For a person to live legally in Australia when an application for a long term visa is awaiting approval, a temporary visa known as a ‘bridging visa’ is issued. These visas are issued to various categories of people, which include asylum seekers who enter Australia as refugees requiring protection. Once the official formalities are completed like medical checkups, security and identity verification, some asylum seekers get a bridging visa which gives them a legal status until a decision is taken regarding their future in Australia.
According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, people are affected adversely both mentally and physically on being indefinitely detained at immigration detention facilities, which is why it is in favor of bridging visas. According to international human rights laws, it is mandatory for a country to ensure that other arrangements are taken before detaining such people at immigration facilities. A person should only be detained in such a facility if they pose a threat to the Australian community. Otherwise, they should be allowed to live in the Australian community until their papers are processed.
There are several advantages of bridging visas. With reduced chances of deterioration of physical and mental health of asylum seekers, there will be less need for compensation due to wrongful detention. Also, the immigration process gets streamlined; later on, it is easier to induct such individuals into Australian society as they will have some idea what to expect and what is expected of them as well.
Conditions for Bridging Visas
- Asylum seekers are required to report to the immigration department on a regular basis
- They have to inform the immigration department if they change their address
- Bridging visas generally prohibit a person from taking up employment during this interim period
- Asylum seekers are not allowed to have a reunion with their family members
- If they leave the country they will not be allowed to re-enter again
- These people are not eligible for social security payments and cannot avail of public housing
Support Offered for Asylum Seekers
Although asylum seekers are not eligible for social security, they might be financially assisted for living expenses but this assistance, if given, is for a maximum period of 6 weeks only. Due to restricted financial assistance for asylum seekers and the ban on employment, they are likely to experience extreme poverty and homelessness. It is here that voluntary community organizations step in to help such individuals.
There is however a government scheme called the Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme (ASAS) which offers financial assistance to those individuals who have spent up to six months in Australia awaiting a decision regarding their visa.
Another program is the Community Assistance Support (CAS) program which ensures that the basic healthcare and welfare requirements of the asylum seeker are met. In some cases, the Red Cross also lends a helping hand.
Australian bridging visas are temporary, that will be enabling lawfully to stay a non-citizen in Australia and also does not require holding any type of substantive visa. This is short term visas and does not have any fixed expiry date but will not allow to outside Australia.
Australian bridging visa will be valid for 28 days after any specific decision is taken on main visa application. Usually this visa holder has work rights but it will be ceased within 28 days in case of refusal. So it is the responsibility of the employers to check the immigration status of those employers who are bridging visa holders, just to ensure they continue to have work rights.
Australia do not offer full working rights to bridging visa holders so employers need to check the conditions of work rights on bridging visas. These bridging visas are classified into following types:
Though there are 9 types of bridging visas in Australia, only the above five types are the most commonly encountered ones.
040 - 041 - Bridging Visa D – BVD
The Australian Bridging Visa D, also called BVD, is a temporary resident visa. In case if the substantive valid visa has come to an end, BVD will allows a visa holder to reside in Australia without breaking the law, though for a short span of time, until another substantive visa application is made or necessary arrangements are made for leaving Australia or the person has been granted another Bridging visa – BVE. It will not allow the person to re-enter or work in Australia if you leave once.
The Bridging Visa D allows a visa holder to continue his stay in the country for some time. It is very specific – till the time the same person has lodged another substantive visa application or he is leaving Australia and making arrangements, or he has been granted BVE.
The BVD is needed to lengthen the time span of stay in Australia when the substantive visa has already expired. Until a person gets another visa, he can stay in the country legally and lawfully. However, if he leaves Australia for any reason, he will not be allowed to re-enter.
Living in Australia without any valid visa is unlawful and legal action may be taken against illegal residents.
BVD application can be lodged by anyone who wants to extend their stay in Australia. People who have made an invalid visa application for their substantive visa can also apply for BVD.
The application form should be lodged with all the necessary documents and sent to the processing centre.
When this application is lodged, one should be present in Australia.
After receiving the application, it takes a few days to process the application and the centre will intimate the applicant via letter or email. In either case, visa granted or not, it will be reported. If visa has not been granted, the reason of refusal will also be mentioned.
BVD is a temporary visa meant for short stay. With this visa one can stay lawfully in the country, but only for a specified period of time. It will not allow for work or re-entering Australia once you leave. For working professionals, the visa is liable to be cancelled.
Bridging Visa D will come to an end under certain circumstances like:
- 5 working days have passed since the visa was granted
- 5 working days passed since the end of substantive visa
- if the BVE is granted within those 5 days
A person is eligible for BVD if he is living in Australia but doesn’t hold any visa.
If a person has tried but failed to apply for a substantive visa but he wants to do the same within the next 5 working days, he can apply for this.
If one is unable or doesn’t want a substantive visa and there is no authorized officer present to take the interview, they can get it.
If any Sub-classes Available?
