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Support for migrants to Australia

4-minute read

There is plenty of support available in Australia families who have migrated to Australia or arrived in Australia as refugees, both from the government and from community organisations. These suggestions can help you find the best service for you.

Newly arrived

When you migrate to Australia, the health services you are entitled to will depend on your visa. The Australian Government provides payments and services to help you if you have recently arrived in Australia to live, but waiting periods and other conditions may apply. The Australian Government's Department of Immigration and Border Protection can help you find what your visa entitles you to, and provides links to useful resources and support services.

The Department of Human Services offers a range of support for new arrivals to Australia, including one-off crisis payments, a special benefit for people in severe financial need, free interpreting services and multicultural service officers. You can discuss income support payments and services on the department's multilingual phone service on 131 202. For help with health or child support services in your language, call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450.

If you do not speak English, the Federal Government offers up to 510 hours of free English language training to eligible people (Adult Migrant English Program). It also provides training to improve skills and confidence when looking for work (Skills for Education and Employment program) Migrant Resource Centres throughout Australia provide support to newly arrived migrants and refugees.

Healthcare

Australian residents and some eligible visitors are entitled to Medicare services. Medicare provides a range of medical services, subsidised medicines and free care in public hospitals. You can enrol in Medicare by completing a Medicare enrolment application form and submitting it with proof of identity and your residency documents to a service centre. You can call Medicare on 132 011.

If you have a health problem, first visit a doctor. Forming a trusting relationship with your local doctor is the best way to protect your health and that of your family. Your doctor can put you in touch with other services in your area. For help with Medicare or Child Support services in your language, call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450.

Centrelink payments and services

The Australian Government Department of Human Services offers a range of 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, and payments to help with your children’s education costs.

The department’s website offers a full list of different payments available for families. There is also a range of translated information about payments and services.

Pregnancy

If you have a Medicare card, Medicare will subsidise your costs during pregnancy and birth. Medicare covers:

Medicare during pregnancy has more information on what Medicare will provide. You can also read more about the differences between public and private care during pregnancy and private health insurance and pregnancy.

Find out more about the benefits Medicare may provide during pregnancy by visiting the Department of Human Services website. If you’re not an Australian resident, there’s more information on pregnancy care on a visa in Australia.

Childcare

The childcare finder website has information on different types of child care and how to get assistance with the costs. You can also search a database to find child care centres in your local area.

Family support

A number of national organisations that offer help with relationships and other family problems.

  • Relationships Australia offers counselling, education programs, mediation services and other help for families and couples, including a range of resources for non-English speaking clients. You can call them on 1300 364 277.
  • beyondblue offers mental health support and counselling as well as information and advice in different languages. You can call them on 1300 22 4636.
  • Kids Helpline is Australia's only free, private and confidential phone counselling service for young people aged between 5 and 25. You can call them on 1800 55 1800.
  • Red Nose (formerly SIDS and Kids) has information on how to prevent infant deaths as well as links to bereavement support services.
  • MensLine Australia is a national support service for men with family and relationship concerns.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: January 2019


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