Information for Safe Haven Enterprise visa holders

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Benefits of a Safe Haven Enterprise visa

As a Safe Haven Enterprise visa (SHEV) holder, you can stay in Australia for five years. While holding a SHEV you can work, access Medicare, receive social security benefits (Centrelink) if needed and get assistance with finding a job. You 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 SHEV holders can access the Adult Migrant English Programme and children can attend and complete primary and secondary schooling.

If you are eligible for these benefits and services you will be able to access them for the duration of your visa.

You might be able to apply for other substantive onshore visas (but not a Permanent Protection visa) later on if you meet the SHEV pathway requirements. To meet these requirements, you must work, without accessing certain social security benefits (Special Benefit payments), or study (or a combination of work and study) in regional Australia for three and a half years (42 months) while you hold a SHEV.

Conditions on a SHEV

You are not able to sponsor family members for a visa through the Australian Humanitarian or Family Migration Programmes while you hold a SHEV.

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.

Travel outside Australia

As a SHEV holder, you must ask for approval to travel outside Australia and then re-enter Australia. 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. If you depart Australia without written approval, your SHEV could be cancelled.

You must not, under any circumstances, travel to the country from which you, or the primary applicant on your SHEV application, were found to engage Australia’s protection obligations.

You can request written approval to 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.

The SHEV pathway requirements

You will meet the SHEV pathway requirements if, for at least three and a half years (42 months) while on a SHEV, you have been:

  • employed in regional Australia and not received certain social security benefits (Special Benefit payments), or
  • enrolled and physically attending full-time study in regional Australia, or
  • a combination of the above.

If you meet these requirements, you will be able to apply for other substantive onshore visas (but not a Permanent Protection visa).

You could also be eligible to apply for other substantive onshore visas if a member of your family unit that was included on your SHEV application meets the SHEV pathway requirements and that family member is included, or has included you, in any substantive onshore visa application.

Regional Australia

The regional area you work or study in must be within a postcode of a state or territory that has opted-in to the SHEV arrangements for it to count towards meeting the SHEV pathway requirements. The list of areas participating in SHEV arrangements will change, so we recommend that you monitor our website for information about the postcodes that are part of regional Australia for the SHEV arrangements.

If you begin working and/or studying in a regional area, but that postcode is later removed from the SHEV arrangements, you can continue to work and study there. Work and/or study you complete in the area will still count towards you meeting the SHEV pathway requirements.

Education

You are not restricted from studying. School-aged children are able to attend and complete primary and secondary schooling. However, you are not eligible for Commonwealth funding for post-secondary study. If you want to study at a university or TAFE, you will be charged international student rates.

Adult SHEV holders have access to 510 hours of the Adult Migrant English Programme (AMEP). AMEP is delivered by service providers at sites in every state and territory of Australia, that will assess your level of English and eligibility for the programme. Factsheets about AMEP are available in other languages.

Financial assistance

As a temporary visa holder, you are not eligible for social security benefits for students (such as Austudy or Youth Allowance). Eligibility for these sorts of benefits is determined by Centrelink.

Studying in regional Australia

To meet the study criteria of the SHEV pathway requirements, you need to physically attend study that is:

  • accredited by the Australian Qualifications Framework, including a maximum of one course leading to a Certificate I and any courses leading to a Certificate II or above, and
  • full-time, either:
    • at the campus of an education provider located in a regional area included in the SHEV arrangements, or
    • at a primary school, high school or college in regional Australia for a minimum of 161 weeks (consistent with three and a half standard academic years) of full-time registered study.

When attending AMEP, if you would like to count this study towards the SHEV pathway, check with your service provider and make sure the course you are attending is a nationally recognized Certificate I, or above course.  

SHEV holders are able to participate in apprenticeship schemes in some states and territories. Access to apprenticeships for SHEV holders is subject eligibility requirements in each state and territory. Contact the relevant state or territory training authority to find out if they are eligible.

