Suitable Activity - Self-employment (Including Through NEIS)


NEIS assists eligible job seekers to start new, viable small businesses.


To be eligible for NEIS, a job seeker must meet all of the criteria below:

  • are at least 18 years of age at the time of commencing NEIS assistance,
  • are not prohibited by law from working in Australia,
  • are not an overseas visitor on a working holiday visa or an overseas student studying in Australia,
  • are available to participate in NEIS training (if relevant) and work full-time in the proposed NEIS business,
  • are not an undischarged bankrupt,
  • have not received NEIS assistance in the past year, and
  • are a person or persons advised to the NEIS provider by the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business in writing from time to time.

In addition, the proposed NEIS business must meet the NEIS business eligibility criteria, which are that the proposed NEIS business:

  • is not currently operating on a commercial basis,
  • has an independent business structure,
  • is lawful and capable of withstanding public scrutiny,
  • has been assessed as commercially viable by the NEIS provider,
  • will be established, located and operated solely within Australia, and
  • will be structured so that the job seeker has and will maintain a controlling interest over the NEIS business for the duration of the job seeker's NEIS participant agreement.


The conditions for satisfying the sufficient work test also apply to self-employment. Self-employment will satisfy the sufficient work test if the job seeker is working at least their required number of hours and the taxable income of the business provides the equivalent of the national minimum wage rate for the minimum required hours. If self-employment does not satisfy the sufficient work test, the person will generally be required to look for alternative work.

Last reviewed: 20 September 2017