The Australian governments handling of refugees has always been an issue of scrutiny. Last week the New South Wales government added a new spin to the issue by approving a scheme that was introduced by the federal government in allowing refugees in New South Wales the possibility of gaining access to a five-year temporary visa if they move to a regional area. The Shev scheme is part of the ‘Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload Bill’ which is addressing the 32,000 asylum seekers who are waiting for final assessment, some of which are dating back to 2009.
The Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (Shev) scheme allows eligible applicants whom have been assessed as refugees the opportunity to receive a five-year visa dependent on their willingness to work or study outside of NSW’s major cities. The major cities are classed as Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong.
There have been concerns raised about the result of refugees receiving five-year visa under the Shev scheme including one from Amnesty International stating “It is is not clear to what extent holders of a Shev will be able to move within Australia. It is equally unclear at this stage whether any state, territory or local government area will nominate as a ‘designated region.'”
Other concerns include an apparent lack of forward planning with limited detail available about the opportunities for permanent residency under the scheme in addition to the Shev scheme causing unnecessary processing to the already stretched resources. There have also been comments made that the scheme itself is unnecessary due to the fact that many asylum seekers are already working in regional areas. “Under the current system there’s nothing to stop people going out in the regions and working.” Said campaign coordinator for the asylum seeker resources centre, Pamela Curr.
However, Premier of New South Wales, Mike Baird is determined to embrace the new opportunity for refugees and also the benefits on the states economy. “This is good news for regional NSW as it will help to provide labour in our regions while providing longer term security for these asylum seekers. As Australia’s economic powerhouse, New South Wales has an obligation to open its arms to those who are genuine refugees.”
The option for refugees to live in one of NSW’s major cities is still available under the onshore visa or the Temporary Protection Visa ( 3 years).
If you like any information on any visa application to Australia, please contact our qualified migration agents who will be able to assist your query.