Humanitarian Settlement Program

The Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP) provides support to humanitarian entrants to build the skills and knowledge they need to become self-reliant and active members of the Australian community.

The HSP is delivered on behalf of the Australian Government by five service providers in 11 contract regions across Australia. Participation is voluntary and services are delivered to clients through a needs-based case management approach.

HSP service providers support clients to achieve outcomes in the following areas as a foundation for successful settlement:

  • Employment
  • Education and training
  • Housing
  • Physical and mental health and well-being
  • Managing money
  • Community participation and networking
  • Family functioning and social support
  • Justice
  • Language services

The HSP is designed to work in combination with other settlement and mainstream services. It has a strong focus on assisting clients to learn English and gain necessary education and employment skills in recognition that positive outcomes in these areas help humanitarian entrants integrate into Australian life.

The HSP replaced the Humanitarian Settlement Services (HSS) and Complex Case Support (CCS) programs on 30 October 2017.

Support provided under the HSP

HSP case managers work collaboratively with clients to develop an individualised case management plan and deliver a package of services tailored to their identified needs.

Services include early practical support such as:

  • airport reception
  • on-arrival accommodation and property induction
  • provision of an initial food and essential items package
  • assistance to register with Centrelink, Medicare and a bank
  • addressing immediate health needs
  • instructions on what to do in an emergency situation and how to access interpreting services
  • orientation to local services.

Other services that are available to assist clients achieve their settlement outcomes include:

  • delivery of an onshore Orientation program to build knowledge of Australian values and way of life 
  • assistance to source long-term accommodation
  • support to access mainstream services, including health and family support services
  • connections to local community groups and activities 
  • support to register with the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) and attend lessons 
  • help to enrol in relevant education and training and recognise pre-arrival skills and qualifications
  • assistance to engage with employment services, implement employment strategies and access support services for establishing a business. 

HSP service providers can also facilitate the lodgment of applications for the Free Translating Service (FTS) for eligible FTS clients who are unable to lodge online.

Exit from the HSP is based on clients achieving the settlement outcomes identified in their case management plan. For most clients, these outcomes will be reached within six to 18 months of arrival in Australia.

Specialised and Intensive Services

The HSP provides Specialised and Intensive Services (SIS) to humanitarian entrants and other eligible visa holders who have complex needs.

SIS offer clients short-term support (generally, up to six months) to help them access appropriate mainstream services and develop the necessary skills to manage their needs independently.

The Department of Social Services (DSS) must approve a referral for a person to receive SIS. For information on how to make a referral, see below - How to refer a person for SIS. 

Accessing the HSP

When a person is granted one of the following visas to resettle in Australia, they are referred by DSS to an HSP service provider to access support under the HSP on their arrival in Australia:

  • Refugee (subclass 200, 201, 203 and 204) visa
  • Global Special Humanitarian (subclass 202) visa*

*Individuals granted a subclass 202 visa under the Community Support Program (CSP) are not eligible to access support under the HSP on their arrival in Australia as they receive settlement services from their Approved Proposing Organisation. Information on the CSP is available from the Department of Home Affairs’ website. Subject to DSS approval, CSP entrants may be eligible to receive SIS.

SIS eligibility

Subject to the approval of DSS, people holding one of the following visas may be eligible to receive SIS under the HSP:

  • Refugee (subclass 200, 201, 203 and 204) visa
  • Global Special Humanitarian (subclass 202) visa
  • Protection (subclass 866) visa
  • Temporary Protection (subclass 785), Temporary Humanitarian Stay (subclass 449), Temporary Humanitarian Concern (subclass 786) and Safe Haven Enterprise (subclass 790) visas.

Holders of these visas may be eligible for SIS for up to five years after their arrival in Australia, or up to five years after the grant of their eligible onshore visa. In exceptional circumstances, flexibility may be shown to this timeframe and holders of other visa subclasses. Australian Citizens are not eligible for SIS.

People who are eligible for SIS must demonstrate an inability to independently engage with appropriate supports and be impacted by multiple or complex barriers that may include:

  • disability
  • health needs that are severe, critical, long term and/or unmanaged
  • mental health issues
  • homelessness or housing instability
  • domestic or family violence
  • child and youth welfare concerns
  • family and/or relationship breakdown
  • social isolation
  • financial hardship
  • legal issues.

How to refer a person for SIS

Any organisation or individual can refer a person for SIS, including self-referral. To make a referral, please complete the SIS Referral Form attached above.

If you are unsure of whether a person is eligible for SIS, you can contact DSS for assistance by calling 1300 855 669 (free call in Australia) or emailing

APP 5 Privacy notice

The Privacy Act 1988 requires DSS to notify an individual of certain matters when it collects and discloses personal information about them.

The HSP Australian Privacy Principle (APP) 5 Notice, attached above, is provided to all HSP clients to explain how DSS will collect, use and disclose personal information to support their settlement in Australia.

Related programs

The HSP works in combination with a number of other settlement programs to support eligible migrants. These include:

  • Settlement Grants – delivers targeted services to communities and locations in greatest need of settlement assistance (administered by the Department of Social Services).
  • Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) – provides up to 510 hours of English language tuition to eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants to help them learn foundation English language (administered by the Department of Education and Training).
  • Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) – provides language, literacy and numeracy training to eligible job seekers, to help them to participate more effectively in training or in the labour force (administered by the Department of Education and Training).
  • jobactive – connects job seekers with employers and assists job seekers to develop a Job Plan and search for a job (administered by the Department of Jobs and Small Business).
  • Disability Employment Services – assists people with disability, injury or health condition to prepare for, find and keep a job (administered by the Department of Social Services).
  • Programme of Assistance for Survivors of Torture and Trauma – provides specialised support services to eligible migrants who are experiencing psychological difficulties associated with surviving torture and trauma before coming to Australia (administered by the Department of Health).
  • Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) – provides interpreting services 24 hours a day, seven days a week (administered by the Department of Home Affairs).

More information and other useful links

Advisory bodies

Peak bodies

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