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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.

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 members) 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’.

For more information on the visas, see our guide to TPVs/SHEVS.