… This has caused particular concern and great uncertainty for those with imminent visa expiry dates who fear becoming unlawful due to limited availability of options to leave Australia.
The Effect of a Bridging Visa
It is in these circumstances where the bridging visa will take effect and prevent applicants from assuming unlawful status. Upon application for a substrative visa, applicants will automatically receive a bridging visa which enables you to remain in the country until your substantive visa application is processed. Essentially, a bridging visa is a temporary transitional visa which allows those who have made an application in Australia for a substrative visa to remain in the country even after the expiry of their current visa. An important condition to consider is that a bridging visa will only be issued to substantive visa applicants currently holding a substantive visa. Bridging visas will only take effect once your substantive visa expires meaning it will essentially serve as a ‘reserve’ visa and provide applicants with a valid visa and lawful status in Australia
The Particulars of a Bridging Visa
The primary purpose of a bridging visa is to facilitate for an applicant’s stay in Australia for the period between their previous visa and pending application. The length of this period will depend on the visa applied for, the processing times for which are available on the Department of Home Affairs website. The conditions attached to a bridging visa will further depend on the visa from which applicants apply. It is highly advised that you contact a registered migration agent to confirm your rights and obligations to ensure you remain in full compliance with all associated visa conditions and not subject yourself to potential cancellation.
Example #1 – Visitor (subclass 600) Visa
You currently hold a Visitor (subclass 600) visa expiring on 1 June 2020, and you make an application for a new subclass 600 visa on 28 May 2020 onshore in Australia. The processing time for a visitor visa is approximately 30 days meaning the time of decision for your new visa application will occur after the expiry of your current visa. Upon application of the new subclass 600 visa, you will automatically receive a bridging visa grant letter, advising that you have been issued a bridging visa A which will take effect upon the expiry of your current visitor visa. This means that on 1 June 2020, you will automatically switch to a bridging visa A which allows you to remain lawfully in Australia until your new subclass 600 visa application is processed.
Example #2 – eVisitor (subclass 651)
Another common example is that you hold a multiple entry visa, such as the subclass 651 eVisitor, which requires that you depart Australia every 90 days upon arrival and is valid for a total period of one year. If an application were made for a new subclass 600 visa in order to extend your stay in Australia and remain onshore without the need to depart after 90 days, this new visa would replace your current eVisitor visa including its one year period of validity. Instead, you would be required to depart Australia upon the expiry of your new subclass 600 visa as the eVisitor visa would completely cease to exist. You would again receive a bridging visa to provide for the period between the expiry of the eVisitor and the new subclass 600 visa as the new application would replace the 90 day requirement of your previous visa and allow you to remain lawfully in Australia.
Example #3 – Your substantive visa has expired
If you are not currently holding a substantive visa and you have made an application for a substantive visa in Australia which has not been finally determined, then you may eligible for the grant of a bridging visa C. The bridging visa C will allow you to remain lawfully in Australia after the expiry of your current substantive visa until your new substantive visa application is processed. This subclass of bridging visa must be applied for in the same way as the new substantive visa, meaning it will require either an online or paper-based application. If you are applying for judicial review, then you must apply for the bridging visa C on paper. If a valid application is made in Australia for a substantive visa and the applicant does not currently hold a substantive visa, then the applicant will be deemed to have automatically made an application for a bridging visa C at the same time, however, legal advice should first be obtained from a migration agent for confirmation.
Understanding the effects of a bridging visa and its applicability to specific situations is particularly important during the current pandemic. Many temporary visa holders approaching expiry and wishing to extend their stay in Australia will encounter this particular visa type which may provide some much needed peace of mind for those concerned with becoming unlawful.
If you are currently in Australia on a substantive temporary visa which is soon to expire, please contact No Borders Migration and speak with one of our experienced migration agents to assist you in extending your stay in Australia.
Call 1300 066 267 to book a free consultation with No Borders Migration Agents