NSW set to introduce special 5-year SHEV work visa
Australia’s most populated state has become the first one to sign up ‘in-principle’ to the Safe Haven Enterprise Scheme (SHEV) which will give asylum seekers an alternative to the Temporary Protection Visa, with a five-year option to live and work in regional NSW, according to a media statement by NSW Premier Mike Bard.
Currently there are an estimated 32,000 asylum seekers in Australia eligible for refugee assessment and waiting for final determination, most of whom are living in communities on bridging visa. About a quarter of that number live in NSW, mostly in Sydney’s west and south-west.
Under the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) scheme announced by the Premier, eligible asylum seekers will be able to apply to reside in NSW — excluding Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong — for five years, on the condition that they live and work in a country area.
“This is good news for regional NSW as it will help provide labour in our regions while providing longer term security for these asylum seekers,” Baird said.
While there is no promise of permanent residency, asylum seekers will be able to apply for onshore visas granted they stay off welfare for a minimum of three-and-a-half years. Those choosing to live in the city will give up to right to apply for an onshore visa and apply for a three-year Temporary Protection Visa instead.
NSW’s introduction of the SHEV scheme is pending final agreement with the federal government, and a memorandum of understanding is being negotiated that will cover the cost of support services for visa holders, Guardian Australia was told.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection website does not provide details on how to apply for a SHEV, indicating only that information will be made available. It does not include family reunion or re-entry to Australia provisions.
For additional information on the Temproary Protection Visas (TPV) and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas (SHEV) follow this link: TPV-and-SHEV-briefing.pdf (http://migrationalliance.com.au/images/easyblog_images/5725/TPV-and-SHEV-briefing.pdf)
Source: Migration Alliance
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