Job seekers can now take advantage of the government’s relocation assistance of up to $9,000 when they relocate to take up on-going work, including an apprenticeship, provided the position (both work and apprenticeship) is for more than 20 hours a week with a duration of more than 6 months. The scheme commenced 1 May 2021 and is designed to help job seekers with the cost of relocating to take up vacant job positions.
Job seekers who are participating in employment service programs such as jobactive, Disability Employment Services, ParentsNext, Transition to Work, or Community Development Programs may be immediately eligible for help with their moving costs.
Where you relocate to take up ongoing work, the new location must be within Australia, be at least 90 minutes away from where you currently live (based on your normal mode of transport), and not be within the same capital city. Those individuals that relocate to a regional area may be eligible for up to $6,000 with an extra $3,000 available if a dependent is also relocating. For those relocating to another capital city, $3,000 of relocation assistance may be available with an extra $3,000 if relocating with a dependent.
However, relocation assistance for capital cities is only available if the destination city has a lower unemployment rate than the capital city you’re relocating from. For example, according to the latest unemployment rate published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the NSW unemployment rate is 5.4% and Victoria's is 6.1%. So, it is likely that an individual moving from Melbourne to Sydney would get the relocation assistance although they would not receive the assistance if they were moving from Sydney to Melbourne.
The relocation assistance received can be used for a variety of costs including rent, travel costs, and some employment-related expenses. The assistance can be received either as reimbursement or the employment services provider can make payments directly to the supplier. Individuals experiencing hardship may also be able to obtain $2,000 upfront to help with the cost of relocating. In addition, only one member of a couple may apply for relocation assistance.
To apply for relocation assistance, individuals are encouraged to contact either their local employment services provider or the employment services information line. Evidence that you’ve received an accepted offer for an eligible job in an eligible location will be required. Furthermore, you must also sign a relocation assistance agreement with an employment services provider and make available any quotes, invoices, and receipts of relocation costs.
If after accepting relocation assistance, you leave your job without a valid reason, or you don’t commence employment or relocate, penalties may apply. However, in instances where you lose the job through no fault of your own, for example, a redundancy or a business closure, penalties would not apply.