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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, the person holding the visa can apply for a permanent migration visa. This is not automatic and does not mean the person can apply for a permanent visa because they need protection. To get a permanent visa, people must also meet the requirements of the other permanent visa they are applying for (for example, as the husband or wife of an Australian citizen).