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Fact Sheet 64 - Community Assistance Support Programme

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The Community Assistance Support (CAS) programme provides assistance to lawful non-citizens living in the Australian community who hold bridging visas and meet the eligibility criteria listed below. CAS administers a range of services which focus on supporting visa applicants to resolve their immigration status by addressing their health and wellbeing, vulnerabilities and barriers. CAS recipients must be engaged with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and working with the department to resolve their immigration status.

The department's case management programme assists applicants who hold bridging visas to obtain timely resolution of their immigration status. Applicants are generally eligible for case management intervention when one or more indicators of vulnerability or barrier are present, particularly in relation to the health and wellbeing of women, children and the elderly.

The case management programme may refer an applicant to CAS if they are assessed as meeting specific eligibility criteria. CAS provides assistance to support recipients by arranging access to health and welfare services, and providing financial assistance and additional case management to resolve their immigration status.

CAS eligibility criteria

CAS eligibility criteria target people who are vulnerable and have barriers due to exceptional circumstances. To be eligible for CAS, applicants should satisfy all of the following criteria:

  1. hold a valid bridging visa
  2. have an unresolved immigration status and be co-operating with the department to resolve their immigration status
  3. be unable to access adequate support in the community or be unable to support themselves
  4. be highly vulnerable due to at least one of the following criteria that impedes their ability to engage with the resolution of their immigration status: 
    • have a diagnosed mental health condition
    • have a significant disability or serious health issue
    • being an elderly person
    • being a minor at risk of harm, including an unaccompanied minor
    • suffering the effects of torture and trauma
    • suffering domestic abuse or violence
    • suffering impaired mental or physical ability. 

Participation in CAS is dependent on voluntary co-operation and compliance with the department and contracted service providers to resolve their immigration status in a timely manner. 

CAS and transition support

CAS can provide support to substantive visa recipients in their transition to the community after their release from immigration detention. A CAS service provider provides direct assistance to the recipient in accessing these transitional support services. Transitional support assists substantive visa recipients to settle in the community by ensuring that they are financially independent and able to access necessary community support services. Transitional support is only available on a short term basis.

CAS and emergency funding

CAS recipients may be eligible for emergency funding if they require immediate resolution of a hardship, or if there are limited options available for them to meet basic needs.

Emergency funding is provided only once as a timely and practical option to address an urgent need. It can include the following:

  • essential healthcare and medical expenses
  • emergency hospitalisation and ambulance expenses
  • crisis accommodation
  • an essential basic living allowance.

Community help

The department has contracted various community support organisations to provide community assistance to CAS recipients.

The assistance provided depends on the CAS recipient's individual needs and circumstances, and may include any or all of the following:

  • assistance with basic living expenses
  • assistance sourcing sustainable accommodation
  • essential healthcare and medical expenses
  • counselling
  • other assistance to meet basic health and wellbeing needs.

Who are the contracted service providers?

Further information

Further information about the Case Management service is available on the department’s website.
See: Case Management in DIMA (PDF file)

Contact CAS for further information about the CAS programme.

Fact Sheet 64. Produced by the National Communications Branch, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Canberra.
Last reviewed January 2014.

Last modified Wednesday 27 August 2014