Customs Officer
Careers New Zealand
New Zealand
3d ago

Pay for customs officers varies depending on experience, responsibilities and performance.

  • Customs officers in training or with one year's experience can expect to earn about $39,000 a year.
  • After two to three years they can earn up to $49,000 a year.
  • With five years' experience, they can earn up to $56,000 a year.
  • A chief customs officer can earn between $65,000 and $97,000 a year, depending on experience.
  • Source : New Zealand Customs Service, 'Collective Employment Agreement', 2013-2015.

    This information is a guide only. )

    What you will do

    Customs officers may do some or all of the following :

  • inspect mail and imported and exported goods for illegal items
  • patrol wharves and search ships and aircraft for prohibited and restricted goods
  • check passengers' passports and travel documents
  • check passengers for prohibited and restricted goods
  • assess and collect taxes on goods coming into the country, and on alcohol and tobacco made in New Zealand
  • gather import and export data
  • gather intelligence and assess security risks
  • carry out drug and commercial investigations
  • administer computer-based customs declarations and enquiries.
  • Skills and knowledge

    Customs officers need to have :

  • knowledge of legislation relevant to customs work
  • understanding of customs procedures and policies
  • knowledge of border protection methods
  • knowledge of search and investigation techniques
  • skill in inspecting and evaluating people, goods and areas.
  • Customs officers :

  • do shift work, which can include nights, weekends and public holidays
  • work in offices, ports, on ships, and in airport terminals and freight depots. When outdoors, they work in all weather conditions
  • may work in hazardous, dusty or noisy conditions with heavy machinery operating
  • may sometimes have to deal with tired, angry and upset people.
  • Entry requirements

    To become a customs officer you need to be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, and hold a current driver's licence.

    Applicants shortlisted for trainee customs officer positions attend an assessment centre for :

  • one-to-one interviews
  • written activities
  • group activities
  • cognitive (thought processes) testing.
  • Successful applicants are then formally interviewed and must pass a medical assessment.

    If your interview is successful, you become a trainee customs officer and complete a nine-week training programme in Auckland, which includes a two-

    week residential programme.

    All staff appointed to New Zealand Customs Service must pass a drug test and security checks.

    Secondary education

    There are no specific secondary education requirements for this job, but NCEA Level 2 English and maths are preferred.

    Personal requirements

    Customs officers need to be :

  • skilled at communicating
  • skilled at analysing information and solving problems
  • good at planning
  • polite, patient and helpful
  • firm when dealing with people, when necessary
  • able to relate to people from different backgrounds and cultures
  • responsible
  • observant, with an eye for detail.
  • Useful experience

    Useful experience for customs officers includes :

  • customer service roles dealing with the public, handling complaints and dealing with conflict
  • work involving legislation or law enforcement
  • being able to speak and understand other languages.
  • Physical requirements

    Customs officers need to be reasonably fit and healthy, and have good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses). You must pass a medical exam for entry into the role, and ongoing fitness tests for some customs officer positions.

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