Publish Date: Aug 17, 2015
The Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) became available on 1 July 2015.
If you are seeking protection in Australia and did not arrive lawfully, you may be eligible to apply for the SHEV if you have been invited to apply for a protection visa by the Minister of Immigration and Border Protection.
You need to be in Australia at the time of applying for the SHEV and you need to be assessed as meeting Australia’s protection obligations, or be a member of a family unit of such a person. You will also need to meet other criteria in relation to your identity, character and health before this visa can be granted to you.
If a SHEV is granted to you, you will have permission to work in Australia; access to Medicare, Centrelink, job matching, short-term counselling for torture or trauma, government-funded education if you are school-age and the Australian Migrant English Programme if you are an adult; and the limited ability to travel outside Australia. You will not be allowed to travel to the country from which you were granted protection.
A SHEV holder will not able to sponsor family members for a visa through the Humanitarian or Family Migration programs.
In contrast to a Temporary Protection Visa (TPV), a SHEV will allow the holder to stay in Australia for up to five years. The main unique features of the SHEV are that it is designed to encourage work and/or study in a regional area in Australia, and a SHEV holder may be eligible to apply for other visas in the future, including permanent residency visas, if they meet certain ‘pathway’ requirements.
According to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, you do not have to live in a regional area in Australia to be eligible for the SHEV or to continue holding a SHEV. However if a SHEV holder wishes to be eligible to apply for another type of visa in the future (apart from another SHEV or a TPV), they need to meet the ‘pathway’ requirements which require that, for at least three and a half years, a SHEV holder has been:
The areas that are currently considered part of regional Australia for the SHEV pathway requirements are the following postcodes in New South Wales:
The above postcodes do not include Sydney, the Central Coast, Newcastle and Wollongong.
Only one SHEV holder in a family unit needs to meet the SHEV pathway requirements for all the members of the family unit to be considered to have met the SHEV pathway requirements.
In addition to meeting the pathway requirements, a SHEV holder needs to meet the criteria for the visa for which they apply. If a SHEV holder has family members, they will need to keep in mind that different visas have different definitions of who is a member of a family unit.
The eligible visas for which a SHEV holder can apply do not include a permanent Protection visa. However, they may be eligible to apply for visas in the family, employer-sponsored, skilled and student visa categories, including permanent residency visas.
If a SHEV holder does not meet the pathway requirements before their SHEV expires, they can apply for another SHEV or a TPV before the expiry of their current SHEV. If granted another SHEV, any periods of employment and/or study in regional Australia over the course of both SHEVs will count towards meeting the SHEV pathway requirements.
For more information about the SHEV, including the details of the SHEV pathway requirements, please contact one of our experienced immigration solicitors.