Most asylum seekers are eligible for Medicare and all Medicare services, however currently a number of community based asylum seekers have expired medicare cards. For further information about how to renew Medicare cards and alternative billing arrangements visit Medicare renewal for asylum seekers.
It is recommended that asylum seekers are bulk-billed: Asylum seekers are not eligible for Health Care Cards through Centrelink but they may have other identification. Most asylum seekers have limited or no income in Australia.
Medicare eligibility is linked to visa status – Medicare access is often temporary and can change over the course of someone’s protection application.
Victorian public health services are free for asylum seekers
Victorian public health services are free for asylum seekers who do and do not have a Medicare Card.
Background and details: Following a decision by the Victorian government in 2005, asylum seekers (especially people who are Medicare ineligible) have special access to: public hospital services, ambulance services in emergency situations, Community health and Home and Community Care Program services, dental services and catch-up immunisations. View the Department of Health ‘Guide to asylum seeker access to health and community services in Victoria’.
Asylum seeker clients in Community Detention are Medicare ineligible, and their health care is funded by DIAC through a contract to the International Health and Medical Service (IHMS). Clients may carry an IHMS card with them (view sample IHMS card). You will need to contact IHMS to arrange a service agreement and to establish a billing method if seeing people who are in Community Detention. View the Department of Health ‘Guidelines for Victorian public health services on community detention‘.
Detention Health Record
Asylum seekers who have been held in immigration detention facilities will have had health tests performed by IHMS. Clients should bring a hand held record to appointments. If the client does not have the record, you can ask the client if they would like you to request a copy. The IHMS Community Detention Assistance Desk (CDAD) is available 24 hours a day: 1800 689 295 and can provide you with information and medical history.
Asylum seeker health assessment
It is recommended that the tests and questions outlined in the Refugee Health Assessment Tool are used when working with asylum seeker clients. These can be asked over a number of sessions, given there may be some limitation to access to Timed Assessment Items for asylum seekers.
Further information for those working with asylum seekers can be found here: asylum seeker health.
|Organisation||Services provided||Contact/referral method|
|Monash Refugee Health & Wellbeing||Health clinic |
3 Refugee Health Nurses
1 Community Health Nurse
2 Bicultural workers
Allied health (physio, dietitian, optometry, dental)
Women’s health clinic
Referral for paediatrics and infectious diseases
|122 Thomas Street Dandenong
Clinical enquires and referrals:
Refugee Health Nurse on triage
|Royal Children's Hospital - Immigrant Health Service(Parkville)||Weekly outpatient clinic (Monday 1pm - 5pm)|
Multidisciplinary assessment for recently arrived and asylum seeker children: education/development, dental, immunisation, vitamin D and other.
|Contact clinic coordinator Helen Milton through RCH switchboard: (03) 9345 5522 or More information: http://www.rch.org.au/immigranthealth/index.cfm?doc_id=10575|
|Royal Melbourne Hospital Victorian Infectious Disease Service (VIDS) Immigrant & Refugee Health Clinic (Parkville)||Specialist care for immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers and travellers.|
Infectious diseases and nutritional deficiency
|Tuesdays 9am - midday
Contact VIDS via the RMH switchboard: (03) 9342 7000
Building 9 North
Royal Melbourne Hospital
|Asylum Seeker Resource Centre||Medical clinic, legal assistance, case work, material aid.||Monday - Friday
214-218 Nicholson Street, Footscray
(03) 9326 6066
179 Lonsdale Street
(03) 8772 1380
|Foundation House (Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture)||Torture and trauma counselling services||Monday - Friday
(03) 9388 0022
* Sites in: Dandenong, Sunshine, Ringwood, Brunswick
|Red Cross Migration Support Programs||Casework|
|(03) 8327 7883
* Site in Dandenong opening soon
23-47 Villiers Street,
North Melbourne 3001
|Refugee and Immigration Legal Centre (RILC)||Legal assistance||(03) 9413 0100|
|AMES Settlement, Community Detention and BVE support||Casework||(03) 9926 4666|
|International Health and Medical Services (IHMS)||Health services for people in detention (including in Community Detention)|
Medical records and detention health summaries
|For medical summaries email:
To become an IHMS provider: (02) 9372 2500