Rights in Exile Programme

Refugee Legal Aid Information for Lawyers Representing Refugees Globally

Australia Pro Bono Directory

Click here to see the numbers and origins of refugees hosted by Australia. 

As UNHCR statistics generally rely on data from host countries, statistics on refugees alone can give an insufficient account of refugee numbers, as some host countries will not grant refugee status to certain groups. Including statistics for individuals in refugee-like situations is an attempt to account for unrecognised refugees and does not include internally displaced persons. Statistics for stateless refugees are included if available.


Amnesty International - Australia

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Locked Bag 23, Broadway NSW 2007, Australia
Tel: +61 13 00 30 09 20
Fax: 02 8396 7663
Contact form provided at: www.amnesty.org.au/about/contact/

Amnesty International in Australia is engaged in lobbying the government on policy issues, including lobbying it to process all refugee claims on the mainland; treat all refugees and asylum seekers whether they seek asylum by boat or by plane; reform the immigration detention system in keeping  with its international obligations and federal laws and to end mandatory detention. Amnesty International-Australia is a member of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network.

Centre for Refugee Research, University of New South Wales

C-20 Morven Brown Building, Room G64, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia
Tel: +61 (02) 29 38 51 961
Fax: +61 (02) 96 62 89 91

Contact(s):  Linda Bartolomei, Dr. Caroline Lenette

Email: linda [dot] bartolomeiatunsw [dot] edu [dot] au, c [dot] lenetteatunsw [dot] edu [dot] au

The Centre was established in 1999. It is an interdisciplinary research and advocacy organisation, hosted by the School of Social Sciences and International Studies within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of New South Wales. The Centre for Refugee Research conducts research in national and international forced migration policy and practice, and bases its advocacy work on sound academic research.  The Centre also provides a range of education programs to community members and service providers within Australia through summer schools and on request.  It plays a key role in the UNSW School of Social Sciences and International Studies, attracting PhD, Research Masters and Honours students, as well as providing undergraduate Social Work placements, contributing extensively to the Masters in Social Development (MSD) program, and informing courses in the MSD and the Bachelor of Social Work. CRR also runs an Internship Program that provides opportunities for enrolled students to participate in international research and advocacy projects and contributes significantly to the work of the Centre. The Centre for Refugee Research is a member of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network.

Immigration Advice & Rights Centre Inc.

Tel: +61 (02) 8234 0700
Email: iarcatiarc [dot] asn [dot] au
Opening hours: Monday - Friday 09:00-17:00
Free Telephone Advice Line: +61 (02) 8234 0799, Tuesdays & Thursdays 14:00 - 16:00 

IARC provides free immigration advice and representation to refugees and financially disadvantaged immigrants in New South Wales.

IARC is a not-for-profit registered charity specialising in Australian immigration and refugee law and policy. IARC is a strong advocate in policy and law reform; is a leader in immigration education and continuing professional development for legal and immigration practitioners; and provides free immigration advice and representation to refugees and financially disadvantaged immigrants in New South Wales.

National Council of Churches

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Locked Bag 199, Sydney 1230, NSW
Email: jthomsonatncca [dot] org [dot] au

Act for Peace is the international aid and development agency of the NCCA, which is compromised of seventeen major Christian Churches that come together to fulfil common witness, mission and service and break down structures that create and perpetuate poverty, oppression, injustice and division. Act for Peace, formerly know as Christian World Service, has been involved in aid and development work and refugee protection since 1948 and currently has 40 programmes in 22 countries. NCCA is a member of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN). Act programmes in Asia assist Burmese, Sri Lankan, East Timorese, Filipino and West Papuan refugees and displaced people. Their partners include the Thai-Burma Border Consortium, the National Council of Churches in Sri Lanka, the Organisation for Elma Refugee Rehabilitation (India and Sri Lanka) and YASONA (Timor Leste). Act for Peace has also been heavily involved in domestic refugee and asylum issues since 1948 through the National Programme on Refugees and Displaced people, which assists refugees and asylum seekers in Australia, and advocates for refugees, asylum seekers and displaced people overseas.

