Safe Haven Enterprise 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).

Failure to lodge a visa application and maintain contact with us will be taken as an indication that you no longer intend to seek protection in Australia. This might affect your support services, including income support and could also impact your Bridging visa. IMAs who do not lodge a TPV or SHEV application are expected to leave Australia.

You could be granted a SHEV if:

  • you arrived in Australia illegally
  • you lodge a valid application
  • at least one member of your family unit declares an intention to work and/or study in regional Australia
  • you are assessed as engaging Australia’s protection obligations, and
  • you meet other requirements, such as health, security and character.   

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.

Key information is being sent to IMAs for inclusion with their application

We are mailing key information to IMAs who have not lodged a visa application.

Where the information exists we will provide a CD with a copy of your:

  • arrival interview (written and audio recordings)
  • previous application forms and supporting documents (including identity documents).

For most IMAs, these are the only documents we hold that are relevant to making an application.

After this information has been released, it is expected that you will lodge a TPV or SHEV application. If you are unable to lodge an application immediately you must contact us with reasons as to why you cannot lodge your application within the timeframe. You must contact us by email provide the reasons why, and include your client and boat identification numbers along with your name and date of birth.

What you can do on a SHEV

A SHEV will allow you to stay in Australia for five years.

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

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

Travel on a SHEV

As a SHEV holder, you must ask for approval to travel outside Australia on your SHEV. 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 travel to the country from which you were seeking protection, your visa could be cancelled.

You must request approval to travel every time you want to depart Australia.

If you depart Australia without written approval, your SHEV 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 send an electronic copy of this form to travel.request@border.gov.au.

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.

While you remain in Australia you will not be eligible for another visa in Australia, other than a TPV or another SHEV unless you 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.

The SHEV pathway requirements

One benefit of the SHEV is that you might be eligible to apply for other visas in Australia (but not a Permanent Protection visa) if we assess that you meet the SHEV pathway requirements. You will meet these 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 in and physically attending full-time study in regional Australia, or
  • a combination of the above.

The list of visas you might be able to apply for in Australia if you meet these requirements is in the PAIG: Visa options for illegal arrivals seeking protection.

To be able to apply for other visas in Australia 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 applications, or
  • have a member of their family unit who has met the pathway requirements include them in the visa application as a dependant applicant.

Both primary applicants and their family members will need to meet the application requirements for the visa in Australia that you apply for.

As soon as you think you meet these requirements, you can provide evidence of this to us. You do not have to wait for your SHEV to expire. If we assess that you have met the SHEV pathway requirements, you will no longer be barred from applying for certain other visas in Australia. However, you will need to meet all visa criteria to be granted that visa.

If you apply for a visa in Australia 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.

Keep in mind that different visas have different definitions of who is a member of a family unit. You should check the definition for the visa in Australia you want to apply for.

If a member of your family unit who was on your SHEV is not included on a visa application in Australia, they can apply for another SHEV or a TPV.

If, when your SHEV ceases, you have not met the SHEV pathway requirements, you can apply for another SHEV or a TPV before your current visa expires. To be granted another SHEV or a TPV, you will need to meet the criteria for the visa, including being found to engage Australia’s protection obligations.

Whether you meet the SHEV pathway requirements or not, you should apply for another visa before your SHEV expires. If you do not, you will become unlawful in Australia and risk being taken into immigration detention.

Although a SHEV usually lasts for five years, if you have already made a valid application for another SHEV or a TPV by that expiry date, your current SHEV will remain in effect until your new application is decided.

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

Work

To meet the work criteria of the SHEV pathway requirements, work must be:

  • lawful
  • paid
  • in a regional area that is included in the SHEV arrangements, and
  • full-time, part-time, temporary, casual, seasonal 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.

Study

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.

Participating in Adult Migrant English Programme (AMEP) courses that meet these criteria (Certificate I, II & III courses only) will count towards meeting the SHEV pathway study requirements. The AMEP foundation course cannot be counted as study for the purpose of the SHEV pathway requirements.

Receipt of Special Benefit payments or other financial assistance, for example a scholarship (if eligible), will not impact on meeting the SHEV pathway requirements.

Social security benefits

While holding a SHEV, you can access any social security benefits that you are eligible for. However, any work you perform while accessing Special Benefit payments (including any Special Benefit ancillary payments) will not count towards meeting the SHEV pathway requirements.

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

The benefits that you can receive while on a SHEV and still have work count towards meeting 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.

Applying for a SHEV

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

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection has lifted the application bar for the vast majority of IMAs in Australia and invited them to apply for a Temporary Protection visa (TPV) or a Safe Haven Enterprise visa (SHEV) in Australia.

IMAs are now expected to lodge an application for a TPV or a SHEV to present their claims for protection and resolve their status in Australia.

IMAs who have not received their invitation to apply letter are not prevented from lodging an application.

Failure to lodge a visa application and maintain contact with us will be taken as an indication that you no longer intend to seek protection in Australia. This might affect your support services, including income support and could also impact your Bridging visa. IMAs who do not lodge a TPV or SHEV application are expected to leave Australia.

