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Eligibility criteria update for the Asylum Seeker VET (ASVET) Program, Youth Access Initiative and Reconnect Program

Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions

Training, Skills and Higher Education

Adult, Community and Further Education (ACFE) Division Memo


  • Registered Learn Local providers
  • Statewide providers
  • ACFE Board
  • ACFE Regional Councils
  • Learn Local stakeholders
  • ACFE Division staff

From: Michelle Willetts, Executive Director, Adult, Community and Further Education Division

Date: 15/07/2023

SUBJECT: Eligibility criteria update for the Asylum Seeker VET (ASVET) Program, Youth Access Initiative and Reconnect Program

Actions and critical dates

Expansion of the eligibility criteria in the Asylum Seeker VET (ASVET) Program, Youth Access Initiative and Reconnect Program effective as of 11 July 2023 

Who is now eligible?

From 11 July 2023, an individual or dependants of individuals are eligible to participate in the Asylum Seeker VET (ASVET) Program if they:

  • hold any humanitarian, protection, or refugee visa in Australia
  • have applied for a humanitarian, protection or refugee visa and hold a bridging visa for this purpose
  • have made an application under s.417 or s.48b of the Migration Act 1958 (Cth) which is yet to be determined and hold a bridging visa.

Individuals must have study rights, and work rights are required for programs that include work placement.

Why are more visa holders being included?

  • To address recent changes by the Australian Government to asylum seeker residency rules and transitional visa arrangements.
  • To ensure consistent access to the ASVET Program and Skills First training for asylum seekers that became ineligible due to changes in federal visa and residency policy settings.
  • To ensure the Victorian Government can continue supporting asylum seekers to access training and develop competencies that address identified skill shortages in the Victorian workforce.

ASVET Program 

The ASVET Program provides eligible asylum seekers and refugees granted temporary residence an exemption from the usual citizenship/residency eligibility criteria required for participation in a Government-subsidised Skills First training course. 

Funding is allocated to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) to conduct the support element of the program. Through this additional funding, the ASRC undertakes activities that further support the capacity and capability development of the sector. This is to ensure TAFEs, RTOs, and Learn Local providers that work with eligible asylum seekers have the awareness, skills and understanding to deliver appropriate and customised responses. This will ultimately result in increased enrolments and completions, improved student experience and greater supported training pathways to further study and employment. 

Individuals participating in the ASVET Program are also eligible to access the Reconnect Program.

Further details on the program and the support on offer to asylum seekers, can be found on the Victorian Government website

Youth Access Initiative 

The Youth Access Initiative is part of the Skills First Funding which addresses the key aspects of improving awareness of, access to and engagement with vocational education and training opportunities for marginalised young people in our community.

The Youth Access Initiative contributes to this priority by further reducing the costs of subsidised training by providing a waiver on student tuition fees for eligible young people.

The Youth Access Initiative is open to individuals aged 24 years or less who are eligible for Skills First subsidised training and meet one of the following: 

  • have been or are currently on a Child Protection Order or a Youth Justice Order (but are not currently in custody)
  • are a resident of an Education First Youth Foyer (refer to guidelines for a list of relevant orders and foyer information)
  • a young person who is or has been supported by the Refugee Minor Program
  • a young person who has participated or is participating in the Children's Court Youth Diversion Service. 

Reconnect Program

The Reconnect program is designed to support Victorians experiencing disadvantage. The program assists participants to overcome the barriers preventing them from engaging in education, training and employment and provides support for further study or employment pathways.

The program is funded to support over 1,700 participants each year, by providing wraparound supports and interventions that aim at addressing non-vocational barriers that impact a person's ability to reach their participation potential. Asylum seekers, refugees and recent migrants are now eligible for Reconnect and are still able to receive the usual subsidies under the ASVET program, as well as acquire further support offered through Reconnect. These supports ensure that learners and participants from eligible asylum seeker backgrounds have the same access and support to complete their educational goals and further support their independence.

For further details on the Reconnect program and its support, please visit the Victorian Government website

For further information on the any of the programs above, please contact the Learner Pathways Unit at