Foreign Arrangements Scheme (FAS)
My work unit proposes to enter into an arrangement with an entity from another country, what happens next?
- Use the Foreign Arrangements Scheme (FAS) Decision Tool to decide if FAS applies to your agreement.
- If FAS does apply, discuss with your Head of Work Unit (HoWU) who will determine whether or not to enter into the arrangement.
- Complete the SCU Foreign Arrangement Scheme Notification form.
- Email completed form to email@example.com
Foreign Arrangements Scheme
In 2020, the Commonwealth enacted Australia’s Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Act 2020 (Cth). The Act established the Foreign Arrangements Scheme (FAS). The FAS requires the University to notify the Minister of Foreign Affairs (the Minister) of arrangements and prospective arrangements with foreign entities.
What University arrangements must be notified to the Minister?
The University must notify the Minister of ‘foreign arrangements’ it enters into, or intends to enter into.
A ‘foreign arrangement’ is any:
- written arrangement,
- understanding or undertaking;
between the University and a ‘foreign entity’.
This phrase is defined broadly and can include emails, text messages and letters which discuss entering into an agreement or arrangement.
A ‘foreign entity’ is:
- a foreign country, its national government, or a department or agency of that national government.
- a province, state, self-governing territory, region, local council, municipality or other political subdivision of a foreign country (including its governments, departments, agencies), or an authority of a foreign country established for a public purpose; or
- a foreign university that does not have institutional autonomy.
A ‘foreign entity’ is not a corporation that operates on a commercial basis.
Is my arrangement a foreign arrangement?
Use the Foreign Arrangements Scheme (FAS) Decision Tool to determine if your arrangement is a foreign arrangement.
Do I have to advise of negotiations?
Yes, the University must also notify the Minister when it is proposing to negotiate a foreign arrangement.
Is my agreement exempt?
Some arrangements are exempt, including:
- foreign arrangements solely dealing with minor administrative or logistical matters (including, for example, flights, accommodation, submitting paperwork or visa applications or the timing of conferences or conference sessions); and
- minor variations of foreign arrangements that have already been notified to the Minister, provided the variation does not alter the substance of the arrangement.
What about Memorandums Of Understanding (MOU) or non-legally binding arrangements?
Foreign arrangements that are not legally binding, or foreign arrangements described as MOU’s must still be reported.
I have determined that my arrangement is a foreign arrangement, what’s next?
Once you have determined that your arrangement is, or may be, a foreign arrangement you must notify your Head of Work Unit (HoWU) who will decide whether or not to enter into the arrangement.
Once your HoWU has deemed it appropriate to enter into the arrangement you will then be required to complete the SCU Foreign Arrangement Scheme Notification form and answer specific questions about the arrangement. Once completed, email the form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Significant foreign arrangements may need to be escalated by the Head of Work Unit to their Executive for approval. It is the responsibility of the Head of Work Unit to determine which foreign arrangements need to be escalated, based on the details of the arrangement.
How does the University notify the Department a Foreign Arrangement?
Following receipt of the approved form, the details of foreign arrangement will be uploaded to the DFAT portal Public Register by either the Legal Office or the Office of Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research).
If your work unit is likely to engage in a number of foreign arrangements, access to the portal can be arranged.
Can the Minister cancel an arrangement?
The Minister may make a declaration that an existing foreign arrangement is invalid or unenforceable or prohibit the University from negotiating or entering a prospective foreign arrangement, if the negotiation or arrangement:
- adversely affects, would adversely affect, or would be likely to adversely affect, Australia’s foreign relations; and
- is would be, or would be likely to be, inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy.
Further information is available via the following DFAT resources: