When settling into a new environment, you may find yourself in situations you have not planned for and do not know where to turn for help and advice. The below information will provide you with guidance on settling in Queensland:
1 Finding a house to rent
2 Looking for a job
3 Support if you become unemployed
4 Improving your English
5 Finding childcare
6 Accessing free legal advice
7 Going to the dentist
8 Going to the doctor
1. Renting a house
One of the first difficulties for new migrants is to find somewhere to live. You’ll need to decide on your budget and the right suburb for your needs. Please keep in mind that a lot of rentals in Queensland are non-furnished. In addition, real estate agent often require references from past landlords, so this may reduce your choices or cause some delays in your application process.
Often an easier path is initially staying in a hotel, short term accommodation or with friends and family, to give you the time needed to look and apply for a longer term rental.
If you are a first time renter, here are a few things you need to know to get started: SBS Settlement Guide: Renters’ checklist in Australia. It is also important to be aware of your tenant rights and responsibilities when renting in Queensland.
2. Job seeker support
The Queensland Government Employment and Jobs website provides information and links related to a range of topics including career advice, finding and applying for jobs, and industry and job statistics. Reading this guide on how to search for a job and creating a job plan may also be useful.
Job seekers can access the Australian government’s social security system when faced with financial hardship. Australian permanent residents who have lived in the country for at least two years are eligible to receive the unemployment Newstart support service. You need to meet eligibility requirements to claim Newstart Allowance. Visit the Newstart Allowance eligibility page for more information.
Permanent residents may also be eligible for the following:
4. English language support
Perfecting your English language skills will not only help you find a job but increase your confidence to meet and make friends with a wide range of Queensland locals. Here are a few options to help improve your English:
OPTION 1: Adult Migrant English Program
You or your dependents may be eligible for the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) run by TAFE Queensland.
About the AMEP:
- Up to 510 hours of free English lessons
- Study practical English for living, working and studying in Australia
- Learn how to access government and community services
- Make new friends who have just moved to Australia
- Get ready for work or study and plan for your future.
To find out if you are eligible, call +61 7 3244 5488 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
OPTION 2: All other English language programs
To search for other English language school providers in Queensland, go to http://www.studyqueensland.qld.gov.au/.
OPTION 3: MOOEC
You also have access to MOOEC (MASSIVE OPEN ONLINE ENGLISH COURSE), which is a collection of free online English lessons provided by universities and colleges.
There is a range of childcare options in Queensland that you may access. Some are full fee paying while others may be subsidised by government funding. The options include:
- Long day care
- Family day care
- Preschool or kindergarten care
- Outside school hour care
- Occasional care
- At-home care
- Informal care.
What about childcare costs?
The Australian government provides child care support for eligible families. You’ll need to register with Centrelink and use approved or registered child care service.
The Child Care Benefit pays a proportion of the fee and is means tested, so the amount you are eligible for depends on your household income.
The Child Care Rebate reimburses you effectively 50 per cent of your out-of-pocket expenses. For example, if you are using a long day care service that charges $100 a day; you might be eligible for up to $40 or $46 of that being covered.
Child Care Benefit (CCB) – your income level and care type determines how much you can receive.
Child Care Rebate (CCR) – if you are using approved childcare for work, training or study-related reasons, you can receive up to 50 per cent of your out-of-pocket childcare costs, of up to $7500 (indexed) for each child each year. Not means-tested.
You can also check the quality ratings of a service provider by visiting the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA).
6. Legal Support
If you find yourself needing legal advice and support, from dealing with a traffic fine to what to do in a family crisis, the SBS settlement guide provides a good list of options.
For immigration legal advice, you may contact the Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS) or use the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority (MARA) website to search for an Australian registered migration agent.
For other migrant services in Queensland, view My Community Directory.
In each state and territory, legal aid commissions provide a wide range of legal assistance services in criminal, family and civil law matters. Some legal assistance is available free-of-charge to everyone, including through free brochures, information sessions or the telephone legal advice.
To be eligible for a grant of legal assistance for legal representation, you must satisfy the means and merits tests, and meet the relevant legal aid commission’s guidelines. Visit this website for more information on Legal Aid in Queensland.
7. Medical care
If you have a medicare card, you may or may not have to pay for your doctor’s appointment fees. Some but not all services are covered, and only some doctors accept Medicare benefit as full payment (called bulk-billing) for a service.
This means it is really important to:
a) find out if you are eligible for Medicare
b) research whether a doctor’s surgery offers bulk-billing
c) if you have private health insurance, research the level of cover.
For more information, visit SBS Settlement Guide: How to see a doctor in Australia?
8. Dental care
It is important to note that Medicare does not cover basic dental care like cleaning, check-ups or fillings. When it comes to paying for dental services, fees vary a lot depending on the dentist and where you live. For more information on Dental care in Australia visit:
- SBS Settlement Guide: Helping migrants access dental care
- SBS Settlement Guide: How do I access public dental care in Australia?
- For Queensland specific information visit Queensland Health.