Employment

To help find employment, you have access to jobactive, a network of organisations funded by the Australian Government to provide employment services to job seekers and employers. This assistance includes:

  • help with looking for work
  • help with writing a resume
  • help with preparing for interviews
  • referrals to jobs in your local area.

When you get a job, you will be asked for a tax file number. This is a personal reference number used in Australia's taxation and superannuation systems. You can get information about applying for a tax file number from the Australian Taxation Office.

Workplace rights

SHEV holders have the same workplace rights as Australian workers, including the right to minimum wages and other workplace conditions. In Australia, all employees have protected rights at work, such as being free from discrimination, harassment and bullying. The Fair Work Ombudsman provides information about employee entitlements and your rights and responsibilities at work. To get more information, or if you have any concerns about your rights at work, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman for information in both English and other languages, or call 13 13 94. You can use the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) by calling 13 14 50.

You can also check that your pay, leave and conditions are appropriate by using the Pay and conditions tool (PACT).

Working in regional Australia

To meet the work criteria of the SHEV pathway requirements, you need to do work that is:

  • lawful
  • paid
  • in a regional area that is included in the SHEV arrangements, and
  • on a full-time, part-time, temporary, casual or seasonal basis (or a combination of these).

The work does not have to be continuous. If you have breaks between periods of work (such as doing seasonal work), each calendar month that you work will count towards the SHEV pathway requirements. It is your responsibility as a SHEV holder to find employment in a regional area that is part of the SHEV arrangements if you want to meet the SHEV pathway requirements.

Any work that you do while receiving Special Benefit payments will not count towards meeting the SHEV pathway requirements.

Combining work and study in regional Australia

You can meet the SHEV pathway requirements from a combination of working (without receiving Special Benefit payments) and studying, as long as they add up to at least three and a half years (42 months) of work and/or study.

Social security benefits

The Department of Human Services delivers a range of social and health-related payments and services.

The benefits that you can receive while working and still have that work count towards the SHEV pathway requirements are:

  • Family Tax Benefit A and B
  • Single Income Family Supplement
  • Double Orphan Pension
  • Parental Leave Pay (work test requirements)
  • Dad and Partner Pay (work test requirements)
  • Health Care Card (Family Tax Benefit)
  • Child Care Benefit/Child Care Rebate
  • School Kids Bonus
  • Child Dental Benefits Schedule
  • Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance
  • Stillborn Baby Payment
  • Low Income Health Care Card.

The benefit that you cannot receive while working and still have that work count towards the SHEV pathway requirements is the Special Benefit payment (including any Special Benefit ancillary payments).

Any full-time study that you undertake (that meets the study criteria) in regional Australia while receiving Special Benefit payments or other financial assistance, for example a scholarship (if eligible), will count towards meeting the SHEV pathway requirements.

For more information about Special Benefit payments in a range of languages see the Department of Human Services Factsheet: Special Benefit for Temporary Protection Visa and Safe Haven Enterprise Visa holders

Meeting the SHEV pathway requirements

You should keep evidence of your work and/or study, so that you can provide it to us when you think that you have met the SHEV pathway requirements. You can give us this evidence as soon as you think you meet the SHEV pathway requirements; you do not need to wait until your SHEV expires. More information on where and how you lodge your evidence of satisfying the SHEV pathway requirements will be available on this webpage in due course.

Evidence

Evidence that you could provide to prove that you meet the SHEV pathway requirements on the basis of studying could include, but is not limited to:

  • electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCOE), which details the type of course, the course provider, the duration of the course and the type of qualification offered
  • proof of meeting course requirements, including attendance certificates or records
  • evidence of satisfactory course completion (certificates, diploma attained or degrees awarded) or any other requirements for that course, including apprenticeship and work placement
  • academic transcripts.

Evidence that you could provide to prove that you meet the SHEV pathway requirements on the basis of working could include, but is not limited to:

  • payslips
  • letters of employment
  • contracts
  • Australian bank statement covering period of work.

You should keep this evidence in a safe place so that you can give it to us to prove you meet the SHEV pathway requirements. You will need to contact your employer to make sure they give you the evidence you need.

