The Safe Haven Enterprise visa (SHEV) pathway gives you options to apply for certain visas in Australia if for a total of 42 months (3-and-half years) while holding your SHEV, you:
- work without receiving certain social security benefits (Special Benefit payments), and/or
- study full time in a SHEV regional area, or
- are a member of the same family unit of somebody holding a SHEV who meets the above requirements
You will meet the Safe Haven Enterprise visa (SHEV) pathway requirements if, for a total of 3-and-a-half years (42 months) while on a SHEV, you have been:
- employed in a SHEV regional area and not received certain social security benefits (Special Benefit payments), unless COVID-19 concessions apply, or
- enrolled and physically attending full-time study in a SHEV regional area (unless COVID-19 concessions apply), or
- a combination of the above
If you meet these requirements, you may be able to apply for visas in Australia, including permanent visas (but not a permanent Protection visa 866).
You may also be able to apply for one of these visas if a member of your family unit, who is also a SHEV holder, meets the pathway requirements and you apply for one of these visas together.
SHEV regional Australia
See the list of postcodes included in the SHEV regional area.
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 SHEV regional Australia.
It is your responsibility as a SHEV holder to find employment or full time study in a SHEV regional area if you want to meet the SHEV pathway requirements. This is subject to the COVID-19 concessions.
Work and full time study undertaken by SHEV holders in a SHEV regional area before and after that area commenced SHEV arrangements will count towards meeting the SHEV pathway requirements.
If you begin working or studying in a SHEV regional area, but the state or territory later removes that postcode from SHEV arrangements, you can continue to work and study there. Any work or study you complete in the area will still count towards you meeting the SHEV pathway requirements.
State and territory government information
See more information about services, support and opportunities for SHEV holders in regional Australia available in the following states and territories:
- New South Wales
- Western Australia
Meeting the SHEV pathway work requirement
The primary intention of the SHEV is to support growth in regional Australia.
To meet the work criteria of the SHEV pathway requirements, you need to do work that is:
- in a SHEV regional area (unless COVID-19 concessions apply), and
- full-time, part-time, temporary, casual or seasonal (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.
You can work in full-time, part-time, temporary, contract, casual or seasonal jobs. As long as you do not receive Special Benefit payments (unless COVID-19 concessions apply) during your periods of part-time, casual or seasonal employment, those periods will count towards meeting the work requirement.
To meet the work requirement, you must earn sufficient income from your regional employment so that you do not need income support through social security benefits (Special Benefit payments), unless COVID-19 concessions apply.
Help finding employment
To help you 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 need to provide 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.
It is your responsibility as a Safe Haven Enterprise visa holder to find employment in a SHEV regional area if you want to meet the work requirement.
Evidence of work
Evidence that you meet the work requirement includes, but is not limited to:
- letters of employment
- Australian bank statement covering period of work
Self-employed SHEV holders
Self-employed SHEV holders are considered to be engaged in employment in the following scenarios:
- as the owner of a retail business that sells goods
- as the owner of a retail business that sells a service or
- as a self-employed trades person who provides a service
The types of evidence of self-employment include:
- Pay stubs
- Self-employment ledger documentation
- Bookkeeping records, including receipts for allowable expenses
- Bank statements (personal & business)
- Signed time sheets and receipt of payroll, if you have employees
- Profit and loss statements
- Invoices, credit card and check copies
Your periods of self-employment can count towards meeting the work requirement only if you worked in a SHEV regional area and you did not receive any Special Benefit payments during those periods of employment (unless COVID-19 concessions apply).
Do not provide any evidence of work that includes a Tax File Number (TFN).
If you wish to provide a copy of your tax returns or any other document including a TFN you will need to remove any reference to your Tax File Number from the document.
Social security benefits
Services Australia delivers a range of social and health-related payments and services.
Special Benefit payments
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 Services Australia website.
Benefits that you can receive and meet the SHEV pathway
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
Meeting the SHEV pathway study requirement
To meet the study criteria of the SHEV pathway requirements, you need to physically attend study that is either:
- at the campus of an education provider located in a SHEV regional area and accredited by the Australian Qualifications Framework, including a maximum of one course leading to a Certificate I and one or more courses leading to a Certificate II or above.
- The study must involve physical attendance at the education provider in a SHEV regional area.
- Periods of online study are permitted (for example, during COVID-19) but the study may not be conducted wholly online or otherwise on an external study basis.
- at a primary school, high school or college in a SHEV regional area for a minimum of 161 weeks
- Must be (consistent with three and a half standard academic years) of full-time registered study.
- Online study is permitted as long as your physical location is in a SHEV regional area.
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 recognised Certificate I, or above course. If you are enrolled in more than 1 course leading up to nationally recognised AQF, only one course may be considered as full-time study.
If your educational institution which is accredited by the Australian Qualification Framework does not determine full-time study, your study must involve at least 20 contact hours a week.
Safe Haven Enterprise visa holders are able to participate in apprenticeship schemes in some states and territories. Access to apprenticeships for Safe Haven Enterprise visa holders is subject eligibility requirements in each state and territory. Contact the relevant state or territory training authority to find out if you are eligible.
Adult Safe Haven Enterprise visa holders have access to 510 hours of the Adult Migrant English Programme (AMEP). AMEP is delivered by service providers at sites in every state and territory of Australia. They will assess your level of English and eligibility for the program. We have translated information about AMEP available in other languages.
Evidence of study
Evidence that you meet the study requirement includes, 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
Financial assistance while studying
As a SHEV holder, you are not restricted from studying in Australia.
