Government Assistance for Migrants

The Australian Government offers many services to new migrants to help them settle into their new home. The following list of services is by no means exhaustive. If you can’t find what you’re looking for here, or on the Department for Human Services website, we may be able to point you in the right direction.

English Language Assistance

Knowing the English language better will help you feel at home quicker. Eligible migrants may be able to study English for free through the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP). To be eligible you must:

(1)  Hold a permanent visa, be 18 years or older, and have little or no English; (2) Hold a permanent visa, be under the age of 18, and have completed your high school education; (3) Hold a temporary visa of the following kind:

(a)               Business Skills (Provisional) (Class UR);

(b)               Business Skills (Provisional) (Class EB);

(c)               Interdependency (Provisional) (Class UG);

(d)               Partner (Provisional) (Class UF);

(e)               Partner (Temporary) (Class UK);

(f)                Resolution of Status (Temporary) (Class UH);

(g)               Skilled – Designated Area-sponsored (Provisional) (Class UZ);

(h)               Skilled – Independent Regional (Provisional) (Class UX);

(i)                Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Subclass 475); and

(j)                Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Subclass 487); and

(k)               Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Subclass 489).

You will rceive 510 hours of lessons, or be taught until you reach a level of functional English, whichever comes first. Registration should be completed within 6 months of your visa commencement date so that you will be able to begin classes within the year. You will have five years in which to complete the course although you may be allowed additional time in certain circumstances. If you have children who are not yet old enough to go to school, you may also be eligible for free childcare to enable you to attend your AMEP English classes.

Assistance with the Cost of Obtaining Australian Accreditations (ASDOT)

Many new immigrants will be required to undertake assessments or exams in order to obtain qualifications necessary to practice in Australia. Newly arrived Permanent Residents who are members of approved professions may be eligible for assistance with the costs involved in becoming accredited in Australia via the Assessment Subsidy for Overseas Trained Professionals Program. The professions which are currently relevant for assistance are listed below:

  • architect
  • chiropractor
  • dentist
  • dietician
  • general medical practitioner
  • medical-laboratory scientist
  • medical specialist
  • nurse
  • occupational therapist
  • optometrist
  • pharmacist
  • physiotherapist
  • podiatrist
  • radiographer
  • veterinarian.

Further information is available here.

Translation of Essential Documents

Eligible visa holders (most provisional partner visa holders for example, and some permanent visa holders) will be able to have certain documents translated to English for free within two years of either the date of their arrival Australia, or the grant of their permanent onshore visa in Australia, whichever is relevant. Documents eligible for translation fall into three main categories:

  1.  Identity & Relationship Documents such as birth, marriage, and change of name certificates, as well as relevant custody documents, etc.
  2. Facilitation Documents such as driver’s licences, penal, medical and vaccination certificates etc.
  3. Education & Employment Documents such as academic transcripts, trade certificates, letters of appointment etc.

Note that this free service is limited to 100 words per document in many cases, with legal, medical and educational documents being limited to 300 words.

This means that extracts only will be provided in many cases (for example, where employer references, or contracts of employment exceed the 100 word limit).

Ask us if you would like more information.

Other Support for New Arrivals

Other benefits may be available to you depending upon your circumstances, such as assistance with childcare payments if you are looking for work or undergoing training, disability assistance, or special crisis assistance if you are undergoing extreme hardship. The Department of Human Services website is a good place to start looking if you think you may be eligible for some kind of assistance. Interpreters to help you with information about payments and services offered by the Australian Government are available for free upon request from the Department of Human Services. The Department also has multi-cultural Service Officers who work with different community groups and agencies in order to assist migrants access the services they need.