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Changes to the Australian immigration policy in 2012 have given people with disabilities greater access to humanitarian visas, but accessing the  services they require is still a  problem.

Communication barriers are one of the most prevalent issues, navigating Australia’s already complicated healthcare and support services system is harder for those who speak limited English, with some unaware of, or unclear on services such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Though support organisations often make sure information is available in multiple languages, accessing it requires the ability to search for information in English says Angela Dew, Associate Professor, Disability and Inclusion at Deakin university.

‘it may well be provided in their own language, but they are not able to get to it because of that hurdle’

Dew says a larger bilingual workforce in the support industry could make a substantial difference.

‘for disability services it would be great to be building that bilingual workforce, particularly in areas where people have settled’

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