Newly Arrived Resident's Waiting Period

If you are a recently arrived resident in Australia, generally you won’t have immediate access to social security payments or concession cards.

Waiting period

You usually have to wait 104 weeks (the Newly Arrived Resident's Waiting Period) before you can access most payments and benefits. This waiting period doesn’t apply to family assistance payments.

You can count periods spent in living in Australia as an Australian resident at any time in your life towards the waiting period.

You must be an Australian resident, or the holder of certain temporary visas, and be living in Australia to serve the waiting period. If you arrive in Australia on a Special Category Visa (New Zealand citizens arriving on a New Zealand passport), you will need to apply for and be granted a permanent resident visa before you can start to serve the Newly Arrived Resident's Waiting Period (except if you are claiming the Low Income Health Care Card or Commonwealth Seniors Health Card).

While you are serving your waiting period, you can register with Job Services Australia to get help finding work. You can also use the Employment Self Help facilities available in DHS Service Centres.

If you have lived in any countries that have social security agreements with Australia, you may be able to use an agreement to help you qualify for some payments such as Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, Parenting Payment (Single) or Bereavement Allowance.

Exemptions to the Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period

The Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period may not affect you if you are:

  • an Australian citizen, or
  • a person who arrived under a refugee or humanitarian program, or
  • the holder of certain visa subclasses, or
  • the family member of an Australian citizen or long-term resident, or
  • the family member of a refugee or humanitarian migrant, or
  • you were a family member of a former refugee or humanitarian migrant at the time the former refugee or humanitarian migrant arrived in Australia

There are other reasons which exempt some people from the waiting period for certain payments and concession cards. If you are in hardship because of a substantial change of circumstances beyond your control, you may be able to get Special Benefit immediately. Losing, or not being able to find a job is generally not considered to be a change of circumstances.

Visas exempt from the Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period

If you have one of the following visa subclasses you don’t have to serve the Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period for the indicated payments and concession cards:

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and Low Income Health Care Card and all payments except Special Benefit

  • subclass 100
  • subclass 110
  • subclass 801
  • subclass 814
  • subclass 832
  • subclass 833

Carer Payment

  • subclass 104
  • subclass 116
  • subclass 806
  • subclass 836

Special Benefit and the Low Income Health Care Card

  • subclass 070
  • subclass 447
  • subclass 451
  • subclass 695
  • subclass 785
  • subclass 786
  • subclass 787
  • subclass 832
  • subclass 833
  • subclass 852 or 
  • a Criminal Justice Stay Visa issued for the purposes of assisting in the administration of criminal justice in relation to the offence of people trafficking, sexual servitude or deceptive recruiting