28 August 2019
Bridging Visa A – a brief overview
It is common to come across overseas nationals in Australia during the recruitment process. While most would hold a ‘substantive’ visa (such as work, family, student and tourist visa), hiring managers may also come across candidates holding a strange creature known as the ‘bridging’ visa.
A bridging visa ‘bridges’ the lawful status of a non-citizens in Australia when they do not hold a substantive visa. For example, a person may have applied for a new visa in Australia, and their existing visa may expire before the outcome on their visa is known. The bridging visa allows the person to lawfully remain in Australia after the visa expires, and before the new visa is granted.
Of the many types, the common one is Bridging Visa A (BVA).
When is a BVA granted?
Unlike most other visas, it is generally unnecessary to make a separate application for a BVA as it is deemed to be made at the time the person applies for a substantive visa in Australia.
There are several scenarios under which a BVA may be granted:
- the person holds a substantive visa (visa 1) and applies for another visa (visa 2) in Australia. A BVA allows the person to lawfully remain in Australia if visa 1 expires before there is an outcome for their application for visa 2.
- if the application for visa 2 is refused either by the Department of Home Affairs (Department) or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, and the person applies to have the decision reviewed by the court. If the person held a BVA or Bridging Visa B (BVB) at the time of the review application, the person may be granted another BVA pending the outcome of the court proceeding.
- the person holds a BVA or BVB with condition(s) limiting their work rights, and the person has not applied for a protection visa. The person may be granted a new BVA with no work limitations, either:
- if the person suffers from financial hardship; or
- if the person held a working holding visa and has applied for a 457/482 worker visa where the Department has approved the relevant 457/482 nomination;
- the person has applied for a certain type of partner or parent visa. A BVA may be granted to allow the person to remain lawful in Australia pending the outcome of the relevant application or review application.
When does a BVA start and end?
A BVA comes into effect either on the date it is granted, or when any substantive visa held by the person expires.
A BVA ceases to exist in one of the following circumstances:
- on the date the substantive visa to which the BVA relates, is granted; or
- 35 days after the substantive visa application to which the BVA relates, is refused, withdrawn or considered invalid.
- if the person applies to have a refusal reviewed at the court, the BVA ceases to exist 28 days after the court proceeding is complete or withdrawn.
- if the BVA or any substantive visa held by the person is cancelled, the BVA ceases to exist on the date of the cancellation.
- if a new bridging visa is granted, the BVA ceases to exist on the date the new bridging visa is granted. This may occur if, for example, the person who is not permitted to work on their first BVA is subsequently granted a new BVA without work limitations due to financial hardship.
Once the BVA ends, the person will be unlawful in Australia if they do not hold another visa. They should depart prior to this to avoid potential travel bans to Australia.
Conditions on BVA
It is helpful for hiring managers to be aware of any work limitation conditions attached to a candidate’s BVA.
Condition(s) on a BVA generally follows condition(s) attached to the previous visa. For example, the person is required to hold adequate health insurance on the previous visa, the person may be required to continue doing so while on the BVA.
However, this does not apply in scenarios where the BVA relates to a permanent residence application. No conditions will attach to the BVA regardless of condition(s) attached with the previous visa.
There will also be no conditions attached to a BVA if the person applies to remove work limitations on their previous bridging visa under the grounds of financial hardship.
Overseas travel on a BVA
BVA does not come with travel facilities. This means that if a BVA holder travels out of Australia, they will not be able to return to Australia on that BVA. In this scenario, the person would usually apply for a Bridging Visa B (BVB) prior to departure.
Situations involving one or more bridging visas can be complicated and may require action be taken in a timely manner. Please feel free to contact us should you require any assistance.
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