Government support

Settlement services delivered through the Department of Social Services provide early, tailored and intensive support to refugees and humanitarian entrants in the first five years of their arrival in Australia.

Australia has a long and proud tradition of resettling refuges and vulnerable people in humanitarian need. We have some of the best settlement services in the world, providing necessary support to people through their settlement journey.

Settlement services provided by the Department

Settlement services provided by the Department include:

  • Australian Cultural Orientation – This five-day workshop is offered to families before their departure to Australia. The workshop provides practical advice about the journey to Australia including quarantine laws and information about what to expect on arrival.
  • Humanitarian Settlement Services – This program provides early practical support to humanitarian entrants once they arrive in Australia. Support is generally provided for six to 12 months and may include help with finding suitable housing, assistance with basic household needs, and assistance to register with Centrelink, jobactive, Medicare, health services, banks and schools.
  • Complex Case Support – This program provides specialised and intensive help for eligible humanitarian entrants with complex or high needs (not met by other settlement services) for up to five years after their arrival in Australia.
  • Settlement Grants – Activities funded under Settlement grants aim to help humanitarian entrants become self-reliant and participate to their full capacity in the Australian community. Services funded under Settlement grants include: casework/coordination; youth settlement services; community coordination and development; and support for ethno-specific communities.
  • Beginning a Life in Australia  - The Beginning a Life in Australia booklet welcomes newly-arrived migrants and humanitarian entrants to Australia. It provides useful national, state/territory and local settlement information for migrants, humanitarian entrants, their sponsors and service providers. This information is available to download in English and 37 community languages.
  • Free Interpreting Service – The Free Interpreting Service is available primarily to non-English speaking Australian citizens and permanent residents communicating with approved community organisations and individual service providers. In addition to Australian citizens and permanent residents, private medical practitioners and pharmacies can use the Free Interpreting Service to communicate with Temporary Humanitarian Stay (subclass 449); Temporary Humanitarian Concern (subclass 786); Temporary Protection (subclass 785); and Safe Haven Enterprise (subclass 790) visa holders.
  • Free Translating Service – The Free Translating Service assists permanent residents, eligible temporary/provisional visa holders and returning Australian citizens to participate in the community by having personal documents translated into English within the first two years of their eligible visa grant date or arrival in Australia (whichever is later).

Other Australian Government services

Other Australian Government departments also provide services for humanitarian entrants: Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian Program is administered by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, the Program of Assistance for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (PASTT) is administered by the Department of Health, and the Adult Migrant English Program is administered by the Department of Education and Training.

The Department of Social Services works with other organisations and councils including:

More information

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