with no other dogs living at the residence unless they are retired service or detector dogs.

There are detector dog units in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland, but we send our detector dogs wherever they’re needed throughout New Zealand.