Tel: (02) 9232 4055
Email: legalassistatnswbar [dot] asn [dot] au

Oxfam, Australia

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Melbourne Head Office, 132 Leicester Street, Carlton VIC 3053,
Tel: +61 (0)3 92 89 94 44
Toll-free number (within Australia): 1800 088 110
Fax: +61 (0)3 93 47 19 83
Contact form provided at: www.oxfam.org.au/contact-us/send-email

Oxfam–Australia advocates for refugees’ and internally displaced peoples’ rights. It seeks to ensure that the systems and laws respect peoples’ right to asylum, by putting pressure on governments to respect and act according to their obligations. Oxfam also aims to protect people in crisis situations by helping to set up displaced people's camps in ways that improve public safety. Appropriate camp lighting, positioning of toilets, creation of special areas for vulnerable people such as unaccompanied women and children - all can reduce people's vulnerability to harm. OXFAM-Australia is a member of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network.

Refugee Advice and Casework Service

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1-3 Eurimbla Avenue, Randwick NSW 2031
Tel: (02) 8355 7227
Fax: (02) 8004 3348
Email: adminatracs [dot] org [dot] au

Community legal centre providing free, specialist legal advice to asylum seekers and refugees who are already in Australia. RACS operates a full-time casework service from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9.00am and 5.00pm. Please note: All appointments to see a RACS caseworker must be booked through the telephone advice service. RACS does not provide a "drop in" advice service.Face to Face Advice Service available Monday and Wednesday afternoons and evenings by appointment only. This service is run by staff and volunteers. Appointments must be booked. Appointments may be made by telephoning RACS on (02) 8355 7227 on Tuesdays or Thursdays between 10.00am and 11:30am. RACS also runs a Telephone Advice Service ((02) 8355 7227) on Tuesdays between 10.00 and 11.30, and Thursdays between 10.00 and 11.30.

Refugee Council of Australia

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Head Office Suite 4A6, 410 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Tel: 02 9211 9333
Fax: 02 9211 9288
Email: adminatrefugeecouncil [dot] org [dot] au or infoatrefugeecouncil [dot] org [dot] au
CEO: Paul Power
Information and Policy Coordinator: Lucy Morgan
International Policy Coordinator: Louise Olliff

The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) is the national umbrella body for refugees and the organisations and individuals who support them. It has more than 130  organisational members and 250 individual members. The priority activities for RCOA are set by its members, as represented by an elected Board.Members of the Council are involved in many areas of refugee support including: assisting refugees in countries of first asylum and when they repatriate to their homelands; providing settlement support to refugees in Australia; providing protection and legal advice to refugees and asylum seekers; advocating on behalf of a particular refugee community.RCOA endeavours to support its Members in these endeavours. Another of the Refugee Council’s roles is to provide training to service providers and groups. RCOA can design training packages specifically to meet your needs on a wide range of refugee-related areas. RCOA's own work is centred around five key areas: policy, support for refugees, support for its Members, community education and administration. RCOA is a member of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN).

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Several offices across Sydney (see website for details)
Tel: +61 28 20 21 500
Email: enquiriesatsalvoslegal [dot] com [dot] au

Free specialist law firm run by the Salvation Army, providing free legal advice and assistance to financially or otherwise disadvantaged people in a range of areas, including refugee matters.

The Law Society Pro Bono Scheme

Tel: +61 (02) 99 26 03 64
Email: lawsocietyatlawsociety [dot] com [dot] au


Darwin Asylum Seekers Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN)

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Contact via the website or email: dassanlegalatgmail [dot] com to contact their legal advocacy group directly.

