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Australian Government assistance to refugees

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AUGUST 10, 2010

Australian Government assistance to refugees

Despite claims made in a series of emails that have been widely circulated throughout Australia, refugees are not entitled to higher benefits than other social security recipients. In recent years, a series of emails have been widely circulated throughout Australia claiming to describe the social security entitlements of refugees, compared with those of other Australian residents.

A common claim in these emails is that refugees in Australia receive higher social security benefits than age pensioners. Some also suggest that refugees receive free gifts such as houses. Claims of this kind are erroneous and appear to have caused some confusion in the community. They are often brought to the attention of senators and members by their constituents.

A recent Parliamentary Library Background Note described the current situation with regard to refugee entitlements to social security and other assistance in order to clarify this issue for senators and members.The Background Note found that refugees have the same entitlements as all other permanent residents—they do not receive special refugee payments or special rates of payment.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) provides short-term assistance to refugees aimed at helping them settle effectively once they have received permanent residency. It also provides funding to assist asylum seekers living in the community or in community detention through NGOs such as the Australian Red Cross. Asylum seekers in immigration detention centres receive a small allowance but do not receive Centrelink equivalent payments or percentages of such payments.

For further details, see the Background Note.

(Image sourced from: Posted by Luke Buckmaster