The St Vincent de Paul Society assists all refugees, migrants and asylum seekers.

Many countries in the world do not enjoy the peace and democracy of Australia. This can often lead to terrible conflict and warfare, and persecution of minority groups in much of the world. People may be forced from their homes and jobs, kidnapped and subjected to torture, or ostracised because of their race or religion. They may fear for their own and their children's lives. This forces many millions of people around the world to migrate out of their home countries. A small number of these people use their human right under the Refugee Convention to come to Australia and seek asylum here. We are fortunate enough to be a wealthy country, with the ability to welcome many of the people who seek safety here, and in turn we benefit enormously from their skills, perspectives and experiences.

What Vinnies does

The St Vincent de Paul Society has a long history of helping migrants and refugees. We do this both by providing services to asylum seekers and refugees in Australia, and by advocating to government on their behalf. Our services include providing financial and information support to migrants and refugees, for example through home visitation, food and financial help, visits to detention centres, and homework centres. There are also dedicated Vinnies migrant and refugee centres and committees in some states, which coordinate these activities and also offer information services.

Our advocacy is led by the National Office, and the Vincentian Refugee Network.  Advocacy includes spreading the true stories of migrants and refugees, writing submissions to various bodies, media work, and some events. Our main areas of concern are the negative outcomes of detention centres, which we absolutely oppose, and inadequate financial support for refugees and asylum seekers living in the community. For more information read our Refugee Policy and the life stories of asylum seekers and refugees who have been assisted by Vinnies.

In this video the Society’s National Council CEO Dr John Falzon addresses a large contingent of asylum seeker and refugee rights supporters at a Palm Sunday rally in Canberra on 9 April, 2017. He told the group it was time to resist the politics of cruelty that kept people locked up at detention centres, and replace it with the politics of love.

Other rallies like it took place across major capital cities and in some regional towns on the same day.

Media releases, briefing notes, statements and other news

The Society's National Council office regularly calls on the Federal Government to end the detention of asylum seekers and refugees at Nauru and on Manus Island, and bring them to Australia.

The following media releases, briefing notes and statements were issued:


Vinnies joins calls for bipartisan anti-racism strategy

June 17, 2020

The St Vincent de Paul Society’s National Council President, Claire Victory, has supported calls for a bipartisan National Anti-Racism Strategy to address increasing incidents of racism in Australia.


Support Asylum Seekers and Refugees in face of COVID-19

April 3, 2020

St Vincent de Paul Society National Council President Claire Victory has called on the Federal Government to extend available payments and support to people seeking asylum, especially now in the face of the COVID-19.



Vinnies National President seeks meeting with Home Affairs Minister

December 18, 2019

The National Council of the St Vincent de Paul Society has written to the Home Affairs Minister, the Hon Peter Dutton, calling for a more civil approach to asylum seekers and refugees.


Medevac legislation repeal

December 4, 2019

The National Council of the St Vincent de Paul Society said the Federal Parliament’s decision today to repeal the Migration Amendment (Repairing Medical Transfers) Bill 2019 is very disappointing.


Leave Medevac laws alone

November 8, 2019

The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council is disappointed by the Senate Committee’s recommendation to pass the Migration Amendment


Medevac legislation repeal would be a new low

October 22, 2019

St Vincent de Paul Society National Council President, Claire Victory has urged Senators to vote against the repeal of the Medevac legislation.





What can you do?

  • Support our migrant and refugee services by donating funds, or supporting our shops.
  • Volunteer your time by becoming an English tutor for students in special after school programs.
  • Contact the main Vinnies office in your state or territory to find out more about how you can help out.
  • Tell your story. Are you a refugee who has been helped by Vinnies?  Are you a Vinnies volunteer on the ground helping those who need it the most? We would love to hear from you. Contact the National Council office.

Submissions and briefing papers