Regional towns a new hope for asylum seekers under new plan

ASYLUM seekers willing to settle in regional towns will have another option of securing a visa, after New South Wales became the first state to sign up to Australia's Safe Haven Enterprise Visa program.

Refugees can secure a five-year Safe Haven Enterprise visa if they intend to work or study in regional areas.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said the scheme would provide labour to rural regions of NSW and offer security to asylum seekers.

The safe haven visa is another option for refugees who are eligible for a temporary protection visa. Those who apply for a safe haven visa have to meet the same requirements as those seeking temporary protection, including being in need of Australia's protection and meeting character requirements.