Temporary Protection visas

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There are two types of protection visas available for people who arrived in Australia illegally: Temporary Protection visas (TPVs) and Safe Haven Enterprise visas (SHEVs). You could be granted a TPV if you:

  • arrived in Australia illegally
  • are invited to apply for a TPV and lodge a valid application
  • are assessed as engaging Australia’s protection obligations, and
  • meet other requirements, such as health, security, character and identity checks.

If you are found not to engage Australia’s protection obligations, you will be expected to return home or to another country where you have right of entry.

What you can do on a TPV

A TPV will allow you to stay in Australia for up to three years.

While holding a TPV you can work, access Medicare, social security benefits (Centrelink) if needed and assistance to find a job. TPV holders can also access short-term counselling for torture and trauma where required. Adult TPV holders will have access to the Adult Migrant English Programme. School-aged children will have access to primary and secondary schooling.

Conditions on a TPV

If you are granted a TPV on or after 16 December 2014, you must ask for approval to travel outside Australia and then re-enter Australia on your TPV. International travel will only be approved if you can demonstrate compassionate or compelling circumstances that justify the travel. You must get approval in writing from us before you travel. You must not, under any circumstances, travel to the country from which you, or the primary applicant on your TPV application, were found to engage Australia’s protection obligations. You must request approval to travel every time you want to depart Australia.

If you depart Australia without written approval, your TPV could be cancelled.

You can ask for written approval for international travel by completing form 1454—Request for approval to travel under condition 8570 (Restricted Travel) and sending an electronic copy of this form to travel.request@border.gov.au.

If you are granted a TPV, you cannot sponsor family members for a visa through the Australian Humanitarian or Family Migration Programmes.

You must tell us if you change your residential address, within 28 days of moving. You can do this by filling out form 929—Change of address and/or passport details.

You will not be able to apply for a substantive onshore visa, other than another TPV or a SHEV, while you remain in Australia unless you are granted a SHEV and then meet the SHEV pathway requirements.

Before your TPV expires, you will need to apply for either a TPV or a SHEV. To be granted another TPV or a SHEV, you will need to meet the criteria for the visa, including being found to engage Australia’s protection obligations.

Applying for a TPV

If you have not yet made a valid application for a protection visa

When it is your turn to have your protection claims assessed, we will ask the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection to lift the bar to allow you to make a valid application for a TPV or SHEV. It could take some time before this happens. If the Minister agrees, we will send you a letter to invite you to apply.

The letter will include information on how to lodge a valid TPV or SHEV application and what information you need to give us with your application. If you want to apply for a TPV, you will then need to complete and lodge the TPV application form (form 866—Application for a protection visa). Do not lodge a SHEV application form (form 790—Application for a Safe Haven Enterprise visa) if you want a TPV.

Do not lodge applications for both a SHEV and a TPV. If you do, the TPV application will be invalid and only the SHEV application will be processed.

Be patient. It could be some time before it is your turn to apply for a visa. It is important for you to keep your contact details current with us. This includes the address where you live and your phone number so we can contact you with important information about your immigration status. Remember, this is also a condition of holding a bridging visa and being able to live in the community.

To update your contact details, call 1300 728 662 with your name, date of birth, boat identification number, home address and contact phone number.

You can prepare for when we start processing your case by making sure you have original and genuine documents as evidence of your identity, nationality and citizenship ready for when we ask for them. These documents need to be from your country of origin or other countries you travelled through or lived in before you arrived in Australia.

You should also gather documents to support your claims for protection. When we invite you to apply for a protection visa, it is important to give us your protection claims early and in full. If you do not give us all of your protection claims and we refuse your application, you will probably not have another chance to provide these claims.

For general information about applying for protection visas, read the PAIG.

If you lodged a valid Permanent Protection visa application

Under current legislation, any valid application for a Permanent Protection visa lodged by a person who arrived in Australia illegally that was not finalised by 16 December 2014 has been converted into a TPV application. If you are found to engage Australia's protection obligations and meet all other requirements, you will be granted a TPV.

If you want a SHEV instead, you will need to lodge a SHEV application form. If we are already processing a TPV application for you, you should wait for a decision on that application.

If your TPV application has already been granted, but you want to apply for a SHEV see Can I get a SHEV if I have already been granted a TPV.

More information to help you choose between a TPV and a SHEV is available in the PAIG: Visa options for illegal arrivals seeking protection.

