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.

Services provided under the HSP

HSP case managers work collaboratively with clients to assess their needs, and deliver a tailored package of services to meet those needs, through the development of individualised case management plans.

HSP services are divided into two broad categories: Immediate and Foundation. As services are delivered based on need, not all clients will require all services.

Immediate services

Immediate services provide early practical support to humanitarian entrants following their arrival in Australia including:

  • 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
  • details of what to do in an emergency situation and how to access interpreting services
  • orientation to local services.

Foundation services

Foundation services help clients to achieve the settlement outcomes identified in their case management plan. Services include:

  • delivery of an onshore Orientation program that builds clients’ knowledge about the Australian way of life and values 
  • assistance to source long-term accommodation
  • support to access mainstream services, including health and family support services
  • connecting clients 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.

Specialised and Intensive Services

Specialised and Intensive Services (SIS) are a component of the HSP that offer additional support to clients with exceptional or complex needs.

The Department of Social Services (DSS) must receive and approve a referral for SIS before services to an individual can commence. Any member of the public can refer a person for SIS by completing the HSP SIS referral form.

For existing HSP clients, approval for SIS provides a more intensive level of case management support. For individuals who are not existing HSP clients, SIS offers access to intensive case management support as well as the full range of HSP foundation services, based on need.

The length of time that clients receive SIS may vary according to individual needs. However, for most clients it is likely to be a short-term intervention of up to six months.


Individuals holding the following visas, and who have been referred directly to the HSP through the offshore Humanitarian Programme by the Department of Home Affairs, are eligible to receive all HSP services:

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

Subject to the approval of DSS, Specialised and Intensive Services under the HSP are available to the additional following visa holders:

  • Protection (subclass 866) visa; and
  • 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 Specialised and Intensive Services for approximately five years after their arrival in Australia or five years after the grant of their onshore visa. Therefore, a client who has previously exited the HSP may re-enter the program to receive Specialised and Intensive Services, subject to the approval of DSS.

Completion of services

Exit from the HSP is based on clients achieving the settlement outcomes identified in their case management plan.

For most clients it is expected that these outcomes will be reached between six to 18 months of entering the HSP.

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, which is 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 Employment).
  • 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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