Post Series: Asylum
Share thisEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on RedditPrint this page

What is a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV)?

A Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) is one of two types of temporary protection visas available to those claiming asylum who come by boat. This is part of the Australian Government’s current policy that people who come by boat and claim asylum should not be given permanent protection.

The SHEV was introduced as part of a compromise with the Palmer United Party in December 2014, when the Australian Parliament passed laws introducing temporary protection visas. The visa gives protection for five years (compared to the three available under the other temporary protection visa or TPV). Its main feature is that people who hold it must intend to work or study in a part of ‘regional Australia’. ‘Regional Australia’ is defined by the law as including specific areas in Australia, but under the current policy the State or Territory Governments must agree to be included in the SHEV scheme first.

What are the requirements of the SHEV visa?

The main difference between a SHEV and other types of protection visas is that the person applying for this visa must intend to work or study in a regional area. The other main requirements are that a person is in need of protection and meets the health and character requirements. For more information, see the legal factsheets published by our members.

Another important difference between a SHEV and a TPV is that, at the end of the five years of the SHEV visa, the person holding the visa can apply for a permanent migration visa. This does not mean the person can apply for a permanent visa because they need protection. To get a permanent visa, you must also meet the requirements of the other visa you are applying for (for example, as the husband or wife of an Australian citizen).

To get a permanent visa, a person holding a SHEV (or one of their family membesr) also need to meet other conditions (called the ‘SHEV pathway requirements’). The main requirements are that, for 42 months (3 and a half years) of that period, you must have:

  • Worked in a ‘regional area’ without receiving social security assistance, or
  • Be enrolled in full time study in a designated regional area, or
  • Been involved in a combination of the above

Only one member of a family holding SHEV visas needs to meet these requirements. For example, if a person with a SHEV has a child under 18, they may attend a local school for 3 and a half years, and then the family are considered to have met the ‘pathway requirements’.

What is a ‘regional area’?

This is defined by law. From 27 October 2016, all States are now part of the SHEV Scheme. The Australian Capital Territory is also part of the SHEV scheme.

You can see which areas are part of the SHEV scheme on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s map or list of postcodes. They include:

  • all of the Australian Capital Territory – from 27 October 2016
  • all of regional NSW (excluding Sydney, Newcastle, Central Coast and Wollongong) – from 1 July 2015. Additionally, postcodes 2320, 2321, and 2415 commenced on 27 October 2016.
  • all of regional Queensland (excluding greater Brisbane and the Gold Coast) – from 27 October 2016
  • part of the Northern Territory – from 6 April 2017 but with effect from 27 October 2016
  • all of South Australia – from 27 October 2016
  • all of Tasmania – from 10 October 2015
  • many parts of Victoria – from 27 October 2016
  • most of Western Australia (excluding Perth and some areas in the Pilbara and Goldfields-Esperance regions) – from 27 October 2016

In Victoria, only local areas that have agreed to be part of the SHEV scheme (or ‘opted in’) are included, so there are a number of regional areas that are not included. However, these may be included later if the local area agrees to become part of a SHEV zone.

A printable list of postcodes participating in SHEV arrangements is available for download from the Regional-Australia webpage at .

Read more about Safe Haven Enterprise Visas