Help & support
Hundreds of people make the move to Canberra from interstate and overseas each year. The ACT Government recognises that relocation to a new city or new country can be an overwhelming experience and at times you may need help.
Visa related enquiries and questions must be directed to the Department of Home Affairs or your registered migration agent - we are not authorised to provide you visa advice.
Your case officer will usually be able to assist with most basic questions (not relating to visas) and will recommend other departments and organisations to contact where appropriate.
Once you’ve arrived there are a wide range of support services available for all residents provided by the government and other community groups. Services include cultural awareness training, job preparation, developing English skills, and help with translation. There are many cultural groups in Canberra representing nations from around the world who may assist with settlement and making new friends.
You are entitled to an interpreter free of charge when dealing with an ACT Government directorate or agency (such as schools, hospitals and Canberra Connect). Simply ask the staff member you are speaking with to arrange the service for you.
The Government also offers a translating and Interpreting Service for the Canberra and surrounding district that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – simply call 131 450.
- Community Services Directorate - Interpreter Services
- Department of Home Affairs - Translating Services
If you require access to legal advice or services when you arrive, you have several options depending on your personal situation.
You can obtain counsel from a commercial lawyer of your choice which can be sourced online or in the phonebook.
Visa related enquiries and questions should be discussed with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) or your registered migration agent in the first instance after which you may wish to seek specific advice from a migration lawyer.
There are several local organisations that can assist you with general legal matters including Legal Aid ACT and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. Legal Aid ACT provides face to face consultations and phone support after hours for urgent matters. Some of these services are only offered for low to medium income earners.
It’s important you research the job prospects for your profession in Canberra before you arrive. Once you get here you may also wish to seek advice from a professional who knows Canberra’s employment market.
If your occupation is on the ACT Occupation List it doesn’t guarantee employment. You need to spend considerable time researching by contacting local employers, recruitment agencies and industry groups. This will enable you to be more targeted in your job search and lead to quicker employment.
When you do identify suitable vacancies you’ll usually be competing against Australians for the same job. You will increase your prospects of employment if you have realistic expectations and are flexible on the type of position you want.
Do your best to becoming familiar with the expectations of employers, the workplace culture, writing job applications and interview skills. There are variety of organisations in Canberra who can provide advice and assistance.
Employment agencies not only provide you a gateway to vacancies but will usually offer informal feedback and advice about your prospects. When you meet with an agency take a list of questions. Agencies deal with employers daily and will have a good idea of what’s happening in the market. Some may also offer training or information sessions for free or a small fee.