Can I apply for a Safe Haven Enterprise visa instead of a TPV?

Yes, if the Minister has agreed to allow you to apply for a SHEV. To help you decide between applying for a TPV or a SHEV, read the PAIG: Visa options for illegal arrivals seeking protection.

Can I get a SHEV if I have already been granted a TPV?

Yes. Being granted a TPV does not prevent you from applying for a SHEV.

If you hold a TPV but want to apply for a SHEV, fill in and lodge a form 790—Application for a Safe Haven Enterprise visa (SHEV). We will ask the Minister to allow you to lodge a valid application for a SHEV. If the Minister agrees, we will start processing your application.

It is important that you provide current information about your circumstances in your SHEV application. If your circumstances have not significantly changed, you can attach the statement of claims you used when you applied for a protection visa to your SHEV application. It is your responsibility to tell us about any changes to your circumstances in your SHEV application so your application is complete and accurate.

Holding a TPV does not mean that you will be automatically granted a SHEV if you make a valid SHEV application. Any new visa application must be assessed on its merits. This includes assessing again whether you engage Australia’s protection obligations and meet all other requirements for the grant of a SHEV. If the health, character, security and identity checks that were conducted for your protection visa application are still valid, we might be able to re-use them for your SHEV application. We will tell you if you need to do new checks.

If you make a valid SHEV application, your TPV will remain in effect while your SHEV application is being processed.

  • If you are granted a SHEV, the TPV you currently hold will cease at the time your SHEV is granted.
  • If your SHEV application is refused, your TPV will cease on the date your SHEV application is finalised. If you no longer engage Australia's protection obligations and you do not hold a visa, you will be expected to leave Australia.

More information to help you choose between a TPV and a SHEV is available in the PAIG: Visa options for illegal arrivals seeking protection.

Can I still apply for a Permanent Protection visa?

No. As you arrived in Australia illegally, you can only apply for a TPV or a SHEV.

Under current legislation, any valid application for a Permanent Protection visa lodged by a person who arrived in Australia illegally that was not finalised by 16 December 2014 has been converted into an application for a TPV.

Do I need a Temporary Protection visa before applying for a Safe Haven Enterprise visa?

No.

When it is your turn to have your protection claims assessed, we will ask the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection to allow you to apply for either a Temporary Protection visa (TPV) or a Safe Haven Enterprise visa (SHEV). If the Minister agrees, we will send you an invitation to apply for one of these visas.

Your invitation letter will include information on how to lodge either a valid TPV or SHEV application. You can also get information on how to apply from the Protection Application Information and Guides.

You can only apply for one of these visas at a time. If you want to apply for a SHEV, you will need to complete and lodge the SHEV application form (form 790—Application for a Safe Haven Enterprise visa). Do not lodge a TPV application form (form 866—Application for a protection visa) if you want a SHEV. If you lodge both an application for a TPV and a SHEV at the same time, the TPV application will be invalid and only the SHEV application will be processed.

What support arrangements are available to TPV and SHEV holders?

TPV and SHEV holders can work and access Medicare, receive social security benefits (Centrelink) and get assistance with finding a job. They can also access short-term counselling for torture and trauma if you want, or other support services offered by the Department of Social Services.

Adult TPV and SHEV holders have access to 510 hours of education and training through the Adult Migrant English Programme (AMEP).

TPV and SHEV holders have permission to work and can access jobactive, a network of organisations funded by the Australian Government to provide employment services to job seekers and employers.

TPV and SHEV holders unable to find work will also be eligible for Special Benefit and/or ‘Work for the Dole’ assistance. Any work done by a SHEV holder while accessing Special Benefit, including Special Benefit ancillary payments, will not count towards meeting the SHEV pathway requirements.

I've already been found to engage Australia's protection obligations. Why do I need my claims assessed again when applying for a TPV or SHEV?

To be granted a TPV or SHEV you must meet all of the criteria at the time a decision is made.

When applying for a TPV or SHEV, you can attach an existing assessment or letter showing you engage Australia’s protection obligations. However, you should also state why you continue to engage Australia's protection obligations.

How do I update my claims for protection in my new application?

You can include a statement in the section of the application form that asks you for the reasons you are claiming protection (Part C – Your Reasons for claiming protection). A decision maker will then take your previous assessment into account and consider any changes the country from which you sought asylum from and/or your personal circumstances.