School-aged children are able to attend and complete primary and secondary schooling.
SHEV holders are not eligible for Commonwealth funding for post-secondary study. If you want to study at a university or TAFE, you will have to pay international student rates.
Any full-time study that you undertake (that meets the study criteria) in a SHEV regional area while receiving financial assistance, for example a scholarship (if eligible) will count towards meeting the SHEV pathway requirements.
Full-time students would not normally qualify for Special Benefit payments.
Information on benefits available to temporary visa holders studying in Australia is available at Centrelink.
Keeping a record of your work and study in a SHEV regional area
You can record details of your work and study history in SHEV regional areas using Form 1465 SHEV Employment and study record (300KB PDF). This form provides a document for you to keep a record of your work and study activities in a SHEV regional area.
You should keep evidence of your work and study in a safe place over the years, so that you can provide it to us when you think that you have met the SHEV pathway requirements.
You may need to contact your employer or educational institution to make sure they give you the evidence you need.
To determine whether you meet the pathway requirements we might disclose your personal information to Services Australia, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Education and Training, and other government agencies and third parties where required.
Applying for other visas in Australia
Generally you can live in a different area to where you study or work, although in most cases people work or study in the sae area where they live. The requirement to meet the pathway is not that you ‘live’ in that area, but that you work or study there. However, for school students (primary school, secondary high school or a similiar education institute that is authorised to issue a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education), your physical location must be in a SHEV regional area.
We will not automatically grant you one of these visas if you meet the SHEV pathway requirements. You will need to apply for and meet the requirements for your chosen visa.
You will have to apply for any of these visas while you are in Australia.
You must include a person who has met the SHEV pathway requirements in your visa application but that person does not need to be the primary applicant on that application.
You may include your family members granted a SHEV on the application for one of these visas in Australia.
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 to apply for before you submit an application.
Family members not included on your application for one of these visas can stay on a Safe Haven Enterprise visa. They can apply for a subsequent SHEV or a TPV if they have protection claims on their own and still need Australia’s protection.
You should check that you meet the criteria for any other type of 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 requirements that you must meet to apply for and for the grant of that visa.
You will need to meet the health, security and character requirements for the grant of any of the visas listed under the SHEV pathway. This may mean submitting new information and completing some assessments again.
If your SHEV is to expire and you have not met the pathway
If your SHEV is about to expire and you still need Australia’s protection and want to remain lawfully in Australia while you explore your visa options, you must re-apply for a SHEV before your current SHEV expires.
If you apply for and we grant you another SHEV, any periods that meet SHEV pathway requirements during both visas will count towards the total 42 month SHEV pathway requirement.
If you apply for another type of visa and your SHEV expires before we decide your application, you may be eligible for a bridging visa while your application is being processed if you have met the SHEV pathway requirements.
List of visas under the SHEV pathway
The list of types of visas you can apply for in Australia once you meet the SHEV pathway requirements is below:
- Subclass 189 (Skilled—Independent)
- Subclass 190 (Skilled—Nominated)
- Subclass 476 (Skilled—Recognised Graduate)
- Subclass 407 (Training)
- Subclass 491 (Skilled Work Regional (Provisional)).
For more information on applying for skilled visas, see SkillSelect.
- Subclass 186 (Employer Nomination Scheme)
- Subclass 482 (Temporary Skill Shortage visa)
- Subclass 494 (Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional)).
- Subclass 143 (Contributory Parent)
- Subclass 445 (Dependent Child)
- Subclass 801 (Partner)
- Subclass 802 (Child)
- Subclass 804 (Aged Parent)
- Subclass 820 (Partner)
- Subclass 835 (Remaining Relative)
- Subclass 836 (Carer)
- Subclass 837 (Orphan Relative)
- Subclass 838 (Aged Dependent Relative)
- Subclass 858 (Distinguished Talent)
- Subclass 864 (Contributory Aged Parent)
- Subclass 884 (Contributory Aged Parent (Temporary)).
- Subclass 132 (Business Talent)
- Subclass 188 (Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional))
- Subclass 010 (Bridging A)
- Subclass 030 (Bridging C)
Added to the list of visas from 16 November 2019 are the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (subclass 491) visa and the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (subclass 494) visa. These visas replace the Skilled Regional (Provisional) (subclass 489) visa and the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) visa which are no longer open to new applicants from 16 November 2019.
If you have not met the SHEV pathway requirements
If you have not met the SHEV pathway requirements by the time your Safe Haven Enterprise visa is due to expire, you can apply for another SHEV or a TPV.
See information for SHEV holders on how to apply for a subsequent SHEV or TPV.
A Safe Haven Enterprise visa is in effect for 5 years, but if you make a valid application for another SHEV or a TPV before your current visa expires, your SHEV will remain in effect until we make a decision on your new application.
If you do not live, work or study in a SHEV regional area
Generally you can live in a different area to where you study or work, although in most cases people work or study in the same area where they live. The requirement to meet the pathway is not that you ‘live’ in that area, but that you work or study there. However, for school students (primary school, secondary high school or a similar education institute that is authorised to issue a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education), your physical location must be in a SHEV regional area.
Working or studying in a SHEV regional area is not a visa condition of the SHEV.
If you do not work or study in a SHEV regional area, this will not be a breach of your visa conditions and will not lead to your SHEV being cancelled.
There are no penalties if a SHEV holder does not live, work or study in a SHEV regional area.
You may only be able to apply for another SHEV or a TPV if you still need Australia’s protection, before your current SHEV expires.