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Getting help from the Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme (IAAAS)

The Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme (IAAAS) provides Government-funded access to professional immigration advice and application assistance. IAAAS provides:

  • Immigration advice and application assistance (decision made by the Department only, not including review of that decision) to individuals:
    • seeking a Protection visa in Australia (excluding any person who arrived illegally in Australia)
    • who meet the eligibility criteria
  • Immigration advice and application assistance in relation to any visa in Australia (including review of a decision of the Department) to minors for whom the Minister is guardian under the Immigration (Guardianship of Children) Act 1946 (IGOC minors).

If you are eligible for IAAAS, a registered migration agent can assist you with:

  • complex immigration matters
  • completing and submitting a visa application
  • liaising with us
  • explaining the outcome of the visa decision.


To be eligible for IAAAS you must meet the following requirements:

  • You did not arrive illegally, that is without a valid visa in Australia
  • You have not engaged a registered migration agent. If you previously engaged a registered migration agent, you must have since  disengaged and no longer be receiving assistance
  • You have not previously had a Protection visa application considered in Australia
    • to be eligible for immigration advice you must also meet financial hardship criteria
    • to be eligible for application assistance you must meet both financial hardship and exceptional vulnerability requirements. 

Financial hardship

You must have no income or be receiving a low income sufficient only to cover basic living expenses and must not own any disposable assets that could be used to pay for the services of a registered migration agent.

Exceptional vulnerability

You may be considered to be exceptionally vulnerable as a result of intellectual or cognitive disability, mental illness or other incapacitating health conditions.

Eligibility depends on the degree of functional impairment and the impact of the condition on a person’s ability to engage in the application process.  Personal circumstances that may satisfy the exceptional vulnerability criterion include:

  • conditions affecting cognitive function (for example, down syndrome, autism, dementia)
  • drug dependency
  • mental illness
  • past experiences of torture and trauma
  • incapacitating illness

 IGOC minors can receive assistance at merits review (review of the decision by the Department). IAAAS is not available to anyone else at merits review. IAAAS is not available for judicial review (court challenges to administrative decisions) or ministerial intervention.

IAAAS provider

Settlement Services International (SSI) provides IAAAS services through a network of registered migration agents. SSI organises and manages contact with registered migration agents who offer independent, professional immigration advice and application assistance.

SSI  IAAAS providers are not employed by us. They may tell us some of your personal information, such as your  name and address, financial situation and the reasons why you  are claiming hardship or exceptional vulnerability, as part of verifying your eligibility for IAAAS. The Registered Migration Agents Code of Conduct protects matters discussed with the IAAAS providers. Information contained in any visa application is also protected. For more information, see our Privacy notice.

SSI can be contacted on:

Telephone: 1800 932 082
Website: ssi.org.au

Difference between 'advice' and 'assistance'

IAAAS immigration 'advice' is where an SSI  IAAAS provider gives a person  information relating to a visa application in person or by telephone. 

IAAAS application 'assistance' is where an SSI  IAAAS provider helps a person complete and lodge a visa application. This assistance could involve the use of interpreting and translating services.