Review of Australia’s Overseas Driver Licensing Policy

Monday, 11 November 2019

Austroads has recently completed a review of the current arrangements and policy settings relating to the recognition of overseas driver licences in Australia.

The review also provides some analysis of the safety of overseas drivers on Australian roads, and increasing challenges associated with the conversion of an overseas licence for an Australian licence in terms of current practices for client identification and document verification.

The review highlighted a number of issues including:

  • Demographic changes including increased numbers of temporary visitors and migrants from countries whose driver licensing systems are not comparable with Australia’s and therefore are not recognised by Australia;
  • Document verification processes required to confirm an applicant’s claim to identity and  driver experience;
  • A need to ensure that the integrity of Australia’s strict licensing requirements for  heavy vehicles is maintained; and
  • Challenges in educating and informing visiting drivers about Australian driving conditions and road rules.

The review concluded that a number of threshold actions are required to manage these challenges and deliver a more robust framework for managing overseas drivers in Australia.

The following actions are proposed:

  • A review of the criteria for the recognition of overseas countries to ensure the scheme reflects contemporary road safety attitudes and practices, such as a safe systems-based approach;
  • Improved communication and education material for  temporary visa holders and migrants considering travelling to Australia regarding  Australian driving conditions and processes for licence conversion;
  • Improving mechanisms for the collection of statistical information about overseas licence holders involved in crashes in Australia to support evidence-based policy reform and targeted road safety information
  • Greater cooperation with overseas road safety regulators and peak bodies to ensure that international solutions can be developed to common problems (an example being the existing International Organization for Standardization (ISO) working party developing a global standard for digital driver licences.
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