You may record details of your employment and/or study in SHEV regional areas using form 1465 SHEV Employment and study record. This form provides a document for you to keep a record of your work and/or study in a SHEV regional area.

More information on where and how you lodge your evidence of meeting the SHEV pathway requirements will be available on this page in due course.

To determine whether you meet the pathway requirements to apply for other substantive onshore visas, we might disclose your personal information to the Department of Human Services, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Education and Training, and other government agencies and third parties where required.

If you have not met the SHEV pathway requirements

If you have not met the SHEV pathway requirements by the time your SHEV is due to expire, you can only apply for another SHEV or a Temporary Protection visa (TPV). To be granted another SHEV or TPV, you will need to meet the criteria for the visa, including being found to engage Australia's protection obligations.

Although a SHEV usually lasts for five years, if you have already made a valid application for another SHEV or a TPV before your visa’s expiry date, your current SHEV will remain valid until we make a decision on your new application. If you do not apply for another visa before your SHEV expires, you will become unlawful in Australia and risk being taken into immigration detention.

If you are granted another SHEV, your periods of work and/or study during both SHEVs will count towards meeting the SHEV pathway requirements.

Applying for substantive onshore visas

You will not be able to make a valid application for a substantive onshore visa, except another SHEV or a TPV, until you meet the SHEV pathway requirements. More information on where and how you can lodge your evidence of satisfying the SHEV pathway requirements will be available on this webpage in due course.

You will not be automatically granted a substantive onshore visa if you meet the SHEV pathway requirements. You will need to apply for and meet the eligibility criteria for your chosen visa. You should do this before your SHEV expires. If you do not, you will become unlawful in Australia and risk being taken into immigration detention.

You should check that you meet the criteria for any substantive onshore visa you want to apply for and that the visa suits your circumstances. It is your responsibility to know the criteria of the visa that you want to apply for. Each visa has different criteria that you must meet to be granted that visa.

Any application for a substantive onshore visa other than a SHEV or TPV must include a person who has met the SHEV pathway requirements, but that person does not need to be the primary applicant.

Other family members who were on your SHEV do not have to be on the substantive onshore visa application; however, all applicants who want to be considered for the visa will need to be on the application. Family members not included on the substantive onshore visa application can stay on a SHEV and apply for further SHEVs or a TPV.

Some visas have different definitions of who is a member of a family unit. You should check who is considered a member of the family unit for the visa you want before you lodge an application.

When you apply for a substantive onshore visa, you will need to meet health, security, character and identity requirements for that visa. This may mean submitting new information and completing some assessments again.

If you apply for a substantive onshore visa and your SHEV expires before a decision is made on that application, you will be granted a bridging visa while your application is being processed.

The list of substantive onshore visas you can apply for once you meet the SHEV pathway requirements is below:

Skilled visas

For more information on applying for skilled visas, see SkillSelect.

Employer-sponsored visas

Student visas

Family visas

Other visas

You can use our Visa Finder to help you find detailed information about the criteria for any visa you are thinking of applying for. Remember that this list could change, so make sure the visa you want is on the list before you apply. Also remember that the criteria for visas can change over time, so you should check the criteria again when deciding which visa might be right for your circumstances.

You may want to seek help from a registered migration agent, but you will need to do so at your own cost. Information about registered migration agents can be found through the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority.

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What areas are considered ‘regional Australia’?

Areas defined as ‘regional Australia’ under the SHEV arrangements include postcodes nominated by a state or territory that has agreed to participate in the SHEV arrangements.

The list of the regional areas that are participating in SHEV arrangements can change over time. You should monitor this list for information about regional areas for the SHEV arrangements.

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What if the state/territory I want to work or study in is not part of the SHEV programme?

You can apply for a SHEV, whether or not you are currently living in, or want to live in, an area that is part of regional Australia for the SHEV arrangements.

