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).

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 TPV if you:

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 have mailed key information to IMAs who have not lodged a visa application.

Where the information exists we have provided 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 have not received this information, notify our Freedom of Information section at foi.nsw@border.gov.au.

Living in Australia on a TPV

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

While holding a TPV you can work, get assistance to find a job, access Medicare, and social security benefits (Centrelink) if needed. 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.

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

Travel on a TPV

If you are granted a TPV on or after 16 December 2014, you must ask for approval to travel outside 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 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 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.

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 visa in Australia, other than another TPV or a SHEV.

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

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 a 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.

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

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

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.

If you are unable to lodge an application immediately, you must contact us and provide the reasons why, along with 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.

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 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 get a SHEV instead of a TPV?

You can apply for a SHEV instead of a TPV. To help you decide between applying for a TPV or a SHEV, read the PAIG: Visa options for illegal arrivals seeking protection.

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

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 and security 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 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.

Can I 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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.