This visa acts same as its name shows, the bridging visa Holders are allowed to stay lawfully in Australia when your substantive visa application is under process or your current visa has expired or you overstayed while arranging to depart the country.
Bridging Visa Categories
Bridging Visa A (BVA)
When you are on your respective visa subclass, and you apply for another visa subclass or extension, then you will be issued this visa. Meanwhile, you wait for your respective application to be processed and consider important conditions of this visa as below:
- You are not allowed to travel on this visa subclass, and if you depart Australia, then you won’t be able to return to Australia. But you may apply for BVA.
- You are not allowed to work on this visa. However, you may apply for another Bridging visa category to work and you will have to justify that you are facing financial adversities.
- In case if you are granted or nominated for an employer-sponsored visa based on your skills while meeting visa requirements, you will automatically be entitled to work rights.
- And if you apply for subclass 820 (onshore partner visa), you will automatically be entitled to work rights while your visa is under process.
Bridging Visa B (BVB)
You apply for BVB when you are waiting for a substantive visa application (under process) and you want to travel outside of Australia without the cancellation of your BVA. Note associated conditions to BVB:
- You can travel on this visa outside of Australia, but with limitations and it is valid for 3 months mostly and in some cases for up to one year. You must return to Australia before it expires.
- Apply for BVB to 2 to 3 weeks earlier before you plan to travel.
- You can be on both (BVA and a BVB) visa status concurrently.
Bridging Visa C (BVC)
BVC is granted when you are staying in Australia unlawfully and you apply for any respective visa. This can be due to your visa expires and you overstayed.
- You can travel on this visa outside of Australia, but with limitations and it is valid for 12 month and you must return to Australia before it expires.
- While you apply for another substantive visa you will be automatically granted BVC.
- You are not allowed to work on BVC, unless you apply for one of the substantive subclasses from 132, 188, 888, 186, 187, 189, 190, 491 & 820/801 and few more.
- However, you may apply for another BVC to work and you will have to justify that you are facing financial adversities.
Bridging Visa D (BVD)
BVD also allows you to stay lawfully while your visa expires or you overstayed, but for a shorter duration. Only until you finalize your substantive visa application and make necessary arrangements for departure or have been granted BVE.
- Only five working days from the date of grant OR five working days after the date your respective substantive visa expires OR you have been granted a BVE within these five working days.
- You are not allowed to travel on BVD and in case you depart to Australia, you will not be able to re-enter Australia.
- You are advised to use these five working days only to lodge a valid substantive visa application or to make departure arrangements.
- Working is strictly not allowed, and if so your visa may be canceled.
Bridging Visa E (BVE)
This is granted when your substantive visa expires and you do not lodge a valid substantive visa. You can stay lawfully on BE while finalizing all your immigration problems, making arrangements for departure, or waiting for a visa decision on your valid application.
- The BE ends automatically once you leave Australia and to come back, you will need a new substantive visa.
- Your visa grant letter has all the conditions written over it in case of BVE, it will be mentioned on your visa letter.
COVID-19 Effects on bridging visa holders
Although the bridging visa is quite really a bridge to avoid any immigration issues, the current pandemic has made almost 97K bridging visa holders helpless. They have no access to government support and schemes.
Since they are the vulnerable community, the Refugee Council of Australia with its affiliates is raising the voice in the favor and asking the government to provide support for groups like asylum seekers, temporary migrant workers, international students, and refugees.
The CEO of Refugee Council of Australia Paul Power said that according to the latest reports and stats, there are at least 12000 asylum seekers out of 97000 bridging visa holders who are still waiting for their decision as a refugee. That implies deserving applicants for government support.
There may be some bridging visa holders that might be allowed to work helping them to avail of Medicare facilities. In any case, bridging visa holders have no access to Centre link payment. They are not entitled to the job seeker, job keeper, or any beneficiary funds introduced by federal or state governments.
Tentative support for bridging visa holders
The federal government has granted access to $10,000 superannuation funds to the bridging visa holders for 2019-20.
For the time being the DHA is also providing support by their Status Resolution support service. These short term payments are for BVE holders who just got free from immigration confinements or community inhabitants.
Nonetheless of the above support, the majority of bridging visa holders have no access to this scheme although these short payments are lesser than Centre link benefits.
The DHA controls this scheme in agreement with non-government organizations. The department runs SRSS financial support very strictly and has excluded many individuals for the last few years.
With all of these happenings bridging visa holders and making hard and accessing charity organizations to make both ends meet. Most of them are on the edge of homelessness. According to a census, 76% of the bridging visa holders are unable to disburse their rental costs or loans. More so, in these crises, some of them are so much insecure that they likely to sleep in cars or trains.
It is an appreciable fact that Australia has much succeeded in suppressing the numbers of COVID-19 cases, but what is missing is the reforms for the fourth largest contributing sector to their economy. There is a need to stand by the side of community workers like Ansary Muhammed (Queensland state manager of Brothers In Need, a not-for-profit organization) and Settlement Services International (SSI).
In the last couple of months, The Vision Consultants Australia is experiencing an influx of calls for related advice for their visa problems and bridging visa understanding to stay lawfully.
The Vision’s support team is available to provide you the most updated information and swift Australian Visa information and services.
Write to us @ Info@visionaus.com.au