Refugees and asylum seekers face a number of barriers to accessing health care and improved health status. These include language difficulties, financial need and unemployment, cultural differences, legal barriers and a health workforce with generally low awareness of issues specific to refugees. Importantly, current Australian government migration and settlement policy also impacts on access to health and health status. An adequate understanding of these 'hurdles to health' is a prerequisite for health providers and health service managers if they are to tailor health care and services appropriately. We include tables of available resources and entitlements to health care according to visa category to assist providers and managers.