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This information is for stakeholders who are working with and supporting illegal maritime arrivals (IMAs) with resolving their immigration status.

Applying for a TPV or SHEV

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 regardless of whether they have received an invitation to apply letter.

IMAs must:

  • maintain contact with the Department and provide their most recent address and contact details. They can do this by calling 1300 728 662.
  • prepare and lodge an application for a TPV or SHEV
  • make plans to depart Australia if they do not intend to apply for a TPV or a SHEV.

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

Information on how to apply and the application forms are located in the Protection Application Information Guides (PAIG). The Protection Application Information and Guides are available to help IMAs to prepare their identity documents and supporting evidence and apply for a Temporary Protection or a Safe Haven Enterprise visa.

Health processing letters

As part of the TPV/SHEV application process the Department is issuing health requests to IMAs who have not undertaken the full suite of health requirements previously as part of the initial screening process. This includes IMAs at all stages of the visa process and those yet to lodge a TPV or SHEV application. While the authorized recipient normally receives the request to complete the health requirements, we are aware that some letters have been incorrectly addressed directly to clients.

Migration agents and other supporting persons are encouraged to discuss with the IMA the arrangements around booking and attending an appointment with the Department’s visa medical provider. More information can be obtained by emailing the Temporary Protection Visa Assessment Branch.

Regional destinations for SHEV holders

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

Time spent working and/or studying in a regional area will only count towards the SHEV pathway requirements from the date the regional area commences the SHEV arrangements.

IMAs do not have to live in a regional area after they have applied for a SHEV or been granted a SHEV. There are no penalties for IMAs who apply for a SHEV with the intention to work and/or study in regional Australia but do not. However, to meet the SHEV pathway requirements, a SHEV holder must work and/or study in a regional area participating in SHEV arrangements.

Detailed information on the SHEV pathway requirements is available for SHEV holders.

State and territory government information

For more information about services, support and opportunities for SHEV holders in regional Australia for the following participating state or territory, visit:

Employing IMAs

All employees in Australia have protected rights at work, such as being free from discrimination, harassment and bullying and the right to minimum wages. The Fair Work Ombudsman provides information about employee entitlements and rights and responsibilities at work.

You can get more information about employing workers who are not Australian citizens through our Employer Hub.

All TPV and SHEV holders have permission to work and might be able to participate in apprenticeship schemes. Access to apprenticeships for TPV and SHEV holders is subject to eligibility requirements in each state and territory. For further information see: State Training Authority.

Bridging visa E (BVE) holders’ work rights vary and must be checked on an individual basis. To engage in work, including apprenticeships, the visa holder must have permission to work. Employers can check prospective employees’ work rights using the free Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service.

Educational institutions

School-aged SHEV, TPV and BVE holders are expected to attend primary and secondary schooling.

SHEV and TPV holders can attend university, TAFE and similar institutions. BVE holders should check their visa for any study restrictions before enrolling to study.

There is no Commonwealth funding for post-secondary study for SHEV or TPV holders; they will be charged international student rates for post-secondary study. Any queries about education should be directed to the Department of Education and Training.

Support services

TPV and SHEV applicants might be eligible for financial support, housing or health services through the Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS) while waiting for their application to be decided. This assistance will cease if they are granted a SHEV or TPV.

SHEV and TPV holders should contact their SRSS provider as soon as they have been granted a visa and ask them to help them connect with Centrelink and other support services as needed.

SHEV and TPV holders might be eligible for the following support services:

More information is available from the Department of Social Services.

SHEV and TPV application assistance

The Protection Application Information and Guides are available to help people apply for protection. These guides provide instructions about the protection application and assessment process in Australia.

In addition, a small number of IMAs are eligible for migration agent assistance through the Primary Application Information Service (PAIS).

If you have information you think we should take into account when we consider whether an IMA would be eligible for PAIS assistance, you should provide this to the IMA’s SRSS provider or departmental case manager.

If an IMA is considering privately engaging a migration agent, they can search the register of migration agents. The search can be refined to find non-commercial or not-for-profit migration agents.

The National Association of Community Legal Centres can also assist IMAs in obtaining access to legal services, including some services that are free or discounted.