If you are unable to lodge an application immediately, you must contact us and provide the reasons why, and include your client and boat identification numbers, name and date of birth.

Make sure that you have provided your most recent address and other contact details to us by calling 1300 728 662 with your name, date of birth, boat identification number, home address and contact phone number.

Information on how to apply and the application forms are located in the Protection Application Information Guides.

If you want to apply for a SHEV, you will then 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.

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

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

If you have already been granted a TPV

If you have already been granted a TPV, but you want a SHEV, you should fill in and lodge a form 790—Application for a Safe Haven Enterprise visa (SHEV).

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 ensure any updates are included 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 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 that time.
  • If your SHEV application is refused, your TPV will cease on the date your SHEV application is finally determined. 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. For information on how to lodge a SHEV application, read PAIG: Lodging your application for a protection visa.

If you currently have a TPV application being processed

If you currently have a TPV application being processed, you should wait for a decision on that application. If your TPV application is granted, and if you then want to apply for a SHEV, fill in and lodge a form 790—Application for a Safe Haven Enterprise visa (SHEV). We will then ask the Minister to allow you to make a valid application for a SHEV. If the Minister agrees, we will start processing your application.

If the health, character, and security checks you did for your TPV application are still valid, we might be able to use them for your SHEV application, to process your SHEV application as quickly as possible.

For more information on choosing between a TPV and a SHEV, read the PAIG: Visa options for illegal arrivals seeking protection. For information on how to lodge a SHEV application, read PAIG: Lodging your application for a protection visa.

Can I apply for a Permanent Protection visa?

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

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.

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

No, you can apply directly for a Safe Haven Enterprise visa (SHEV).

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 Temporary Protection visa (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.

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection has lifted the application bar for the vast majority of IMAs in Australia and invited them to apply for a TPV or SHEV in Australia.

IMAs are now expected to lodge an application for a TPV or a SHEV to present their claims for protection and resolve their status in Australia.

IMAs who have not received their invitation to apply letter are not prevented from lodging an application.

Failure to maintain contact with us and lodge a visa application will be taken as an indication that an IMA no longer intends to seek protection in Australia. This might affect their support services, including income support and could also impact their Bridging visa. IMAs who do not lodge a TPV or SHEV application are expected to leave Australia.

You can get information on how to apply from the Protection Application Information and Guides.

Is it more difficult to meet the criteria for a SHEV than for a TPV?

No. The requirements to be granted a SHEV are almost exactly the same as the requirements for a TPV. The SHEV and the TPV are for people who engage Australia’s protection obligations and meet all other visa requirements, such as health, security and character.

A TPV will allow the holder to stay in Australia for up to three years and does not provide a pathway to certain other visas in Australia, such as skilled or family visas. A SHEV will allow the holder to stay in Australia for five years, requires the applicant to indicate an intention to work without accessing Special Benefit payments and/or study in regional Australia, and might provide a pathway to certain other visas in Australia.

How do I demonstrate my ‘intention’ to work or study in a regional area as part of applying for a Safe Haven Enterprise visa?

When you apply for a Safe Haven Enterprise visa, you need to declare that you, or a family member in your application, intend to work and/or study in a regional area of a participating state or territory. You do this by answering question one of Part B in form 790—Application for a Safe Haven Enterprise visa.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Can I work and/or study if I am granted a SHEV?

Yes.

SHEV holders can undertake study and school-aged children can attend primary and secondary schooling.

SHEV holders are able to attend university and TAFE (and similar institutions). However, SHEV holders are not eligible for Commonwealth funding for post-secondary study. If they want to study at a university or TAFE, they will be charged international student rates.

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.

Only work or study completed in a regional area will 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.

Do I have to move to regional Australia if I am granted a SHEV?

As a SHEV holder, you can live, work or study wherever in Australia you choose. There are no penalties if you choose to remain living, working and/or studying in an area not included in the SHEV arrangements. However, if you do work and/or study in an area that is part of regional Australia under the SHEV arrangements, then that work and/or study could count towards meeting the SHEV pathway requirements.

I don't want to move. Should I wait until the state or territory that I live in commences SHEV arrangements before applying for a SHEV?

No. You should not delay applying for a TPV or a SHEV. If you are granted a SHEV, you can continue living in your state or territory, even if that state or territory has not yet commenced SHEV arrangements.

The areas of Australian states and territories that are considered part of regional Australia for the SHEV arrangements are listed on the regional Australia page.

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 and/or study wherever in Australia you choose. Working and/or studying in regional Australia is not a condition of the SHEV.  If you do not work and/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.

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 or study undertaken after an area commences 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.

What does 'finally determined' mean?

What does ‘finally determined’ mean?      

 Your application for a protection visa will be finally determined when:

  • you were refused the grant of the visa and you have not sought merits review of that decision within the period allowed to seek merits review; or
  • the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA) or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal have affirmed the decision to refuse to grant you the visa; or
  • you have been refused the grant of the visa and that decision cannot be reviewed at the IAA as you are an excluded fast track applicant.