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New TPV measures to commence on 27 August 2004.

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New TPV Measures to Commence on 27 August 2004

VPS 122/2004

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, today announced details of new measures to benefit Temporary Protection Visa (TPV) and Temporary Humanitarian Visa (THV) holders.

'I announced last month changes that would open up more choice for TPV/THV holders, including access to mainstream migration visas,' the Minister said.

'Today, I am releasing details of regulations which have been made and will be gazetted this week, to make these options available.

'The new arrangements will commence from this Friday, 27th August 2004.'

The Minister stressed that the new arrangements in no way altered the Government's commitment to those found to be in need of further refugee protection.

'TPV/THV holders found to be owed further protection will continue to receive it. They are already part of Australia's generous Refugee and Humanitarian Program, which will provide places for 13,000 people in 2003-04 and will cost about $2 billion over four years,' the Minister said.

'For those who are found not to be in need of further protection, a new Return Pending Visa (RPV) will be provided, giving them 18 months to make arrangements to return to their homeland.

'However, from this Friday, current and former TPV/THV holders in Australia will have the opportunity to apply for mainstream visas and be able to apply concurrently with protection visa applications or while they hold an RPV.

'I indicated last month that those TPV/THV holders who had settled well into regional areas of Australia would be the major beneficiaries of opening up access to mainstream visas.

'Today I can confirm that the skill requirements for the Regional Skilled Migration Scheme for TPV/THV holders have been amended to allow applicants who have been employed in a regional area for at least 12 months to qualify.

'This will particularly assist those TPV/THV holders working in lower-skilled positions. Previously to qualify the position required a diploma and the applicant required an Australian diploma or equivalent.

'Importantly, DIMIA will take into account work with more than one employer, increasing opportunities for those engaged in seasonal work to qualify under the Scheme.

'Greater flexibility has also been added to allow those with less than functional English and those aged over 45 years to qualify.

'Applicants who do not secure a further protection visa and are given the 18-month RPV, will have the option of seeking work in regional areas to secure a visa under the Regional Skilled Migration Scheme.