Do I have to move to a regional area?
No. You only have to say that you intend to work or study in a regional area when you apply. You will not have your visa cancelled or be penalised if you do not move.
If you don’t end up working or studying in a regional area for 42 months (and meet the other ‘pathway requirements’, including living without social benefits), then you will not be able to apply for a permanent migration visa at the end of the five years. At the end of the five years, you can also apply again for another SHEV visa or a TPV visa.
Also, even to meet the ‘pathway requirements’, you don’t have to move. You only have to ‘work or study’ in the regional area. Depending on where you live, it may be possible for you to live in a city (for example, Melbourne) and take transport to a ‘regional area’ (for example, Geelong). As well, only one member of a family needs to ‘work or study’ in the regional area.
Can I count time in a SHEV regional area before that area became a SHEV area?
No. So, if you were studying (for example) in regional Victoria before 27 October 2016, that time doesn’t count.
What if the regional area I live in decides to leave the SHEV scheme?
If you start working or studying in a regional area which decides to leave, you can stay there and any work or study you do will still count towards the ‘pathway requirements’.