DASSAN is a Darwin organisation that works to provide support to people in detention, educate the community and advocate for individuals and against mandatory detention. DASSAN works to stop the detention of all refugees, particularly children, by organising protest marches, letter-writing campaigns, and visits to detention centers. While they don't provide legal aid, they may be able to assist asylum seekers in finding appropriate assistance.

6th Floor, 9 – 11 Cavenagh Street Darwin NT / Locked Bag 11, Darwin NT 0801
Tel: (08) 8999 3000
Fax: (08) 8999 3099
Email: infoatntlac [dot] nt [dot] gov [dot] au

Details of regional offices are available on the website (click on Contact Us) Toll free Telephone Information Service: 1800 019 343
Monday to Friday 9:00 to 16:00


Level 1, 170 Boundary Street, West End, Brisbane /PO Box 5143, West End, Brisbane, QLD 4101
Email: adminatrails [dot] org [dot] au

The Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS) is the only legal agency in Queensland specialising in refugee and migration law. The Refugee and Immigration Legal Service is an independent not-for-profit organisation working with volunteers to provide free legal advice, assistance and community education to disadvantaged people. The Service since 1980 has assisted waves of refugees and their families from countries suffering from major political humanitarian crises and works closely with other support organisations to provide a network for the most vulnerable clients which include onshore and offshore refugees and asylum seekers, migrants, sponsors of migrants, women suffering from domestic violence, Australian citizens seeking to sponsor relatives in need, spouses and employees. It advocates in cases of most need before the Department of Immigration, review tribunals and, on occasion, to judicial review. The service has a demand that far exceeds its resources and takes on only those highest priority cases with most merit.


Australian Refugee Association

304 Henley Beach Road, Underdale SA 5032
Tel: +61 88 35 42 951
Fax: +61 88 35 42 953
Email: receptionatausref [dot] net

Refugee Advice and Casework Service

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c/o Australian Refugee Association, 2 Brown St, West Croydon SA 5008
Tel: +61 (08) 83 40 47 00


Asylum Seeker Project – Hotham Mission

2/579 Queensberry St, North Melbourne, VIC 3051 / PO Box 603, North Melbourne, VIC 3051
Tel: +61 03 93 26 83 43
Fax: +61 03 93 26 74 70
Asylum seekers' helpline: enquiriesathothammission [dot] org [dot] au OR call +61 03 93 26 83 43

The Hotham Mission Asylum Seeker Project works with asylum seekers who are lawfully awaiting an outcome on their refugee or humanitarian protection claim, but who face destitution without community support. They provide: professional casework support; housing; a basic living allowance; help with utilities and emergencies; a volunteer program of one-to-one support (LinkUP); men's and women's support groups; State and national policy advocacy; and research towards a better reception framework for the future.

Within the group of NGOs who cooperate to help asylum seekers in the community, Hotham Mission ASP bears the particular responsibility of providing accommodation, basic income and casework services for those who are the most vulnerable in the determination process and those who are least able to take advantage of the recent positive changes in Commonwealth policy.

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)

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12 Batman Street, West Melbourne, VIC 3003
Tel: +61 03 93 26 60 66
Fax: +61 03 93 26 51 99
Opening hours: Monday - Friday 10:00-17:00
Email: adminatasrc [dot] org [dot] au

ASRC has cared for and assisted more than 3000 asylum seekers by providing material aid and support services. They are an independent, Victorian Incorporated organisation founded in response to the inhumane treatment of asylum seekers in Australia. ASRC's Welfare and Advocacy programs provide essential services which clients would otherwise be denied, and strive to ensure a fair outcome for all Asylum Seekers. These include casework, counselling, Human Rights Law and health. The Community Development programs work on capacity building to ensure that Asylum Seekers can participate fully and independently in the wider community. This includes Employment Assistance, English Language Classes, English Home Tutoring and a Small Business Unit. 

