Newly arrived resident's waiting period

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

Waiting period

You usually have to wait for the newly arrived resident's waiting period of 104 weeks to pass before you can access most payments and benefits. This waiting period doesn’t apply to family assistance payments.

You can count periods spent in Australia as an Australian resident or as the holder of certain temporary visas at any time in your life towards the waiting period, provided you were living in Australia at that time.

If you’re a New Zealand citizen arriving on a New Zealand passport with a Special Category visa, you'll generally need to apply for and be granted a permanent resident visa before we can look at periods of time you've spent in Australia.

You don’t need a permanent visa if you're claiming a:

Read more about New Zealand citizens claiming payments in Australia.

While you're serving your waiting period, you can register with jobactive or the Community Development Programme to help find work. You can also use the employment self-help facilities available in our service centres.

If you've lived in any countries that have International social security agreements with Australia, you may qualify for some payments such as:

Exemptions to the newly arrived resident’s waiting period

The newly arrived resident’s waiting period may not affect you if you're:

  • an Australian citizen
  • a person who arrived under a refugee or humanitarian program
  • the holder of one of the visa subclasses listed below, or
  • the family member of:
    • an Australian citizen or long term resident
    • a refugee or humanitarian migrant, or
    • a former refugee or humanitarian migrant at the time the former refugee or humanitarian migrant arrived in Australia

You may be exempt from the waiting period for certain payments and concession cards for other reasons. If you're in hardship because of a substantial change of circumstances beyond your control, you may get Special Benefit immediately.

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 listed payments and concession cards:

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

  • subclass 100 - spouse or partner
  • subclass 110 - interdependency
  • subclass 801 - spouse or partner
  • subclass 814 - interdependency
  • subclass 852 - referred stay (permanent)

Carer Payment

  • subclass 104 - preferential family - pre-1 November 1999
  • subclass 116 - carer
  • subclass 806 - family
  • subclass 836 - carer

Special Benefit and the Low Income Health Care Card

  • subclass 060 - bridging visa F
  • subclass 070 - bridging (removal pending)
  • subclass 449 - humanitarian stay (temporary)
  • subclass 785 - temporary protection
  • subclass 786 - temporary (humanitarian concern)
  • subclass 790 - safe haven enterprise

Page last updated: 13 July 2016