Refugees are regular people who, through no fault of their own, have been forced to leave their homes in search of safety. People often have little or no warning before they are forced from their homes due to war or persecution, and many refugees have to undertake dangerous journeys to reach safety.

They must leave behind their family, friends and most or all of their belongings, and they cannot return unless the situation that forced them to leave improves. The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, to which Australia is a signatory, defines a refugee as: “Any person who owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his/her nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country.”

This definition is used by the Australian Government to determine whether our country has protection obligations towards an individual. If a person is found to be a refugee, Australia is obliged under international law to offer protection and support and to ensure that they are not sent back unwillingly to the country of origin. (RCOA)

Newly arrived humanitarian entrants have overcome incredible challenges to call Australia home. Many have undertaken dangerous journeys in search of safety and most arrive on our shores with just a suitcase to their name.

Humanitarian entrants receive services that aim to help them overcome these challenges and reach their full potential in Australia. These services fall under a number of different categories outlined below.

Government assistance

Government assistance to help new arrivals to settle takes account of their essential needs and circumstances. Basic settlement information is provided to all migrants and humanitarian entrants before they migrate to Australia. It is expected that skilled migrants, and sponsors of family migrants, will undertake their own more detailed research into settlement issues and that these migrants will generally be able to settle into the community and into work without needing a high level of government support. In recognition of their special needs and circumstances, humanitarian entrants are the highest priority for government-funded settlement services.

Mainstream services

Migrants will generally use mainstream services provided by governments, community organisations and the private sector to address a number of their settlement needs. Many mainstream agencies, such as health and employment services, provide services to eligible migrants as they do to all eligible Australians, past the immediate settlement period.

Specialised settlement services

Specialised settlement services are designed specifically to assist migrants and refugees with their critical early settlement needs. Services are provided by governments, the private sector and community organisations like SSI. Some specialist services, such as torture and trauma counselling services, are directed towards the special needs of humanitarian entrants.

Some of the specialised settlement services include:

  • Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP)
  • Complex Case Support (CCS)
  • Humanitarian Settlement Services (HSS)
  • Settlement Grants Program (SGP)
  • Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS)

SSI is one of the leading providers under the HSS program, which provides initial settlement support to families and individuals who have been granted a permanent visa under Australia’s humanitarian program. For more information on all of the above services click here.

A migrant is a person who makes a conscious choice to leave their country to seek a better life elsewhere. Before they decide to leave their country, migrants can seek information about their new home, study the language and explore employment opportunities. They can plan their travel, take their belongings with them and say goodbye to the important people in their lives. They are free to return home at any time if things don’t work out as they had hoped, if they get homesick or if they wish to visit family members and friends left behind.

Refugees are forced to leave their country because they are at risk of, or have experienced persecution. The concerns of refugees are human rights and safety, not economic advantage. They leave behind their homes, most or all of their belongings, family members and friends. Some are forced to flee with no warning and many have experienced significant trauma or been tortured or otherwise ill-treated. The journey to safety is fraught with hazard and many refugees risk their lives in search of protection. They cannot return unless the situation that forced them to leave improves. (RCOA)

Newly arrived humanitarian entrants have overcome incredible challenges to call Australia home. Many have undertaken dangerous journeys in search of safety and most arrive on our shores with just a suitcase to their name.

Humanitarian entrants receive services that aim to help them overcome these challenges and reach their full potential in Australia. These services fall under a number of different categories outlined below.

Government assistance

Government assistance to help new arrivals to settle takes account of their essential needs and circumstances. Basic settlement information is provided to all migrants and humanitarian entrants before they migrate to Australia. It is expected that skilled migrants, and sponsors of family migrants, will undertake their own more detailed research into settlement issues and that these migrants will generally be able to settle into the community and into work without needing a high level of government support. In recognition of their special needs and circumstances, humanitarian entrants are the highest priority for government-funded settlement services.

Mainstream services

Migrants will generally use mainstream services provided by governments, community organisations and the private sector to address a number of their settlement needs. Many mainstream agencies, such as health and employment services, provide services to eligible migrants as they do to all eligible Australians, past the immediate settlement period.

Specialised settlement services

Specialised settlement services are designed specifically to assist migrants and refugees with their critical early settlement needs. Services are provided by governments, the private sector and community organisations like SSI. Some specialist services, such as torture and trauma counselling services, are directed towards the special needs of humanitarian entrants.