Australian Red Cross - Asylum Seekers Assistance Scheme

155 Pelham Street, Carlton South, VIC 3053 / PO Box 196, Carlton South, VIC 3053
Tel: +61 (03) 93 45 18 00 / 83 27 78 83
Fax: +61 (03) 93 48 25 13
Email: natinfoatredcross [dot] org [dot] au

Red Cross has been administering the Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme (ASAS) since its inception in 1992. The scheme is funded by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, and provides financial assistance and health care to asylum seekers. Caseworkers assist people to meet a wide range of needs including health support, counselling, accommodation, material aid, education and legal referrals, and social support. The scheme operates in each State and Territory, with a list of national offices available here.

All services are provided free of charge and include: income support to cover basic living expenses (89% of Centrelink Special Benefit), general health care including pharmaceutical Health Services Australia medical costs, casework support, referrals to other agencies (legal, medical, counselling, social, education, housing, material aid).

The Red Cross also runs a family tracing programme free of charge that helps find or contact relatives overseas.

Community Law Centres

Email: legal_adminatasrc [dot] org [dot] au (Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Inc)

Independent community organisations that provide free legal services. Community Law Centres (CLCs) integrate assistance for individual clients with community legal education, community development and law reform projects that are based on client need and preventative in outcome.

Note: immigration law is dealt with only by specialist Community Law Centres. A directory of CLCs can be found on their website.

22 Bellair Street, Kensington, VIC 3031 / PO Box 487, Flemington, VIC 3031
Tel: +61 (03) 93 76 43 55
Fax: +61 (03) 93 76 45 29
Email: fklegalatfkclc [dot] org [dot] au

An immigration service is offered, concentrating on offshore refugee migration. Their migration agent is registered with MARA (MARN No 76638). They provide Community Outreach Services and Home Visits as requested.

Foundation House: Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture (VFST)


6 Gardiner Street, Brunswick, 3056 VIC
Tel: +61 (03) 93 88 00 22
Fax: +61 (03) 93 87 08 28
Email: infoatfoundationhouse [dot] org [dot] au
Contact Person: Rose Blustein
Email: blusteinratfoundationhouse [dot] org [dot] au


155 Foster Street, Dandenong, 3175
Tel: +61 (03) 87 88 33 33
Fax: +61 (03) 87 88 33 99

The Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture (VFST), or 'Foundation House' as it is also known, provides a range of services to people from refugee backgrounds whom have survived torture or war related trauma. They provide direct services to clients in the form of counselling, advocacy, family support, group work, psycho-education, information sessions and complementary therapies. Direct services to clients are coupled with referral, training and education roles aimed at developing and strengthening the resources of various communities and service providers.

Foundation House provides services across Melbourne with offices in Brunswick and Dandenong. Services are also provided in a number of rural and regional centres across Victoria. Foundation House has grown to become a world leader in the provision of services to survivors of torture and war related trauma. Today, the VSET employs over 100 people and provides services to more than 3000 survivors each year. It also provides training, consultancy and support for service providers in the health, education and welfare sectors. VFST does not provide legal advice, although it has begun to see asylum seekers in detention centres.

Justice Connect (previously Public Interest Law Clearing House (Vic and NSW))

Tel: +61 (03) 86 36 44 00
Email: adminatjusticeconnect [dot] org [dot] au

Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre (MRC)

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251 High Street, Preston Vic 3072
Tel: +61 (03) 94 96 02 00
Fax: +61 (03) 94 84 79 42
Email: infoatspectrumvic [dot] org [dot] au

Details of other offices in Victoria are available on their website.

Spectrum MRC is popular with new migrant and refugee families because it offers a “one stop-shop” for migrants and refugee families and individuals that are new to Australia through a wide menu of over 21 re-settlement and integration services and programs and employs staff fluent in 17 relevant community languages and cultural backgrounds reflecting the diversity of Victoria’s migrants and refugee settlers.

