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Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors (UHM) Program

Certain children entering Australia on a Refugee or Humanitarian visa without a parent or legal guardian may be eligible to receive accommodation and support services under the Department of Home Affairs’ Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors (UHM) Program.

Children eligible to receive UHM Program services may be under the guardianship of the Minister, as provided by the Immigration (Guardianship of Children) Act 1946 (IGOC Act), or be living in Australia under the care of a relative aged over 21. The Minister can also delegate guardianship roles and responsibilities to certain officers of the Commonwealth, state and territory governments. These officers are referred to as IGOC delegates.

The Department considers eligibility for the UHM Program for other children on a case‑by‑case basis.

UHM Program services are delivered through either contracted service providers, or State and Territory Child Welfare Authorities (STCWAs). Depending on the circumstances, the Department may refer a child to:

  • a contracted service provider who acts as the custodian of the child;
  • an officer of the STCWA who may act as IGOC delegate of the minor under the IGOC Act; or
  • a contracted service provider or an officer of a STCWA for Case Management Only services.

Access to other government services

Children receiving UHM Program services are generally eligible to receive services under the Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP) on arrival in Australia. Most clients exit the HSP after receiving support for between six and 18 months.

Under the HSP, children with complex needs may be eligible for additional support through Specialised and Intensive Services for five years following arrival in Australia or onshore grant of an eligible visa.

Commonwealth, state/territory and local benefit mainstream payments from Centrelink may also be available, subject to eligibility criteria.