Welfare

The information below is intended to provide some general information to guide newly arrived migrants in their settlement process, particularly in areas such as
education, welfare, employment and health.

Any migrant arriving under family, skilled or humanitarian or other categories should soon after arrival:

– Apply for a Tax file number with the ATO;
– Register with Medicare;
– open a Bank account;
– register with Centrelink;
– contact local Health services;
– enrol children at schools;
– secure a driver’s license;
– seek skills and qualifications assessment (1300-362-079)

For further information refer to:
– www.immi.gov.au/settle
– www.myfuture.edu.au
– www.workplace.gov.au
– Job network – 136268
– or contact us for further resource material.

Welfare benefits in the form of income and other support services were needed is available to all Australian residents under the social security benefits scheme.

The social security system in Australia provides these services to eligible people through the government agency called Centrelink. Tel: 131202.

Access to Centrelink payments depend on individual visa categories. Even if one were to become a permanent citizen of Australia, a waiting period for payments could apply.

An individual would need to provide identification documents – passport, travel documents, bank account and accommodation details to Centrelink while applying. Full details of the documentary requirements are available on their website – www.centrelink.gov.au

The individual should have a Tax File number in order to receive any Centrelink payments. Application forms to apply for a TFN to ATO are also available with Centrelink.

Waiting periods, Exemptions and Special benefits:

Normally all newly arrived migrants have to live in Australia for a period of two years before qualifying to receive any social security benefits including unemployment, student allowance and a number of other benefits. To qualify for Age and disability pensions an individual has generally to have lived in Australia for 10 years.
However Refugee and humanitarian migrants are exempt from the two years waiting period.
A payment called Special Benefits may also be available during the waiting period in very limited circumstances if one is in extreme hardship.
Migrants with dependent children may also be able to receive a Family Tax Benefit and Child care benefit – only as an income supplement (details Family Assistance Office – 136150 – or www.familyassist.gov.au )

For all Centrelink related enquiries contact:

Employment services, Newstart, Special Benefits – 131 250
Age pension, Pension concessions cards – 132300
Family Assistance Office – 136150
Youth Assistance and Students Services – 132490
Disability, Sickness and Carers – 132717
Centrelink International Services (overseas pension) – 131673

Read more about Migration Action Settling In