Refugee Servicing Network

Assistance if you have recently arrived as a refugee, humanitarian entrant or have been granted a Permanent Protection visa to live in Australia.

About the network

If you have recently arrived in Australia with a refugee or humanitarian visa, or have recently been granted a Permanent Protection visa, we can help you settle into your new life in Australia.

Our refugee services can provide you with:

  • financial assistance
  • an interim Medicare card
  • a new claim interview as soon as possible after your arrival or Permanent Protection visa grant
  • free interpreters and translations to help you make claims for our payments and services
  • a free information seminar about our payments and services and what you need to do
  • assistance with applications for payments and exemptions
  • referrals to our Health and Allied Health Assessors
  • assistance liaising with your Humanitarian Settlement Service program service provider or proposer, and
  • information about, and referrals to, local employment and community service providers

Your Humanitarian Settlement Services program service provider or proposer can help you access these services. You can also visit any of our service centres or call the Multilingual Phone Service to speak with someone in your language.

Notification of refugee arrival form

Your Humanitarian Settlement Services program service provider will complete a notification of refugee arrival form to tell us that you arrived in Australia. This should be done on the day you arrive to ensure you are paid from the earliest possible date.

Financial support for refugees and humanitarian entrants

  • Depending on your situation, as a refugee or humanitarian entrant you may also be eligible for a range of payments and services such as Newstart Allowance, parenting payments, disability and carer payments, or the Age Pension
  • Families payments – to help look after your children’s education and health care, and any family issues that may come up along the way
  • Crisis Payment - for humanitarian entrants – a one-off payment if you have recently arrived in Australia for the first time and have an offshore humanitarian visa
  • Rent Assistance - extra financial help if you rent privately and receive other payments
  • Child Care Benefit - helps cover the cost of approved child care, including long day care, family day care, occasional day care, and before and after school care
  • Jobs, Education and Training Child Care fee assistance – helps with the cost of approved child care if you are an eligible parent looking for work, studying, training, or undertaking rehabilitation to enter or re-enter the workforce
  • Concession and health care cards – to help you access cheaper health care services and medicines

Booking a new claim interview

When your Humanitarian Settlement Services program service provider notifies us of your arrival, a new claim appointment will be booked for you.

If you have just been granted a Permanent Protection visa and do not have a service provider helping you, call the Multilingual Phone Service to book a new claim interview.

Booking an interview in advance will give us time to arrange an interpreter to be present in person or over the phone. Without an appointment, we can usually provide an interpreter over the phone, but there is no guarantee that one will be available. During this interview, we can assist you to complete the claim form for persons granted a Humanitarian or Refugee visa form.

Refugee health services

If you have a Permanent Resident visa or have a valid visa with permission to work in Australia, you can get medical benefits and services such as Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (Immunisation Register).

Being enrolled in Medicare means that visiting a doctor will cost you less, or may even be free. You can also get prescription medicines cheaper.

If you need to see a doctor often, have regular tests, or take a lot of medication, you could end up with large medical bills. The Medicare Safety Net and PBS Safety Net can help you with this. Once you reach a safety-net threshold, visiting your doctor or buying PBS medicines will be less expensive or free.

People under 20 years of age who are enrolled in Medicare are automatically included on the Immunisation Register. The Immunisation Register records details of vaccinations given to children and young individuals who live in Australia, helping parents make sure their children are fully immunised.

Adult Migrant English Program

Provides free English language courses to eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants.

Read more about the Adult Migrant English Program.

Page last updated: 1 March 2017