Temporary Protection Visas: What's the Difference Between a TPV and a SHEV?

If you entered the country illegally, then you won't be able to apply for a permanent protection visa at this stage even if you meet relevant asylum criteria. However, you may be eligible for a temporary protection visa.

You have two options here: a standard Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) or a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV). While both these visas give you certain rights to work or study as well as access to some benefits, they aren't exactly the same.

What's the difference between the two and which one should you apply for?

What Is a TPV?

A TPV gives you the right to stay in the country for 3 years at a time. You can work or study during this time; you also qualify for Medicare and Centrelink Social Security benefits.

At the end of your visa term, you may be eligible to apply for another TPV. Or, if you prefer, you can apply for a SHEV instead.

This extends your stay in the country by the relevant number of years if your application is accepted. However, you don't have the right to apply for a permanent visa at this time.

What Is a SHEV?

A SHEV gives you the same basic rights as a TPV. However, this temporary visa allows you to stay in the country for 5 years at a time.

This visa is for people who are willing to work or study in certain locations, known as regional areas. Typically, these are parts of Australia outside of major cities; however, each state sets its own location conditions for this.

You don't need to live in a designated area but to meet future visa requirements, you have to spend a certain amount of time working or studying in a qualifying place. Again, you can apply to renew a SHEV visa or switch to TPV status towards the end of your visa term.

A SHEV also gives you a way to apply for different types of visas, including some permanent ones. However, to qualify for this, you have to meet conditions. As well as meeting work/study requirements, you usually can't claim Social Security benefits if you want to apply for permanent status in the future. If you do, you may not be eligible.

Choosing the right temporary protection visa isn't always easy. To find out more about both types and to get advice on which one to choose, contact a professional who works with protection visas