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Public healthcare access for asylum seekers

People seeking asylum in Australia who are not eligible for Medicare (Australia's publicly-funded universal health care insurance scheme) can access public hospitals in Queensland free of charge, as set out in the Fees and Charges for Health Care Services Directive.

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Services available

Asylum seekers are able to access medical, dental and pharmaceutical services provided by Queensland's Hospital and Health Services (HHSs) network.

Medical services

Services available to asylum seekers through public hospitals include (but are not limited to):

  • medical
  • surgery
  • allied health
  • mental health
  • pathology
  • radiology
  • cardiology
  • maternity.

Dental services

Asylum seekers are entitled to a general course of public oral health services delivered through HHSs, as stated in the Oral Health Services Eligibility Queensland Health Guideline (PDF 944 kB).

A referral form is required from an authorised support agency or community health clinic.


Fees for pharmaceuticals should not be charged to people seeking asylum if they do not have a Medicare card under the Consistent patient charges for pharmaceuticals in Queensland Health institutions.

Services not available to asylum seekers through public hospitals

GP services

GP services are not normally provided by HHSs except in some rural and regional areas. In those areas the Fees and Charges for Health Care Services Directive applies.

The directive does not apply to providers who are not employed through or by an HHS, such as private providers.

Private practice clinic consultations

Private consultations are not a public health service under the Fees and Charges for Health Care Services Directive.

Cost recovery for service providers

HHSs must ensure there are no costs directly charged to Medicare-ineligible asylum seekers for public health services.

HHSs should seek reimbursement from other sources before writing off the fees. In certain circumstances, medical and pharmacy costs can be recovered from International Health and Medical Services (IHMS) and Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS) providers (e.g. Red Cross, Access Community Services and Multicultural Australia).

  • Some asylum seekers may qualify to have their healthcare costs covered through SRSS. New entrants placed on a temporary visa while a decision on their Medicare-eligibility can contact their allocated SRSS providers for cost recovery options.
  • Clients should provide a letter of supply from their SRSS service provider. HHSs can also contact the person’s SRSS provider if they have their consent.
  • When an asylum seeker who lives in community or facility-based detention accesses public hospital services, fees can be directed to the Department Home Affairs via its health service provider, International Health and Medical Services.

Where costs cannot be recovered by the IHMS or SRSS provider, they will be borne by the HHS.

Information for service providers and healthcare workers

The HHS access for people seeking asylum fact sheet (PDF 462 kB) provides guidance for HHS staff on the responsibilities of providing healthcare to people residing in Queensland who are seeking asylum.

The HHS access for people seeking asylum who are between visas fact sheet (PDF 866 kB) provides guidance on how service providers can confirm the status of asylum seekers living in the community whose bridging visas have expired, so they can receive free healthcare from Queensland HHSs.

Practical guides, handbooks and other resources is aimed at healthcare workers to help them achieve better health outcomes for people from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.

Healthcare access for asylum seekers who do not have a Medicare card

Humanitarian Program arrivals

Our Healthcare in Queensland guides provide Humanitarian Program arrivals with information about our healthcare system and contact information for accessing services. The guides are currently available in the following languages:

Healthcare for Ukrainians

The Ukrainians in Queensland without Medicare fact sheet (PDF 129 kB) explains recent arrivals from the Ukraine on temporary visas can access Queensland Health public hospital and healthcare services for free.

Translated versions:

Last updated: 13 September 2023