Bridging visas and support services

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I have a Bridging visa A, B or C

If you currently hold a Bridging visa A, B or C, this will allow you to stay in Australia while your existing visa application or review is being processed. However, if you have no pending immigration decisions or reviews and you cannot depart Australia, you should apply for a new visa to keep you lawful.

If you are a Bridging visa A or C holder and you depart Australia, your Bridging visa A or C will cease. If you want to return to Australia in the future, you will need to apply for another visa to allow you to return. Bridging visa A holders may instead consider applying for a Bridging visa B before they leave Australia.

  • Bridging visa B applications continue to be processed. However, Bridging visa B holders will be denied entry to Australia until travel restrictions are lifted, unless an exemption applies.

Note: You are automatically exempt from the travel restrictions and can enter Australia (without obtaining an individual exemption) if you are:

I have a Bridging visa E

A Bridging visa E will allow you to stay in Australia while you:

  • make arrangements to leave
  • wait for an immigration decision.

If you have become unlawful and cannot apply for other visas, applying for a Bridging visa E as soon as possible will provide you with lawful status in Australia so you can make arrangements to depart as soon as possible.

If you hold a Bridging visa E but cannot depart Australia before it expires, you will need to apply for another Bridging visa E to remain lawful.

For people who depart Australia as unlawful non-citizens or holders of Bridging visas, D, E or F, you may be excluded from returning to Australia for a period of time and it may affect future visa applications.

Waiving re-entry ban (exclusion period)

For temporary visa applications

DHA will not remove a re-entry ban, but you can ask them to set it aside if you apply for a new temporary visa.

You will need to write to DHA explaining why the ban should be put aside. You must show that there are compassionate or compelling circumstances to put aside your re-entry ban and grant you the visa and submit your written explanation when you lodge your visa application.

You must still meet health and character requirements.

For permanent visa applications

You can still apply for a permanent visa if you have been banned from re-entering Australia. Your immigration history will be considered when a decision is made on your application.

Working on a Bridging visa

You may be allowed to work in Australia depending on your Bridging visa conditions. You can check by:

  • using the VEVO service, or
  • accessing your visa conditions through your ImmiAccount.

If your Bridging visa does not let you work, or has restrictions on working, you may be able to apply for another Bridging visa that lets you work. This is only available in some circumstances and you will usually have to demonstrate that you are in financial hardship.

If you do not meet the requirements for work, and you are still eligible for a Bridging visa, you will be granted a new Bridging visa with the same conditions that were on your previous Bridging visa.

Expiring Bridging visas

Temporary visa holders who are unable to support themselves over the next six months are strongly encouraged to return home and to make arrangements as quickly as possible.

If you cannot depart Australia, you will need to maintain a valid visa. You will be expected to depart Australia when travel restrictions are lifted.

If you are outside Australia and are unable to enter before your visa’s validity ceases, you will need to apply for and be granted a new visa if you wish to travel to Australia.

It is not possible to extend the validity period of a visa. It is also not possible to make a valid application for a Bridging visa B (BVB) while you are outside Australia or to be granted a BVB while outside Australia.

Support services

If you cannot resolve your visa status, the Department of Home Affairs’ Status Resolution Service (SRS) can help.

Further information is available here:

SRS officers can explain your visa options and tell you how decisions you make now can affect your options later on. They can also help you plan your departure from Australia, and refer you to other services where necessary.

In exceptional circumstances, the Department’s Status Resolution Service can help eligible individuals wishing to depart from Australia. The Department contracts the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and Serco (Homeward) as service providers to facilitate its returns assistance program.

Returns assistance may provide eligible recipients with one, or any combination of assistance, including:

  • independent returns counseling
  • plane ticket
  • assistance to obtain travel documents
  • reception assistance in country of return
  • travel assistance to final destination.

To be considered eligible for returns assistance, you must:

  • be a non-citizen
  • not hold a visa that permits re-entry to Australia
  • elect to voluntarily return to a country-of-origin or a country where you have a right of entry and stay
  • demonstrate you are unable to self-fund your return.

Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) provides support for certain non-citizens who are in the Australian community temporarily while their immigration status is being determined. The SRSS program provides short-term, tailored support to individuals who are unable to support themselves while they engage with the Department of Home Affairs to resolve their immigration status. It is not an ongoing welfare entitlement.

Individuals on a Bridging visa with work rights, and who have the capacity to work, are expected to support themselves while their immigration status is being resolved.

During the COVID-19 period, applications for support under SRSS will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Source: DHA

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