Life in Australia



AMES Australia provides settlement support to newly arrived refugees and migrants in Victoria, South Australia & Tasmania, through the Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP).

If you are currently on a 600 tourist VISA in Victoria then you are not eligible for Centrelink payments (money from the government) or Medicare (discounted medication and subsidised medical costs). Once you have applied for HSP support, AMES will be able to provide emergency relief vouchers until you are transferred on to a 449 visa. The amount of emergency relief vouchers is determined on a case-by-case basis and depend on need and family size. AMES staff will conduct an assessment prior to deciding how much financial assistance to provide.

Whilst you are on the 600-tourist visa, you will not be required to pay for your short-term accommodation in AMES provided accommodation. Once you have received your 449 visa and your Centrelink payments, you will be required to pay for your short-term accommodation after the 28-day period has expired. Each circumstance is different so please check with your case manager.

Once you commence receiving Centrelink payments, the AMES housing team will support you to find suitable Long Term Accommodation (LTA). Our Housing team will assist you.

Whist staying in the short term accommodation, no additional family or friends are able to stay with you. If you leave the short-term accommodation you are required to inform your case manager and return your room access pass to the ground floor reception.

Jobs Victoria Employment Service (JVES)

Do you need support looking for work?

AMES has a team of Jobs Victoria mentors and support services that can provide advice, help update your skills, and support you into a job that suits you.
For more information, contact Brad McKendry at

Centrelink & Services Australia

Support for Ukrainian nationals in Australia

If you are a Ukrainian national who has moved to Australia, you can apply for support depending on the type of visa you have.

Whether applying online, by phone or at a Centrelink office please make sure you have the following documents with you

  • Visa
  • Bank Account details
  • Identification – Passport, Immi card or ID card
  • Tax file number – if you don’t have one, please apply here: TFN Application

To book an appointment with Centrelink call the multilingual line on 131 202 (please be aware of long wait times).

If you live near a Centrelink Office, go in and book a “customer assisted application” appointment. At the appointment Centrelink staff will complete the paperwork on your behalf. If required, request an interpreter to ensure everything is clear and your obligations are understood.

Should you wish to apply online you can start the application here

How to claim Special Benefit - Special Benefit - Services Australia

What payments you can get

The payments and services you are eligible for will depend on the type of visa you have.If you have a valid 449 or 786 visa, you can claim any of the following payments, without having to serve a waiting period. Read more about these payments:

If you or your family are affected by COVID-19, you may be able to get a payment from us. Find out more about what to do if you need a payment.

Family Tax Benefit and Child Immunisation Requirements:

When applying for Centrelink payments, such as Special benefit payment, you will also need to apply for Family Tax Benefit payments if you have school aged children. Centrelink may reduce your FTB payments if your child doesn’t meet the Australian immunisation requirements. Your payments may reduce by up to $30.66 per fortnight. This will apply for each child that doesn’t meet the requirements.

How Centrelink Checks if your child is up to date with immunisations:

Centrelink uses:

  • Medicare Card number
  • Individual Reference Number - number next to their name on your Medicare card

They use these details to check with the AIR (Australian Immunisation Register) that the children meet immunisation requirements. If your child isn’t eligible for a Medicare card, tell Centrelink when you apply for your Special benefit and Family Tax Benefit payments.

Getting your child’s vaccinations in Australia:

To meet the requirements, all your children younger than 20 need to do one of the following:

  • Be on a suitable catch-up schedule in line with the Department of Health and Aged Care’s current Australian Immunisation Handbook
  • Have an approved medical exemption recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

If your child is missing any vaccinations on the National Immunisation Program Schedule, you have a few different options for support:

  • Speak to your AMES Case Manager who can guide you through the process of enrolling your children in a catch-up immunisation schedule
  • Visit your local GP to discuss immunizing your children
  • Visit your local council vaccination centre to enquire about vaccinating your children

In Victoria, there is a temporary vaccination clinic set up at 506 Elizabeth Street to support Displaced Ukrainians with getting their children vaccinated.  You can contact this clinic through an AMES case manager, or you can contact them yourself by emailing with the following information:

  • Immunisation documents (even if they are non-translated/in Ukrainian)
  • Family and children name details
  • Parent contact details, phone number and email address
  • Copy of family passports

Contacting Centrelink Once your children are enrolled in a catch-up schedule:

You must notify Centrelink once your children are enrolled in a catch-up schedule through your GP or Immunisation provider. You can do this by visiting your local Centrelink office or by calling the Centrelink Multilingual line on 131 202. Centrelink will need to match your child’s AIR record with their system. This will ensure that your Family Tax Benefit payments or not reduced or cancelled.

Help with general health care

If you have a valid 449 visa, you are not eligible for Medicare.

If you have a valid 786 visa, you can use Medicare to get lower cost health care. Read more about what’s covered by Medicare and how to enrol in Medicare.

Help with COVID vaccines

While you’re in Australia you can get your COVID-19 vaccinations for free. Read more about COVID-19 vaccinations. You don’t need a specific visa type to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

Social work services

They can help you with any of the following:

  • use of mental health support services
  •  short term counselling
  •  Information and referrals to other support services.

You can talk to a social worker by calling Centrelink and asking to speak with one. If you need an interpreter, let us know and we’ll arrange one for you. You can also call the Centrelink multilingual phone service.

You can also visit your nearest service centre and ask to speak with a social worker.

Information in your language

You can read, listen or watch information in your language.

If you have questions about Centrelink payments and services, call the Centrelink multilingual phone service.

If you need a document translated so you can claim a payment or service, let Centrelink know when you call. This can be provided for free.