For newly arrived refugees

To keep getting your payment, you may need to do certain tasks and activities.

When you arrive

Your coordinator or case worker will tell us when you’ve arrived in Australia and tell you of your new claim appointment.

You must attend the new claim appointment within, either:

  • 3 to 15 business days of arriving in Australia
  • reaching your final settlement location.

One of our Specialist Officers will help you claim a payment that is right for your situation.

If you don’t have someone helping you, call our multilingual phone service to speak to someone in your language. They’ll book the appointment for you.

We’ll also organise some other appointments for you. Your appointments include going to a seminar about our payments and services. It’s important for you to go to all your appointments or your payment may stop.

You’ll be exempt from mutual obligation requirements for the first 12 weeks after you arrive in Australia. Mutual obligation requirements are certain tasks and activities you must do regularly to keep getting your payment.

Going to an Employment Services Assessment appointment

The Specialist Officer may also refer you for an Employment Services Assessment. This helps us understand:

  • anything that may stop you looking for or accepting work
  • your capacity to work taking into consideration any disability, illness or injury
  • the best employment services program to suit you, if needed.

We’ll call you to do the Employment Services Assessment over the phone. In some cases, your appointment may be at your local service centre.

Call us before if you cannot attend your appointment. You can call us on the same phone number we give you when we make the appointment.

Choosing to participate with Workforce Australia

It’s not compulsory to participate in Workforce Australia until you have been in Australia for 12 months.

However, you can choose to participate in Workforce Australia from 6 weeks after you arrive in Australia if you want help to find work sooner.

Workforce Australia is an employment service that can help you prepare for and look for work. It includes an online service and a network of providers that can help you to:

  • write a resume
  • prepare for interviews
  • get skills that local employers need
  • find and keep a job.

When it has been 12 weeks

We’ll meet with you after you have been in Australia for 12 weeks. At this appointment we:

  • check to make sure your circumstances haven’t changed
  • create a Job Plan with you
  • explain your mutual obligation requirements
  • tell you about your reporting requirements
  • can refer you to Workforce Australia, if you choose to get help to prepare and look for a job.

Depending on your circumstances, we may refer you to one of the following instead:

  • Disability Employment Services
  • Workforce Australia Transition to Work
  • the Community Development Program.

Creating your Job Plan

We’ll create a Job Plan with you that is valid until 12 months from the date you arrived in Australia. It’s an agreement you will do approved activities to help you adjust to your life in Australia.

We’ll talk to you about the activities you can do. You must agree to do at least one activity.

Your approved activity can be:

  • participating in the Humanitarian Settlement Program
  • learning English through the Department of Home Affairs’ Adult Migrant English Program
  • participating in Workforce Australia
  • doing other approved work, study or training activities, depending on your participation requirements.

To keep getting your payment you must do the activity you agreed to do.

If you cannot do any of the activities, you must let us know beforehand. If you don’t tell us, your payment may stop.

Read more about the Humanitarian Settlement Program on the Department of Home Affairs website.

What you need to do after week 12

It is important you continue to meet your mutual obligation and reporting requirements.

Reporting requirements

You must go to your appointments and do your approved activities to keep getting your payment.

You must report regularly to let us know you are doing your agreed activities. You’ll also need to report any employment income you’ve been paid in the past 14 days to us. This includes your partner’s income. You need to tell us even if it’s zero.

We tell you how often you need to report. It may depend on your approved activities.

When you’ve been in Australia for 12 months

You’ll have an appointment with us once you have been in Australia for 12 months.

At this appointment we’ll review your circumstances. In most cases, we’ll refer you to a Workforce Australia employment services provider.

Who you can contact about your requirements

If you’re having trouble meeting your mutual obligation requirements, call our multilingual phone service to speak to someone in your language. You can also go to a Services Australia service centre to speak to a service officer.

Page last updated: 10 January 2023.
QC 63903