What support can I get?
If you or your family have migrated (moved) to Australia or arrived in Australia as refugees, you can get support. Help can be found both through the government and from community organisations.
When you move to Australia, the services you can access will depend on your visa. These services may include financial support and access to healthcare.
Waiting periods and other conditions may apply for payments and services from the Australian Government.
Where do I start?
The following Australian government services can help you understand what support is available and how to access it.
The Australian Government's Department of Home Affairs can help you:
- find what your visa entitles you to
- give you links to useful resources and support services
Services Australia offers support for new arrivals to Australia. When you arrive in the country, you will have an interview with Services Australia. You can also visit the Services Australia website to access:
- free interpreting services
- multicultural service officers
If you’re a refugee, you can get help from the Refugee Servicing Network. They can help you with:
- financial support
- finding a job
Financial support for migrant families
Financial support is available through Services Australia:
- as a one-off crisis payment
- when looking a job
- if you are a carers
- if you have a disability
- to help with your rent
- you have a severe financial need
They also offer payments and services to help families. These include:
- payments for families who have just had a baby or adopted a child
- payments like the Family Tax Benefit and Parenting Payment to help you with the cost of raising children
- payments to help with your children’s education costs
Australian residents and some visitors are entitled to Medicare services. Medicare provides a range of:
- healthcare services
- subsidised medicines
- free care in public hospitals
You can enrol in Medicare by completing a Medicare enrolment application form. Once you have filled in this form you should take it to a service centre. It’s important to do this, 7-10 days after arriving in Australia. You should also take:
- proof of identity
- your residency documents
You can call Medicare on 132 011 to find out more.
If you have a health problem, first visit a doctor. They can put you in touch with other services in your area.
For help with Medicare in your language, call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450.
If you are a refugee, you may be able to get a concession card or a healthcare card. These cards can help lower costs further.
Medicare will subsidise your costs during pregnancy and giving birth. Medicare can cover some or all of the costs of having a baby.
During pregnancy, Medicare may cover:
- blood tests and other diagnostic tests
- some immunisations
- care from doctors, midwives or obstetricians
When you go into labour and give birth, Medicare may cover:
- your public hospital stay
- midwife and obstetrician services
After you have your baby, Medicare may cover:
- midwife and obstetrician services
- visits to your doctor
- your baby’s immunisations
You can read more about:
- Medicare during pregnancy
- the differences between public and private care during pregnancy
- private health insurance and pregnancy
- maternity care in Australia, including important appointments during your pregnancy
Find out more about the help Medicare may provide during pregnancy by visiting the Services Australia website.
If you’re not an Australian resident, you can read more about pregnancy care on a visa in Australia.
What if I can’t get Medicare?
The fees for some healthcare services may be waived for asylum seekers. These might include:
- emergency care or surgery
- pregnancy services
However, this depends on which Australian state or territory you are in.
Support for families
For help with Child Support services in your language, call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450.
The Starting Blocks website explains the different types of childcare and how to get assistance with the costs.
You can also search their database to find childcare centres in your local area.
A number of national organisations can offer help with relationships and other family problems.
Relationships Australia offers:
- education programs
- mediation services
- other help for families and couples
They also have resources for non-English speaking clients. You can call them on 1300 364 277.
Kids Helpline is a free, private and confidential phone counselling service for young people aged between 5 and 25 years. You can call them on 1800 55 1800.
Red Nose (formerly SIDS and Kids) explains how to prevent infant deaths. They can also link you to support services for grief and loss.
MensLine Australia is a national support service for men with family and relationship concerns.
Can I access services in my language?
For help with support services in your language, call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450.
You can call the department's multilingual phone service on 131 202 to discuss income support payments.
If you do not speak English, the Federal Government offers free English language training to eligible people. This is known as the Adult Migrant English Program.
The government also offers training to improve skills and confidence when looking for work. This is called the Skills for Education and Employment program.
Speak to a maternal child health nurse
Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.
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Last reviewed: February 2023