Get up to $9,000 to move for work – are you eligible?

Editor-at-Large · 7 December 2020
If you need to move for work you may be eligible for financial assistance from the government. Here’s a look at the rules.

Moving to a new location for work can be expensive. The Australian Government developed the Relocation Assistance to Take Up a Job program to help “participants accept work outside of their area by removing the financial barriers that can prevent people relocating”.

“The program originally supported job seekers who were unemployed for 12 months or more and facing long term employment to relocate for ongoing work,” a spokesperson for the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESR) told Canstar. From 1 December 2020 until 31 December 2021, though, the 12-month criteria will be lifted.

Also from 1 November 2020 until 31 December 2021, the program is available to individuals who temporarily relocate to regional or harvest areas to take up short-term agricultural work.

Here is a look at what you need to know about the program.

Am I eligible?

From 1 December 2020, if you are looking for a job and participating in an employment service program you will be eligible for relocation assistance if you move to take up ongoing work, including an apprenticeship. Your new job must be for more than 30 hours a week and ongoing for more than six months (15 hours or more per week for participants with an assessed Partial Capacity to Work).

From 1 November 2020 until 31 December 2021, you may be eligible if you temporarily relocate to regional or harvest areas to take up short-term agricultural work of at least six weeks and 120 hours. The payment is available to Australians, including those not on income support (such as grey nomads and domestic students), and Visa holders who have a right to work in Australia (including Working Holiday Makers and international students). It is not available to seasonal workers who are in Australia under the Seasonal Worker Program or The Pacific Labour Scheme.

It’s worth noting that if you are a member of a couple, only one of you is entitled to apply for assistance.

Where can I move to?

Your new location must:

  • be within Australia
  • be at least 90 minutes away from where you currently live, based on your normal mode of transport
  • not be within the same capital city
  • be in one of 16 Harvest Trail Service areas or a regional or remote area.

How much assistance can I receive?

If you are moving to take up ongoing work, you may be eligible to receive up to:

  • $3,000 if you relocate to a capital city
  • $6,000 if you relocate to a regional area
  • an extra $3,000 if you relocate with a dependent.

If you are relocating to take up short-term agricultural work, you may be eligible to receive up to:

  • $6,000 if you are an Australian worker
  • $2,000 if you are a visa holder with the right to work in Australia.

What can I use the money for?

There are no set rules but you may be able to use the money to cover a range of expenses such as rent at your new location, travel and removalist’s costs and costs of settling in at your new location.

How do I apply?

If you are registered with a jobactive, Disability Employment Services, ParentsNext, Transition to Work and Harvest Trail Services provider, it’s a good idea to talk to them about eligibility information and the assistance available. You can also call the National Customer Service Line on 1800 805 260.

You may need to provide invoices, receipts or other evidence of valid relocation costs and a copy of the offer of employment.


Cover image source: Monkey Business Images (Shutterstock)

This article was reviewed by Editorial Campaigns Manager Maria Bekiaris before it was published as part of our fact-checking process.


Effie ZahosAbout Effie Zahos

Canstar’s Editor-at-Large, Effie Zahos, has more than two decades of experience helping Aussies make the most of their money. Prior to joining Canstar, Effie was the editor of Money Magazine, having helped establish it in 1999. She is an author and one of Australia’s leading personal finance commentators, appearing regularly on TV and radio.



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