Some of the specialised settlement services include:

  • Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP)
  • Complex Case Support (CCS)
  • Humanitarian Settlement Services (HSS)
  • Settlement Grants Program (SGP)
  • Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS)

SSI is one of the leading providers under the HSS program, which provides initial settlement support to families and individuals who have been granted a permanent visa under Australia’s humanitarian program. For more information on all of the above services click here.

No. A refugee who has permanent residency in Australia receives exactly the same social security benefits as any Australian resident in the same circumstances.

A single person with no dependent children who is eligible for the Newstart Allowance (whether or not he or she is a refugee) will receive up to $528.70 per fortnight, whereas a single person on an Age Pension payment will receivewill receive a fortnightly payment of up to $877.10. A single age pensioner therefore receives over $300.00 more per fortnight more than a single refugee (or a single Australian citizen or permanent resident) who qualifies for the Newstart Allowance.

Australian citizens and permanent residents with dependent children on lower to middle incomes (including refugees) may also be eligible to receive Family Tax Benefits or Parenting Payments. However, none of these allowances are paid at a higher rate than the single age pension.

Refugees apply for social security through Centrelink like everyone else and are assessed for the different payment options in the same way as everyone else. The two-year waiting period for Centrelink eligibility that applies to other newly arrived permanent residents is waived for refugees and humanitarian entrants, in recognition of the fact that (unlike other migrants) they often arrive in Australia with few or no financial resources. However, Centrelink payments are calculated at exactly the same rate for both refugees and non-refugees and there are no separate Centrelink allowances that people can receive simply by virtue of being a refugee. (Parliament of Australia)

The number of refugees and humanitarian entrants Australia accepts has varied in recent years. As of 2015-2016, Australia accepted 17,555 refugees in total.

This figure includes: 6,730 refugees, 5,032 special humanitarian entrants, 2,003 people granted onshore protection visas, 1,277 women deemed to be ‘at risk’, and 3,790 people granted visas under the Australian Government’s commitment to deliver additional humanitarian places to people displaced by the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

Below is a list of refugee and humanitarian visas entrants by top 10 countries of origin.

2015–2016 offshore visa grants by top 10 countries of birth

Countries Number of visas granted

Country NameNumber of visas granted
Iraq4,358
Syria4,261
Myanmar1,951
Afghanistan1,714
Congo (DRC)657
Bhutan515
Somalia437
Iran337
Ethiopia337
Eritrea291

Refer to statistics link

SMRC assists refugees who have been in Australia for less than 5 years.

SMRC is a not-for-profit community based agency, in operation since 1993. We provide services to migrants and refugees living in the southern region of Melbourne, covering the local government areas of City of Greater Dandenong, City of Casey and Shire of Cardinia and surrounding areas.

We provide classes to give information to learn how to apply. These are held……..

Yes , if you have multiple complex needs , we will make and assessment and determine your pathway.

Yes , we do have some staff speak language or we will use an interpreter service when needed.

We can provide information about how to look for housing and if necessary make referrals and links to a housing service.

A care plan is a plan where you and the SMRC coordinator discuss what you need and what you would like to get out of the service. Your care plan is reviewwd annually or as your situation changes. We begin with a service assessment in order fo rus to look aftr you appropriatley while you attend the program.

At SMRc, we offer a varitty of engaging services for including:

  • Access and Support services for the elderly and those with a disability.
  • Social support in a group setting
  • Outing Programs
  • Positive Aging Programs – Strength Training and Tai Chi
  • Allied Health Therapy Servies – Warm Water Exercises
  • Social Support for Individuals at your Home – Volunteer Visits
  • Community Visitor Scheme
  • Saturday Centre based Respite Program
  • Support for Carers
  • Domestic Assistance – unaccompanied shopping trips

Refer Aged Care & Disability for more information.

SMRC can provide mini bus transport to and from some of our services. The services fee is $7.50 for our Social Support Group and Saturday Care Based Respite program.

Yes, we encourage that you have a person to help you and act on your behalf if you feel you need this assistance. This maybe a family member, friend or someone from the Advocacy Service. SMRc will always respect your rights when making a decision about your care and service provision.

SMRC provides a number of etho specific programs such as:

 

 

For enquiries contact sharons@smrc.org.au