Refugee Council of Australia
Three people at Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre

Settlement services

Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) Program


After clients leave the HSP Program, they are referred on to the longer-term settlement services program, now known as the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) Program. On 1 January 2019, the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) Program began, replacing the longstanding Settlements Program (SGP).

This is the main program that funds services to those who come under the Refugee and Humanitarian Program, and other vulnerable migrants who who do not have family and other community supports to rely on. The focus of the Program is on social participation, economic well-being, independence, personal wellbeing and community connectedness.

One of the key changes is that the Program has two distinct parts with different grants available: Client Services and Community Capacity Building. Client Services provides clients with settlement-related information, advice, advocacy, and assistance to access mainstream and other relevant services.
A key role of this part of the program will be to help people learn English, access education and training, and help them get work. It is intended to provide holistic, flexible services designed to meet the individual needs of the clients, and to deliver sustainable settlement outcomes.
The other part of the Program, Community Capacity Building, will be to help new and emerging community groups and organisations support their specific communities. This change followed the recommendations of an independent review into the Settlement Grants Program.

Who is eligible?

The Client Services part of the Program targets people who have come in Australia in the last five years as:

  • refugee or humanitarian entrants, including more recently people from Afghanistan or Ukraine on temporary refugee or humanitarian visas
  • family stream migrants with low levels of English
  • dependants of skilled migrants in rural and regional areas with low levels of English, and
  • selected temporary residents in rural and regional areas with low English.

Other provisional or temporary visa holders cannot access SGP services. This eligibility is the same as with the SGP program. The priority under the program is young people and the most vulnerable clients, including women, people with a disability and the elderly.

The Community Capacity Building part of the Program targets new and emerging ethno-specific communities, community leaders and emerging community leader representatives, and organisations with limited corporate capacity. This part of the program includes services such as consultations with communities; providing training, leadership and mentoring programs; providing opportunities to engage with the wider community and with government; helping communities access community resources and facilities; and supporting the development of governance, project management and administrative skills.

Service providers

Funding under the SETS Program was eligible to most organisations in Australia with a legally recognised form, an Australian Business Number and an account with an Australian financial institution. This was a significant extension from the previous requirements, which limited organisations to incorporated non-profit community organisations, local government organisations, providers of the Adult Migrant English Program, or in rural and regional areas, a government service delivery organisation. The funding decisions are made by the Department of Social Services, and there is no review or appeal process for organisations which do not funding.

List of service providers


The Client Services part of the Program  is expected to include an initial assessment of the needs of the client. As before, services can include a person information or advice, advocating for a person, or referring them to other services. These can cover education and training options, housing, banking practices, consumer rights, the Australian legal system and relationship issues.

A key recommendation of the independent review was that the Program should also recognise the need for medium-intensity casework, for clients with higher levels of needs. Services for those clients can include assigning a caseworker, developing case plans, warm referrals to other services, and providing outreach services when required.

As well, services targeted at youth are intended to be included under the Client Services program. These can include flexible education and/or employment support options, opportunities for volunteering or work experience, and supporting young people and their families to understand their options and navigate the Australian education and employment system. Most of these services were previously included in the Settlement Grants Program.

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