Level 1, 121-123 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065
Tel: +61 (03) 94 13 01 01
Fax: +61 (03) 94 13 01 44
Email: rilcatrilc [dot] org [dot] au
Advice Line: +61 (03) 94 13 01 00 (Wednesdays 10:00-2:00pm; Fridays 10:00am -2:00pm)

The Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre Inc. (RILC) is an independent community legal centre specialising in all aspects of refugee and immigration law, policy and practice. RILC has been assisting asylum seekers, refugees and disadvantaged migrants in the community and in detention for more than 26 years and has substantial casework experience and expertise. RILC’s work involves provision of key legal assistance to those who could not otherwise obtain it due to financial and other forms of distinct disadvantage often related to their cultural or linguistically diverse backgrounds or experiences of torture or trauma.  Each year RILC assists over 5,000 people.  RILC also conducts extensive law reform, advocacy and education programs. 

RILC specialises in free legal advice and representation in relation to refugee and general immigration matters through the following services:

  • Telephone Advice Line; 
  • Evening Advice Service; 
  • Day time casework; 
  • Special Clinics

TO GET ADVICE, you must first call the Telephone Advice Line service on (03) 9413 0100 during session times and asking for the duty solicitor (Wednesdays 10:00-2.00pm; Fridays 10:00am -2.00pm)

Tel: +61 (03) 92 69 01 20 or 1800 677 402 (country callers)
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8:45 to 17:15

Contact the Victoria Legal Aid Legal Information Service for free general information over the phone about the law and how they can help you.

Legal information in different languages You can speak to someone in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also get their service in these languages:

  • عربي / Arabic – +61 (03) 92 69 01 27
  • Hrvatski / Croatian – +61 (03) 92 69 01 64
  • Ελληvικά / Greek – +61 (03) 92 69 01 67
  • Italiano / Italian – +61 (03) 92 69 02 02
  • فار س / Persian – +61 (03) 92 69 01 23
  • Polski / Polish – +61 (03) 92 69 02 28
  • Српски / Serbian – +61 (03) 92 69 03 32
  • Українська Moba / Ukrainian – +61 (03) 92 69 03 90

If your language is not listed here, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 and ask to be put through to Victoria Legal Aid.

Legal information for people with a speech or hearing impairment  If you have a speech or hearing impairment you can call the National Relay Service and ask to be connected to Victoria Legal Aid. Call:

  • TTY/voice: 133 677 or 1800 555 677 (country callers)
  • SSR/speak and listen: 1300 555 727 or 1800 555 727 (country callers)

Tel: +61 (03) 86 36 44 19
Email: vblasatpilch [dot] org [dot] au


The Humanitarian Group

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16b Sunbury Road, Victoria Park WA 6100
Postal address: PO Box 4387 Victoria Park WA 6979
Email: adminatthehumanitariangroup [dot] org [dot] au
Tel: +61 89 22 77 311
Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 12 noon and 1pm to 3pm

The Humanitarian Group (formerly CASE for Refugees) is a not-for-profit organisation focused on empowering vulnerable people by providing professional and accessible migration assistance, legal advice and education. They strive to do this in a way that embraces diversity and strengthens communities. 

The Humanitarian Group help people new to Western Australia from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, including humanitarian visa holders, asylum seekers, refugees and people who are otherwise disadvantaged in their access to legal services.  They provide specialist immigration legal advice (including assistance with protection visa applications and family reunion), general legal assistance (including minor criminal and civil matters and general family law) and community legal education. All of their services are provided free of charge.

International Detention Coalition

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C/O Hub Melbourne
Level 1, 112 Langridge St, Collingwood Victoria 3066, Australia
Email: infoatidcoalition [dot] org
Tel: +61 39 99 91 607
Fax: +61 39 62 97 213

The International Detention Coalition (IDC) is a network of than 200 organisations and individuals that provide legal, social, medical and other services, carry out research and reporting, and undertake advocacy and policy work on behalf of refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers. These groups and individuals, who are from more than 50 countries, have come together to form the International Detention Coalition to share information and promote good practices relating to the use of detention by governments. The IDC is a member of the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN).

