Regional and Rural Settlement FAQs

Who is a refugee?

The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (and its 1967 Protocol) defines a refugee as:
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 nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his or her habitual residence, is unable, or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.

- (Article 1A(2) of the Refugee Convention)

The majority of applicants who are considered under this category are identified and referred by the UNHCR to Australia for resettlement. The Refugee category includes the Refugee, In-country Special Humanitarian, Emergency Rescue and Woman at Risk visa subclasses.

What is the difference between a migrant and a refugee?

As defined above, a refugee is a person who has had to flee his or her country of origin because of persecution or fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

Migrants make a conscious choice to move to another country. They are able to read about the country and learn about it from friends and families. They have time to study the language and explore employment opportunities before they make a final decision about whether to come.

Who is eligible for Humanitarian Settlement Service (HSP)?

Clients holding the following visas (who have been referred directly through the Humanitarian Program by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection) are eligible for the HSP:

  • Refugee category (subclass 200, 201, 203 and 204) visas; and
  • Global Special Humanitarian (subclass 202) visa.

Specialised and Intensive Services (Tier 3)
Subject to the Department’s approval, Specialised and Intensive Services under the HSP are available to the following additional visa holders:

  • Protection (subclass 866) visa; and
  • Temporary Protection (subclass 785), Temporary Humanitarian Stay (subclass 449), Temporary Humanitarian Concern (subclass 786) and Safe Haven Enterprise (subclass 790) visas.

Holders of these visas may be eligible for Specialised and Intensive Services for approximately five years after their arrival in Australia or five years after the grant of their onshore visa. Therefore, a client who has previously exited the HSP may re-enter the HSP to receive Specialised and Intensive Services, subject to the Department’s approval.

Will AMES Australia help me find accommodation upon arrival to Victoria, Australia?

The HSP program provides accommodation services for eligible clients only (see above eligibility). Housing Workers assist clients with sourcing and securing appropriate and affordable accommodation. We also assist clients with:

  • bond applications
  • letters of support
  • Office of Housing
  • Signing lease agreement
  • Condition report and
  • Provide tenancy training and information.

How can I help refugees?

You can assist and help refugees in the HSP program by becoming a volunteer. Click here for more information about volunteering with AMES Australia.