Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors programme

The Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors (UHM) Programme facilitates the provision of relevant care, supervision and support services to minors on certain visas in Australia without a parent or legal guardian, who fall under the auspices of the Immigration (Guardianship of Children) Act 1946 (IGOC Act), and for whom the Minister is the legal guardian. In certain circumstances, the Programme also assists minors who do not fall under the IGOC Act.

More information about the IGOC Act and the Minister's guardianship responsibilities is available.

Initially the Programme catered for minors entering Australia through Australia's offshore Humanitarian Programme. The eligibility has since expanded to include minors holding other visas. It now assists eligible minors that have either permanent resident, temporary humanitarian/temporary protection/equivalent substantive temporary visas. More information about these visas is available.

Support services

Minors are provided with services through contracted service provider arrangements and/or in partnership with State/Territory Government Child Welfare Agencies.

The arrangements are premised on the best interests of the child. This includes protection from any form of abuse. It is accepted that the protection of children from abuse which is generally defined as physical, sexual or emotional abuse, neglect or exploitation is a shared responsibility between the Commonwealth, States and Territories. 

Support services for minors includes access to the following:

  • torture and trauma services
  • medical services
  • provision of English language classes
  • case management or case coordination provision (for example site visits and client monitoring)
  • access to education and relevant community services
  • mentoring services for the purposes of transitioning to adulthood
  • community networks.

The Programme principles 

UHM Programme service principles are based on the following:

  • the respect, protection and general observation of the rights of minors in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989
  • the taking into account of the age, gender, culture, safety, privacy, level of development and any specific needs of minors in the provision of care and support
  • the support of minors to reside in a safe and stable environment, including meeting their basic needs, such as the provision of food, shelter, education and access to health care
  • the provision of service that builds on the strengths of minors and promotes their independent living capabilities. 

Contact us 

For more information about the UHM Programme contact us on: UHM.Programme@homeaffairs.gov.au