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Settlement Advice for Refugees & Migrants

By Rebecca Foreman | August 11, 2023

Settling in a new country can be hard for anyone especially for migrants and refugees who have experienced a traumatic journey. On your arrival, there are a number of support services available to help you overcome this trauma, and support you to feel safe, comfortable and confident in your new life here. 

​​There are several programs that can be accessed by migrants and refugees coming to Australia that can assist with services to aid the settlement process.  

The Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP) is a government-funded program that provides support to newly arrived refugees for up to 18 months. This program offers practical assistance with accommodation, employment, education, and cultural orientation to help refugees understand Australian society and customs. 

​​​​​Specialised and Intensive S​ervices​​ (SIS) is a non-profit organization that offers a range of services to help refugees and other humanitarian entrants settle in Australia, including accommodation, education, employment, and community engagement. SSI also offers specialised programs for vulnerable groups, such as women and children. Usually SSI will meet you at the airport, to support you on your very first moments here in Australia. 

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) is a non-profit organisation based out of Melbourne Victoria, that provides a range of support services including legal support, housing, food, healthcare, and education and social activities to help refugees and asylum seekers connect with each other and the wider community. 

The Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) is a legal service. They provide critical free legal advice, assistance and representation, for financially disadvantaged and vulnerable people seeking asylum in Australia. If a member of your family is still requiring support for their visa, they may be able to help.  

The Australian Red Cross offers a range of services to refugees, including emergency relief, assistance with family reunification, and community support and provides access to health services, legal assistance, and language support. 

The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA): is a national organisation that advocates for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia by providing information and resources to refugees and the wider community to promote understanding and support for refugee issues. 

This is a short guide for migrants and refugees to help make the process of settling in Australia easier. 

Seek Professional Support 

The first step to settling in Australia if you have experienced a traumatic journey is to seek support for your trauma issues. It is essential to take care of your mental and physical health as soon as you arrive in the country for yourself and your family. There are many organisations and services that offer counselling, therapy, and medical care for migrants and refugees.  

Settlement Services International (SSI), offers a range of services including counselling, mental health support, and employment services for refugees and asylum seekers. 

Additionally, STARTTS is a specialist, not-for-profit organisation that provides culturally relevant psychological treatment and support, and community interventions, to help people and communities heal the scars of torture and refugee trauma and rebuild their lives in Australia.  

It is important to seek help as soon as possible to help you adjust to life in Australia. 

Find Likeminded People 

Joining support groups can help you connect with others who have experienced similar trauma and can provide a sense of community and belonging. There are many support groups available for refugees and migrants in Australia. SSI offers group support and a range of community programs to help new arrivals. 

Likeminded people can be found at places of worship or education, such as in the Adult Migrant English Program with Navitas Skilled Futures. It’s comforting to share the experiences of others, and to find inspiration through those who have overcome their challenges. 

Learn the Language For Free 

Learning English is essential to settling in Australia. It can help you communicate with others, find employment, and integrate into the community. There are many English language schools and classes available for migrants and refugees, and the Australian government offers free English language courses to eligible individuals.  

By taking a free Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP), you can improve your language skills and communicate better with the locals in everyday life. It will also help you to understand the Australian accent, which can be challenging for some non-native English speakers. Refugees and migrants can learn English for free with Navitas Skilled Futures, either online or in one of our colleges, where you could also benefit from free childcare

Access the Healthcare System 

Australia has a public healthcare system called Medicare, and you may be eligible for free or subsidised healthcare as a refugee or migrant. If you have a valid visa, you may be able to use Medicare services to get lower cost health care. For help with Medicare, you can call Medicare.  

Finding Employment 

It is important to find employment when settling into a new country so that you can become self-sufficient. Navitas Skilled Futures can help you find employment through several programs, such as, 

Navitas Skilled Futures are here to help. Please contact us today.  

Our staff come from many cultures and speak multiple languages. If we can’t help you in your language, somebody will call you back that can.  

Phone: 1300 045 655 

AMEP/SEE/FS Enquiries: 1300 798 111 

CTA/EST Enquiries: 1300 359 695 


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