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Visa Thirst Quencher: Benefits of Waiting

For 2015 - 2016, Australia shall issue up to 190.000 permanent migration places available in 2015-16 including 128,550 Skill stream places; 57,400 Family stream places and 565 Special Eligibility stream places. At least 3,485 Child places will be available outside the managed Migration Programme. The wait may be from 8 months to 2 years.

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Visa Thirst Quencher: Benefits of Waiting
Written by Crispin Aranda.
Updated February 13, 2016 | Australia

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:

  • you are an Australian citizen
  • you are a person who arrived under a refugee or humanitarian program
  • you are the holder of certain visa subclasses
  • you are the family member of an Australian citizen or long term resident
  • you are the family member of a refugee or humanitarian migrant, or
  • you were a family member of a former refugee or humanitarian migrant at the time the former refugee or humanitarian migrant arrived in Australia

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

  • subclass 100 - spouse/partner
  • subclass 110 - interdependency
  • subclass 801 - spouse/partner
  • subclass 814 - interdependency
  • subclass 832 - close ties
  • subclass 833 ­- certain unlawful non-citizens

Carer Payment

  • subclass 104 - preferential family – pre 1 November 1999
  • subclass 116 - carer
  • subclass 806 - family
  • subclass 836 - carer

Special Benefit and the Low Income Health Care Card

  • subclass 070 - bridging (removal pending)
  • subclass 449 - humanitarian stay (temporary)
  • subclass 695 - return pending
  • subclass 785 - temporary protection
  • subclass 786 - temporary (humanitarian concern)
  • subclass 787 - witness protection (trafficking) (temporary)
  • subclass 790 - safe haven enterprise (when available)
  • subclass 832 - close ties
  • subclass 833 - certain unlawful non-citizens
  • subclass 852 - witness protection (trafficking) (permanent)
  • subclass ZB 951 - Criminal Justice Stay Visa issued under certain conditions

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 -

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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