The IDC was formed out of NGO discussions in Geneva on the need to promote greater protection of and respect for human rights of those held in detention and to raise awareness of detention policies and practices. And also to enhance discussions among those working with detainees about the need for better regional and international networking. The IDC's main activities are: coalition building - developing the coalition and strengthening communication and information sharing between members; advocacy and campaign building - developing the advocacy and campaign capacity of members and the IDC, with a focus on children in detention and alternatives to detention; capacity building - facilitates training, resources and skills-sharing, as well as targeted partner projects with and between members, with a particular focus on members in the south.

Keeya-Lee Ayre - Migration Agent in Perth

PO Box 213 Inglewood, WA 6932, Australia
Email: keeya-lee [dot] ayreatoutlook [dot] com
Tel: +61 41 08 10 762

Keeya-Lee is a Registered Migration Agent (MARN 1466577) who provides pro bono support to asylum seekers who are seeking protection in Australia and to refugees and humanitarian entrants seeking help with family reunification. She can also arrange warm referrals to other services in Perth such as English lessons, housing, social workers and food donations. Please either email or call Keeya-Lee to make an appointment to discuss a case. Where it is not possible for clients to travel to Perth, Keeya-Lee can assist by email and phone where necessary.

Law Society of Western Australia Clearing House

Tel: +61 (08) 93 22 49 11
Email: infoatlawsocietywa [dot] asn [dot] au

Information telephone line: 1300 650 579
55 St Georges Terrace, Perth, WA 6000 / PO Box L916, Perth WA 6842
Tel: +61 (08) 92 61 62 22
Fax: +61 (08) 93 25 54 30
Details of other other offices are available on their website

They provide information services, legal advice, minor assistance and legal representation.


Multicultural Centre for Women's Health NETFA Project

Address: see website for regional programmes
Tel.: see website for regional contacts
Email: see website for regional programme contacts

Under the auspices of MCWH, the NETFA website provides information about dedicated FGM/C programmes operating in Australian states and territories. Programmes vary across regions and offer a range of services, including community education, workshops, advocacy, counselling services and hospital referral services for women affected by FGM/C.

NSW Education Program on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

Building 55 B, Cumberland Hospital, 5 Fleet Street, North Parramatta NSW 2151
Tel.: (02) 9840 3877 
The NSW Education Program on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a state-wide programme aiming to prevent the practice of FGM/C in NSW and to minimise the health and psychological impact of the practice for women, girls and their families affected by, or at risk of, FGM/C. They offer training for health professionals as well as a community education programme. In a one-day workshop the professional education programme targets health care professionals, counsellors, youth workers, education and welfare workers and police. Training offered covers clinical case management and psychosocial counselling responses to FGM/C in order to equip workers to provide care in a sensitive, non-judgemental manner to women and girls affected by FGM/C. The Women’s Health And Traditions In a New Society programme is an 11-session education programme conducted by bi-lingual community workers with women in the target communities. It aims to explore women’s health issues, including the health aspects of FGM/C and the NSW law on FGM/C. There is also a 7-session education programme conducted by male bi-lingual community workers with men from the target communities: Men's Health and Traditions allows men to confront their own health issues, experience with their wives and FGM/C and their responsibility in protecting their daughters from the practice of FGM/C.

No FGM Australia

Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide 
Tel.: 0427 058564
No FGM Australia provides resources for health professionals, educators and members of the public who may be aware of girls at risk of FGM/C, well as for parents who are being put under pressure to have their daughters undergo FGM/C. They are able to connect people to the appropriate authorities to provide safeguarding for children if necessary.  No FGM Australia also engages in raising community awareness through public lectures of local and international experts on FGM/C, and advocates for support services for those who have been subjected to FGM/C.