There are 2 sub-classes of BVD:
- Bridging Visa (Prospective Applicant) Subclass 040
- Bridging Visa (Non-applicant) Subclass 041
051 - Bridging Visa - BE
The Australian Bridging Visa is basically a temporary residential permission visa, which allows the visa holder to reside in the country while finalizing the immigration status or making necessary arrangements to leave the country, Australia.
The purpose of 051 - Bridging Visa – BE is to provide a lawful status to non-citizens in Australia. It is intended to make temporary stay much easier for residents who do not have a valid visa but are processing it or planning to leave Australia. It is also meant for unlawful citizens that don’t wish to or haven’t been able to apply for the necessary visa.
051 - Bridging Visa – BE allows you to live in Australia lawfully when you are also making arrangements to either final your Australian immigration matter or just waiting to leave, or you are waiting to the immigration decision to come your way.
How Does this Visa Help?
051 - Bridging Visa – BE is needed to live in Australia in case if your visa has expired and you are still awaiting your immigration decision. However, it will not allow you to come back or re-enter Australia once you’ve left.
Staying in Australia without a substantive visa can lead to a lot of complications. You become an unlawful resident or non-citizen of the country. As a result, you may be at a risk of being detained or removed from the country; you may not be granted a second visa in the next 3 years after leaving Australia; you may even have incurred a debt to the Government of Australia for your removal cost.
In most of the cases, if you’ve already lodged an application for a category of substantive Australian visa, you will have to apply for a BE too. The application form should be lodged with all the necessary documents and sent to the processing centre on time. Choice of processing centre depends on the applicant.
After receiving the application, it may take some time to process the application and get back to the applicant.
In case if it is positive and visa has been granted, applicant will receive an email or letter with a specific visa grant serial number and other conditions.
In case if there is any problem and the visa hasn’t been granted, an email or letter will be sent stating:
- the reason for refusal
- your rights to review
- the time specific for lodging review
051 - Bridging Visa – BE is a temporary visa. It will allow you to reside in Australia until a date specified in the application, or a particular time frame, or until some specified incident takes place. In any case, your visa expires if you leave the country, you have been granted another substantive visa, or your Bridging visa has been cancelled.
You are eligible to get the Bridging Visa E if you are already staying in Australia and the substantive visa has come to an end.
Other case are when you have
- waived the immigration clearance
- faced immigration detention
- already applied for your protective visa
- met all specific requirements with respect to age, nomination or health
If any Sub-class available?
There are 2 sub-classed of BVE:
- Bridging Visa (General) Sub-class 050
- Bridging Visa (Protection Visa Applicant) Sub-class 051
020 - Bridging Visa B - BVB
The Bridging Visa B, or BVB, is a temporary visa. Visa holders can leave as well as return to Australia while their substantive visa application is in process. However, one has to return to the country within a specified period of time. It is possible to hold a BVB and a substantive together at the same time.
The Bridging Visa B is a short-term, temporary visa. It allows visa holders to leave Australia and return while the application for new substantive visa is processing. If the visa holder comes back to Australia within a short span of time, as specified, he can stay lawfully in the country while the new substantive visa application is processing.
If the applicant already holds a proper substantive visa which allows the person to travel to Australia, knowing that he can come back to the country before the substantive visa expires. However, the applicant has to decide whether he would like to apply for BVB or not.
With a BVB, the visa holder is allowed to leave and get back to Australia within a specific time frame when the application for substantive visa is processing. When the travel period is decided, reasons for leaving the country will be considered and that will reflect on the decision for substantive visa application.
Once BVB is granted, there cannot be any changes to the specified period of travel; it can neither be extended nor changed.
If a person already holds a substantive visa while BVB is granted, he would have to comply with all the conditions mentioned for substantive visa. When the substantive visa ends, all conditions of the BVB will be applicable.
BVB is needed to extend stay in Australia in case if the substantive visa has expired before a new substantive visa is granted. If a visa holder doesn’t have an Australian visa while he is already in the country, he becomes an illegal non-citizen and may face consequences.
An applicant has to fill up the BVB application form and send it to the processing centre. All the required documents should be attached to the application form and sent to the processing office.
BVB applicant can be sent before 3 months, or not less than 2 weeks, prior to your travel date.
There are some visas that will be granted only when a person is staying in Australia. If a person waits for the last minute to send your application for BVB, he may not be granted a visa.
BVB comes into its effect immediately after being granted and as soon as the substantive visa expires.
However, a BVB may come to an end in case if:
- substantive visa is granted
- another Bridging (BVB or BVA) is granted in connection to the same visa application for substantive visa
- BVB or substantive visa has been cancelled
- the applicant is not in the country when BVB specified travel time ends
- the applicant left Australia when the BVB travel period ended
An applicant may be able to obtain this visa if:
- he lives in Australia
- he already has a BVB or BVA
- he has applied for new substantive visa that will be granted to when he is in Australia
If any Subclasses Available?
Yes, Bridging Visa B- BVB- subclass 020.
