Fact sheet - 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 (primary decision only, not including review of a primary decision of the Department) to individuals:
    • seeking a protection visa in Australia (excluding any person who arrived illegally in Australia)
    • who meets the eligibility criteria
  • Immigration advice and application assistance in relation to any visa in Australia (including review of a primary decision of the Department) is available to minors for whom the Minister is guardian under the Immigration (Guardianship of Children) Act 1946 (IGOC minors).

If an applicant is eligible for IAAAS, registered migration agents contracted through the scheme can assist applicants with:

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

Eligibility for IAAAS

To be eligible for IAAAS individuals must meet the eligibility test:

  • did not arrive illegally, that is without a valid visa in Australia
  • have not engaged a registered migration agent. If previously engaged a registered migration agent has since disengaged and is no longer receiving assistance
  • has not previously had a valid protection application considered in Australia
  • is in the best interest of Government, where non-citizens facing a well-founded fear of persecution are not prevented from applying for protection because they are suffering financial hardship and do not have the capacity to make an application because they are exceptionally vulnerable:
    • to be eligible for immigration advice individuals must only meet financial hardship criteria
    • to be eligible for application assistance individuals must meet both financial hardship and exceptional vulnerability components.

Best Interests of the Government

Financial hardship

Individuals 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

Individuals 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 protection process. The range of possible personal circumstances that may satisfy the exceptional vulnerability criterion:

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

Only unaccompanied minors for whom the Minister is the guardian under the Immigration (Guardianship of Children) Act 1946, can receive assistance at merits review (review of the primary decision by the Department and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal). 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 provides IAAAS services through a network of registered migration agents located throughout Australia. Settlement Services International organises and manages contact with registered migration agents who offer independent, professional immigration advice and primary visa application assistance.

Settlement Services International IAAAS providers are not employed by us. They may tell us some of the individuals personal information, such as their name and address, financial situation and the reasons why they are claiming hardship, as part of verifying their 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 (229 KB PDF).

Settlement Services International can be contacted on:

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

Difference between ‘advice’ and ‘assistance’

IAAAS immigration 'advice' is where a Settlement Services International IAAAS provider gives an individual information relating to a visa application in person or by telephone. The information could be given to one person, a family or a group of people.

Settlement Services International’s IAAAS visa application 'assistance' is where a Settlement Services International’s IAAAS provider helps an individual complete and lodge a visa application. This assistance could involve the use of interpreting and translating services.