Safe Haven Enterprise visas

Safe Haven Enterprise visa (SHEV) is one of the protection visas available to you if you arrived in Australia illegally.

Who could get this visa

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
  • you meet other requirements, such as health, security and character.

What this visa lets you do

This visa lets you:

Adult SHEV holders will have access to the Adult Migrant English Programme. School-aged children will have access to primary and secondary schooling.

How to apply

Lodge your application

You will need to complete and lodge the SHEV application form 790—Application for a Safe Haven Enterprise visa.

For information on how to apply, application forms and process see: Protection Application Information Guides.

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

If you have already been granted a Temporary Protection visa (TPV)

If you have already been granted a TPV, but you want a SHEV, you will need to complete and lodge the SHEV application form 790Application 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.

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.

Visa decision

There are two possible outcomes of applications for protection visas:

A protection visa is granted

If all requirements for the grant of a protection visa are met, we will send a Visa Grant Notice and an Important Information leaflet:

  • The Visa Grant Notice explains visa conditions and provides a visa grant number. A Visa Grant Notice should be kept in a safe place for future reference.
  • The Important Information leaflet contains important information about services in the Australian community.

For more information, read PAIG: Grant of a Temporary Protection visa or Safe Haven Enterprise visa.

Read the information about the benefits, SHEV pathways requirements and conditions attached to your visa.

A protection visa is refused

If the requirements for a protection visa are not met, your application will be refused. We will send a letter explaining the reasons for this decision. The letter will outline if the applicant is eligible for merits review of this decision.

If a protection visa application was assessed under the Fast Track Assessment process, the applicant might be eligible for independent merits review of the decision.

If the decision to refuse a protection visa is upheld by an independent merits review, or if the applicant is not eligible for such review:

  • providing you are in immigration detention, you will be removed from Australia as soon as reasonably practicable.
  • providing you are living in the Australian community, you are expected to leave Australia. You might be able to get help to return voluntarily to your home country.

For more information, read PAIG: Refusal of a Temporary Protection visa or Safe Haven Enterprise visa application.

Conditions on a SHEV holder

You are not able to sponsor family members for a visa through the Australian Humanitarian or Family Migration Programmes while you hold a SHEV.

You must tell us if you change your residential address, within 28 days of moving. You can do this by filling out form 929Change of address and/or passport details.

Travel condition 8570

As a SHEV holder, you must ask for approval to travel outside Australia and then re-enter 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 depart Australia without written approval, your SHEV could be cancelled.

You must not, under any circumstances, travel to the country from which you, or the primary applicant on your SHEV application, were found to engage Australia’s protection obligations.

You can request written approval to travel by completing form 1454Request for approval to travel under condition 8570 (Restricted Travel) and sending an electronic copy of this form to travel.request@border.gov.au.

For more information see: Travel condition 8570

The SHEV pathway requirements

You will meet the SHEV pathway 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)
  • enrolled and physically attending full-time study in regional Australia
  • a combination of the above.

If you meet these requirements, you will be able to apply for other substantive onshore visas (but not a Permanent Protection visa).

You could also be eligible to apply for other substantive onshore visas if a member of your family unit that was included on your SHEV application meets the SHEV pathway requirements and that family member is included, or has included you, in any substantive onshore visa application.

Note: The list of areas participating in SHEV arrangements could change, so we recommend that you monitor our website for information about the postcodes that are part of regional Australia for the SHEV arrangements.

Employed in regional Australia

To meet the work criteria of the SHEV pathway requirements, you need to do work that is:

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

Employment

To help find employment, you have access to jobactive, a network of organisations funded by the Australian Government to provide employment services to job seekers and employers. This assistance includes:

  • help with looking for work
  • help with writing a resume
  • help with preparing for interviews
  • referrals to jobs in your local area.

When you get a job, you will be asked for a tax file number. This is a personal reference number used in Australia's taxation and superannuation systems. You can get information about applying for a tax file number from the Australian Taxation Office.

Workplace rights

SHEV holders have the same workplace rights as Australian workers, including the right to minimum wages and other workplace conditions. In Australia, all employees have protected rights at work, such as being free from discrimination, harassment and bullying. The Fair Work Ombudsman provides information about employee entitlements and your rights and responsibilities at work. To get more information, or if you have any concerns about your rights at work, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman for information in both English and other languages, or call 13 13 94. You can use the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) by calling 13 14 50.

You can also check that your pay, leave and conditions are appropriate by using the Pay and conditions tool (PACT).

Studying in regional Australia

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.

When attending AMEP, if you would like to count this study towards the SHEV pathway, check with your service provider and make sure the course you are attending is a nationally recognized Certificate I, or above course.  

SHEV holders are able to participate in apprenticeship schemes in some states and territories. Access to apprenticeships for SHEV holders is subject eligibility requirements in each state and territory. Contact the relevant state or territory training authority to find out if they are eligible.

Education

You are not restricted from studying. School-aged children are able to attend and complete primary and secondary schooling. However, you are not eligible for Commonwealth funding for post-secondary study. If you want to study at a university or TAFE, you will be charged international student rates.

Adult SHEV holders have access to 510 hours of the Adult Migrant English Programme (AMEP).

