Women from multicultural backgrounds smile for a group photo
Community workshops help families to feel confident interacting with Australian schools and other services. © NSW Department of Education and Communities

Supporting refugees


In Australia, when people from refugee backgrounds are settled into communities, there are many things for the (federal, state and local) governments to consider:

  • healthcare
  • housing
  • education (including access to English language classes)
  • finding employment
  • community support services
  • interpreters and translations
  • finance / financial support
  • mental health services.

External government-funded programs

The federal government provides settlement services for people who arrive in Australia with a valid humanitarian visa through the:

The federal government provides some assistance to people who with arrive in Australia and seek asylum with no visa status, through the:

  • Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme (ASAS), providing some legal, financial and medical support for asylum seekers.
    Organisations such as Red Cross Australia administer this program, as well as providing community assistance support and support for asylum seekers living in community detention.

Internal government-funded programs

There are a number of government departments that provide direct support to people from refugee backgrounds.

Local councils

Local government councils have an essential role to play in ensuring that refugees are welcomed and integrated into their new communities. Some local councils have established Refugee Welcome Zones.

“A Refugee Welcome Zone is a Local Government Area which has made a commitment in spirit to welcoming refugees into the community, upholding the human rights of refugees, demonstrating compassion for refugees and enhancing cultural and religious diversity in the community.” Refugee Council of Australia [PDF]

Non-Government Organisations

Many Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) work in support of refugees, both in Australia and overseas. Some NGOs receive funding to deliver services and programs for refugees, such as:

The Refugee Council of Australia Settlement Policy Network highlights the importance of coordination between organisations working to provide services and support for people from refugee backgrounds.