030 - Bridging Visa C - BVC
The Bridging Visa C, also called BVC, is a temporary resident visa provided by the Australian Government. It will allow you to live in Australia while the application for your substantive visa is still under processing. A 030 Bridging Visa C is granted only if you have presented an application in the country for your substantive visa but you don’t have one substantive visa right now. However, even if you have 030 BVC, you will not be allowed to re-enter the country once you left.
The 030- Bridging Visa C allows visa holders to reside in Australia while their application for a fresh substantive visa is under processing.
It allows visa holders to stay lawfully in the country, Australia, when their substantive visa application is in process. A substantive visa is a type of visa that is not similar to criminal justice visa, enforcement visa or bridging visa.
If you hold a BVC, you will be allowed to stay in Australia until a final decision is taken on the substantive visa you’ve applied for. You have to comply with all the conditions on the BVC when it comes in effect.
A bridging visa is needed to live in Australia if the substantive visa comes to an end before being granted a new substantive visa. If you have been living in Australia but you do not have a valid visa, you are considered an unlawful intruder or non-citizen of the country.
When you apply for a substantive Australian visa, you have to automatically apply for your associated Bridging Visa C. In such a case, you need not apply separately; you can check the forms available.
You have to fill out the application form with all documents required and send it to the Australian processing office. Anyone who is applying for the BVC should be present in Australia when this application is lodged and visa has been granted.
Once you have applied, you will be notified formally about the decision. If everything is fine, you will be granted a visa.
If a visa is granted, an email or letter will be sent to you stating when you can get and use your visa, the grant number for your visa, and other conditions attached.
If visa has not been granted, an email or letter will be sent stating the reason for refusal, your rights to review and time to lodge an appeal.
Normally, a BVC is effective as soon as granted. BVC ends immediately in case of:
- visa holder leaving Australia
- substantive visa has been grated
- some other bridging visa has been granted
- BVC is cancelled
BVC may also come to an end within 28 days of the following:
- a written request is sent to withdraw the substantive visa application
- substantive visa withdrawal request is received by the judicial review body or merit review tribunal
- invalid substantive visa application has been notified
- substantive visa application is refused
You are eligible for 030 Bridging Visa C if you:
- are living in Australia
- have applied for new substantive visa which will be granted shortly during your stay in Australia
- don’t hold any substantive visa
- don’t hold any other bridging visa, such as BE
If Any Subclass Available?
Yes, Bridging Visa C – BVC- (subclass 30).
010 - Bridging Visa A - BVA
Bridging Visa A, or BVA, is a temporary resident visa granted to people who have lodged an application for their new substantive visa in Australia while they already hold a recent substantive visa.
BVA allows a person to stay lawfully in the country even after the current substantive visa has come to an end while the new application for substantive visa is in process.
However, you cannot return to the country with a BVA in case you leave the country for some reason.
Bridging Visa A or BVA is another temporary visa that will allow a resident to extend their stay in Australia while their substantive visa is ceased and a fresh application is sent for processing. It may be granted if you have lodged a new application in the country for a fresh substantive visa to be given while the substantive visa is already given.
With a Bridging Visa A, one can lawfully stay in Australia until a final decision is taken on the substantive visa application sent.
Someone who holds a substantive visa at present, when the BVA has been granted, they have to comply with all the conditions that have been mentioned on the substantive visa. When the substantive visa ceases only then the rules and conditions of BVA will be applicable.
A bridging visa is needed for living in Australia in case if the substantive visa has expired before another one is granted. Living in Australia without a valid visa is an act of breaching the immigration laws. As an unlawful citizen of the country, a person might face several problems.
Generally, when people apply for a substantive Australian visa, they also apply for an associated Bridging Visa A automatically. If this is the case, a separate application for BVA need not be given.
However, if you must apply for BVA separately, there is another application form to be filled out. Fill out this form and send the application to the Australian processing center.
After sending the application, BVA will be granted shortly. If one sends an online application for substantive visa that meets all the requirements, they will be granted a BVA immediately. A letter or email will be sent to the applicant stating that the visa has been granted.
If the visa has not been granted to you, another email or letter will be sent with proper clarification for refusal.
Bridging Visa A becomes effective as soon as it has been granted or whenever the current visa comes to an end.
In any case, BVA ends when:
- leave the country
- a new substantive visa that has been applied for has been granted
- Bridging visa is granted like BVB, along with the substantive visa application that is associated with BVA
- either of the visas, substantive or BVA has been cancelled by the Government that was already held whole BVA was granted
The basic requirements for getting this visa are:
- living in Australia
- holding a substantive visa
- applied for another new substantive visa which will be granted when you are present in the country
Also, one can apply for a BVA separately after applying for substantive visa in case if:
- BVB or BVA was granted but it came to an end and all the requirements for BVA are met
- the present BVB or BVA doesn’t permit you to work in the country, or some other restrictions compel you to work
- application for a judicial review
If Any Subclasses Available?
Yes, Bridging Visa A- BVA – subclass 010.
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