Unaccompanied minors applying for a protection visa

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You must now apply for a Temporary Protection visa (TPV) or a Safe Haven Enterprise visa (SHEV).

The Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors Programme may provide further assistance.

The Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors Programme

The Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors Programme (UHM Programme) facilitates the provision of relevant care, supervision and support services to minors on certain visas in Australia without a parent or legal guardian.

It helps eligible minors that have either permanent resident, temporary humanitarian, temporary protection or equivalent substantive temporary visas.

Minors in the UHM Programme are provided with services through contracted service provider arrangements and/or in partnership with state or territory government child welfare agencies.

Support services for minors in the UHM Programme include access to:

  • torture and trauma services
  • medical service
  • provision of English language classes
  • case management or case coordination provision (such as site visits and client monitoring)
  • access to education and relevant community services
  • mentoring services for the purposes of transitioning to adulthood
  • community networks.

Your legal guardian

Depending on your circumstances as an unaccompanied minor, the Minister might be your legal guardian. The Minister will usually remain so until you turn 18 years of age or permanently leave Australia.

As your guardian, the Minister has the same responsibilities as a natural parent. The Minister might appoint a delegated guardian to provide for your care/welfare and a custodian will provide you with day-to-day care and support. If you are not sure if the Minister is your guardian, speak with your case manager.

Living arrangements

I know someone in the community that I would like to live with. Can I live with them? School and Work

If you know someone in the community that you would like to live with, discuss this with your case manager. The proposed carer must be able to provide you with appropriate care, support and guidance and agree that you can live with them. The proposed carer will be assessed and appropriate services must be available in that location to ensure that living with them is in your best interests. The carer assessment process can take some time, so you could be placed in the care of a service provider contracted by us while this is taking place.

I do not know anyone in the community that I can live with. What do I do?

If you do not know anyone in the community that you would like to live with, discuss this with your case manager. They will refer you to the UHM Programme for assistance. You might be placed in the care of a contracted service provider and you could live in a group house with other minors. A full-time carer might also live in the house if required.

How long will I stay in the UHM programme?

You will be able to stay in the UHM programme until you turn 18 years of age or permanently leave Australia. The UHM Programme is designed to help you develop skills that you will need to live independently in the Australian community once you turn 18 and exit the programme.

School and Work

You will need to attend school until you are at least 17 years old.

You will be able to work if you are old enough. The minimum age of employment is different in each state and territory. Ask your case manager if you are old enough to work wherever you live.

However, attending school is the most important activity you can do. It will help you to improve your English. It will also help you meet the SHEV pathway requirements, if you are granted a SHEV. You can discuss this with your case manager.

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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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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.

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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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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.

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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.