Challenges faced by new arrivals

Pre-arrival experiences

Pre-arrival experiences can affect how quickly and easily a person can adapt to life in Australia. This is particularly true for refugees, who may have experienced poverty, may be suffering the effects of torture and trauma, and may have little or no English language or literacy skills.

Many recently arrived refugees have spent long periods in refugee camps before coming to Australia. They may have no experience in renting a home, maintaining a western style house, or managing a budget. Refugees may be unfamiliar with urban environments and the Australian way of life.

Rural and regional Australia

Migrants and refugees settling in regional areas will often face particular difficulties and welcome the help of volunteers.

The culture shock may be greater in areas where cultural diversity is less apparent and fewer ethnic clubs are available to support entrants when they arrive.

What services does the Australian government offer?

Many of the needs of migrants and refugees are shared with the wider Australian community, such as health, education and welfare. Because of this, all Australian Government agencies are responsible for delivering services responsive to our culturally diverse community.

The department funds settlement services that focus on building self–reliance, developing English language skills, and fostering connections with mainstream services as soon as possible after arrival.

These services help new arrivals become accustomed to life in Australia. Services include the provision of pre-embarkation and on–arrival information about life in Australia, as well as more specialised support services for new arrivals in need of greater assistance.

Settlement programs include:

  • Adult Migrant English Program
  • Translating and Interpreting Service National
  • Humanitarian Settlement Program
  • Settlement Grants.

More information is available on the department's website.

See: Settlement Programs

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