Settling in a new country can be tough at the best of times, if you have fled war, famine, disaster, or persecution, resettlement can be an extremely difficult transition.
Support for refugees in Australia comes in many different forms.
The Australian Government offers a range of programs that refugees can take advantage of to assist with their settlement in Australia.
When you and your family initially arrive in Australia, a caseworker will assist in several ways such as:
Meeting you at the airport.
Providing short-term accommodation.
Help in searching for long-term accommodation.
Connecting you with appropriate support services for you and your family.
Introducing you to local community and or culturally relevant groups.
Assisting with the transition to working in Australia including English and vocational education.
The government offers education programs for both adults and children to help make the transition to life in Australia easier.
For adults, the government provides the adult migrant English program (AMEP).
AMEP is free and offers unlimited hours of English instruction until you have achieved vocational English.
For children, schools offer a range of services including but not limited to:
For more information you can speak to your case manager about the support your children may require and they can speak to local schools to help you find the right fit.
There may be some limitations depending on your Visa class, however, as a refugee your entitlements are mostly the same as any permanent resident of Australia.
That means there are social security payments available to you for living and accommodation expenses just as any permanent resident would receive and with the same requirements to qualify.
As a refugee or holder of a special humanitarian visa and waiting or qualifying periods are waived due to the special circumstances in which you became a permanent resident.
There is a range of organisations that can help you no matter what you need assistance with. The easiest way to find it is to go to the Refugee Council of Australia’s directory page.
Here you can find a list with the contact and location details of relevant support services and organisations depending on your state.
Another great organisation to get in touch with for assistance is Host International who have offices across Australia and South East Asia.
Letting your consultant know about any difficulties you are experiencing is also recommended. As they are experts on your new local community, they may be able to give advice or point you towards people that can help.