You will need to indicate in the SHEV application form that you intend to work and/or study in a regional area while accessing minimum social security benefits. You do not have to be currently living in regional Australia to apply for a SHEV. You do not have to live in a regional area if granted a SHEV. You only need to declare an intention on the application form.

If you work and/or study in an area that is not part of regional Australia for the SHEV arrangements, that work or study will not count towards meeting the SHEV pathway requirements.

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What support arrangements are available to TPV and SHEV holders?

TPV and SHEV holders can work, get assistance with finding a job access Medicare, and receive social security benefits (Centrelink). 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.

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Will I automatically get a permanent visa because I hold a SHEV?

No.

As a SHEV holder, you will only be able to apply for certain other visas if you meet the SHEV pathway requirements. The visas you will be eligible to apply for if you meet the SHEV pathway requirements are listed in PAIG: Visa options for illegal arrivals seeking protection.

If you meet the SHEV pathway requirements and you apply for a visa in Australia (either temporary or permanent), you will need to satisfy all of that visa’s requirements to be able to be granted that visa.

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Will I breach my visa conditions or will my SHEV be cancelled if I do not work or study in a SHEV regional area?

No. You can live, work or study anywhere in Australia you choose. Living, working and studying in regional Australia is not a condition of the SHEV.  If you do not live, work or study in regional Australia, this will not be a breach of your visa conditions and will not lead to your SHEV being cancelled. There are no penalties if a SHEV holder chooses to remain in an area not included in the SHEV arrangements.

However, if you do not work and/or study in regional Australia, you will not be able to meet the SHEV pathway requirements.

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If the area I'm working/studying in becomes a SHEV regional area, does my previous work/study count towards the SHEV pathway requirements?

No. Only work and/or study undertaken after an area joins the SHEV arrangements will count towards meeting the SHEV pathway requirements.

If you begin working and/or studying in a regional area, but that area is later removed from the SHEV arrangements, you can continue to work and study there and have it count towards meeting the SHEV pathway requirements.

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Can I live in an area not considered part of regional Australia under SHEV arrangements?

Yes. You can live in a different area to where you study or work, although in most cases people work or study in the same area where they live. The requirement to meet the pathways is not that you ‘live’ in that area, but that you work and/or study there.

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Can SHEV holders receive Special Benefit payments to support them while they work or study?

SHEV holders can receive Special Benefit payments at any time while holding their SHEV if they are found to be entitled to this benefit. However, to meet the pathway requirements, the following applies to Special Benefit payments:

Work requirement

To meet the SHEV pathways work requirement, any work a SHEV holder wants to have counted towards meeting the pathway must have been undertaken without receiving any Special Benefit payments.

Study requirement

The Special Benefit payments restriction does not apply to SHEV holders undertaking full-time study in regional Australia. They can receive Special Benefit payments or other financial assistance and have that study count towards meeting the SHEV pathway requirements.. However, people studying full time may not qualify for Special Benefit payments. Eligibility for Special Benefit payments is determined by the Department of Human Services.

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Who has to meet the SHEV work/study requirements to satisfy the SHEV pathway?

To be eligible to apply for certain other visas, a SHEV holder will need to either:

  • meet the SHEV pathway requirements individually and apply separately for a visa, or

  • meet the SHEV pathway requirements and include their family as dependant applicants in the visa application, or

  • have a member of their family unit who has met the pathway requirements include them in their visa application as a dependant applicant.

Both primary applicants and their family members will need to meet the application requirements of the visa they apply for.

















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Do I need to leave my job immediately and move to a regional area after I am granted a SHEV?

No. You don’t have to leave your job immediately after SHEV grant to obtain employment and/or study in regional Australia. The requirement is that you work and/or study in regional Australia for three and a half years only. After you are granted a SHEV, you have some time to make arrangements to find work and/or study in regional Australia.

If you choose to voluntarily leave your current employment, you need to be aware that you may not be able to receive Special Benefit payments for a limited period. For more information, including a list of the mutual obligation requirements for all jobseekers, refer to the Department of Human Services: ‘Penalties for not meeting your Mutual Obligation Requirements’.

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