Financial assistance

As a temporary visa holder, you are not eligible for social security benefits for students (such as Austudy or Youth Allowance). Eligibility for these sorts of benefits is determined by Centrelink.

Combining work and study in regional Australia

You can meet the SHEV pathway requirements from a combination of working (without receiving Special Benefit payments) and studying, as long as they add up to at least three and a half years (42 months) of work and/or study.

Social security benefits

The Department of Human Services delivers a range of social and health-related payments and services.

The benefits that you can receive while working and still have that work count towards 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.

The benefit that you cannot receive while working and still have that work count towards the SHEV pathway requirements is the Special Benefit payment (including any Special Benefit ancillary payments).

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

For more information about Special Benefit payments in a range of languages see Special Benefit for Temporary Protection Visa and Safe Haven Enterprise Visa holders factsheet available at Department of Human Services website.

Meeting the SHEV pathway requirements

You should keep evidence of your work and/or study, so that you can provide it to us when you think that you have met the SHEV pathway requirements. You can give us this evidence as soon as you think you meet the SHEV pathway requirements; you do not need to wait until your SHEV expires. More information on where and how you lodge your evidence of satisfying the SHEV pathway requirements will be available on this webpage in due course.

Evidence

Evidence that you could provide to prove that you meet the SHEV pathway requirements on the basis of studying could include, but is not limited to:

  • electronic Confirmation of Enrolment (eCOE), which details the type of course, the course provider, the duration of the course and the type of qualification offered
  • proof of meeting course requirements, including attendance certificates or records
  • evidence of satisfactory course completion (certificates, diploma attained or degrees awarded) or any other requirements for that course, including apprenticeship and work placement
  • academic transcripts.

Evidence that you could provide to prove that you meet the SHEV pathway requirements on the basis of working could include, but is not limited to:

  • payslips
  • letters of employment
  • contracts
  • Australian bank statement covering period of work.

You should keep this evidence in a safe place so that you can give it to us to prove you meet the SHEV pathway requirements. You will need to contact your employer to make sure they give you the evidence you need.

You can record details of your employment and/or study in SHEV regional areas using form 1465 SHEV Employment and study record. This form provides a document for you to keep a record of your work and/or study in a SHEV regional area.

More information on where and how you lodge your evidence of meeting the SHEV pathway requirements will be available on this page in due course.

To determine whether you meet the pathway requirements to apply for other substantive onshore visas, we might disclose your personal information to the Department of Human Services, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Education and Training, and other government agencies and third parties where required.

If you have not met the SHEV pathway requirements

If you have not met the SHEV pathway requirements by the time your SHEV is due to expire, you can only apply for another SHEV or a Temporary Protection visa (TPV). To be granted another SHEV or TPV, you will need to meet the criteria for the visa, including being found to engage Australia's protection obligations.

Although a SHEV usually lasts for five years, if you have already made a valid application for another SHEV or a TPV before your visa’s expiry date, your current SHEV will remain valid until we make a decision on your new application. If you do not apply for another visa before your SHEV expires, you will become unlawful in Australia and risk being taken into immigration detention.

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

Applying for substantive onshore visas

You will not be able to make a valid application for a substantive onshore visa, except another SHEV or a TPV, until you meet the SHEV pathway requirements. More information on where and how you can lodge your evidence of satisfying the SHEV pathway requirements will be available on this webpage in due course.

You will not be automatically granted a substantive onshore visa if you meet the SHEV pathway requirements. You will need to apply for and meet the eligibility criteria for your chosen visa. You should do this before your SHEV expires. If you do not, you will become unlawful in Australia and risk being taken into immigration detention.

You should check that you meet the criteria for any substantive onshore visa you want to apply for and that the visa suits your circumstances. It is your responsibility to know the criteria of the visa that you want to apply for. Each visa has different criteria that you must meet to be granted that visa.

Any application for a substantive onshore visa other than a SHEV or TPV must include a person who has met the SHEV pathway requirements, but that person does not need to be the primary applicant.

Other family members who were on your SHEV do not have to be on the substantive onshore visa application; however, all applicants who want to be considered for the visa will need to be on the application. Family members not included on the substantive onshore visa application can stay on a SHEV and apply for further SHEVs or a TPV.

Some visas have different definitions of who is a member of a family unit. You should check who is considered a member of the family unit for the visa you want before you lodge an application.

When you apply for a substantive onshore visa, you will need to meet health, security, character and identity requirements for that visa. This may mean submitting new information and completing some assessments again.

If you apply for a substantive onshore visa 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.

The list of substantive onshore visas you can apply for once you meet the SHEV pathway requirements is below:

Skilled visas

For more information on applying for skilled visas, see SkillSelect.

Employer-sponsored visas

Student visas

Family visas

Other visas

You can use our Visa Finder to help you find detailed information about the criteria for any visa you are thinking of applying for. Remember that this list could change, so make sure the visa you want is on the list before you apply. Also remember that the criteria for visas can change over time, so you should check the criteria again when deciding which visa might be right for your circumstances.

You may want to seek help from a registered migration agent, but you will need to do so at your own cost. Information about registered migration agents can be found through the Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority.

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.