Benefits of Waiting as Permanent Residents

Immigrants – or those recently arrived in Australia- generally do not have immediate access to social security payments or concession cards.  However, there are newly arrived residents exempted from this waiting period, below.

Waiting period

You usually have to wait the Newly Arrived Resident's Waiting Period of 104 weeks before you can access most payments and benefits. This waiting period doesn’t apply to family assistance payments.

You can count periods spent in Australia as an Australian resident or the holder of certain temporary visas at any time in your life towards the waiting period, provided you were living in Australia at that time.

If you are a New Zealand citizen arriving on a New Zealand passport with a Special Category Visa, you will generally need to apply for, and be granted, a permanent resident visa before we can look at periods of time you have spent in Australia. You don’t need a permanent visa if you are claiming the Low Income Health Care Card, Foster Child Health Care Card or Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. Read more about New Zealand citizens claiming payments in New Zealand.

While you are serving your waiting period, you can register with jobactive or the Remote Jobs and Communities Programme to help you find work. You can also use the Employment Self Help facilities available in our service centres.

If you have lived in any countries that have social security agreements with Australia, you may be able to use an agreement to help you qualify for some payments such as Age PensionDisability Support PensionCarer PaymentParenting Payment Single orBereavement Allowance.

Exemptions to the Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period

The Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period may not affect you if:

There are other reasons that may exempt people from the waiting period for certain payments and concession cards. If you are in hardship because of a substantial change of circumstances beyond your control, you may be able to get Special Benefitimmediately.

Visas exempt from the Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period

If you have one of the following visa subclasses, you don’t have to serve the Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period for the listed payments and concession cards:

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and Low Income Health Care Card and all payments except Special Benefit

Carer Payment

Special Benefit and the Low Income Health Care Card

For more official and updated info on benefits as an Australian permanent resident log on to

For complete listing of Programs and Services available to permanent residents in Australia, click here -

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About the Author

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.

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