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B sure you can return - more information

Bridging visas and your application for skilled migration

Some of you have asked about leaving Australia while waiting for a visa application to be processed.  This is the second post for people who have lodged an application for a skilled migration visa in Australia, but who would like to go overseas while their skilled migration visa application is being processed.

We have already talked about what to do if you hold a Bridging visa A (rather than a substantive visa) and want to travel

This time, we’re talking about what to do if you hold another substantive visa, such as a Student or a Skilled - Graduate visa and you have applied onshore for a skilled migration visa. 

If you hold another substantive visa that hasn’t expired and allows you to return to Australia.

Your Bridging visa A ceases when you leave Australia. If you decide to travel on another substantive visa without first applying for and being granted a Bridging visa B, you may not remember to apply for a replacement Bridging visa A on your return.  You therefore risk becoming unlawful after you return to Australia when your substantive visa ceases.

Also, while you may be able to return to Australia on the same or a different substantive visa, and apply for a replacement Bridging visa A, you will then have to abide by the conditions of that visa until it ceases, including any work limitations.  For example, if you return on a Student visa, your work entitlements will revert to those of a student — 20 hours per week. 

However, when you hold a Bridging visa B, you won’t have to worry about getting another visa while overseas to return to Australia when or if your substantive visa ceases. If you return to Australia on a Bridging visa B, you will remain lawful even after your substantive visa ceases. 

Depending on your situation, a Bridging visa B can be granted with a travel period of up to 12 months and will let you depart and re-enter Australia as often as you wish within that time.  

Be sure you can return. Investigate the Bridging visa B before you leave.

More detail on Bridging visas in relation to general skilled migration applications, including how to apply for a Bridging visa B, is on our website.

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Post script:

We have kept this post open longer than usual, as we are receiving many questions about the Bridging visa posts. We’ll be providing more information on Bridging visas on the website in the near future.

Please remember that this blog is not a forum to ask about your specific case – if you have a question about your own situation, particularly if it is urgent, your best option is to contact us through the correct channels http://www.immi.gov.au/contacts/visa-enquiries/professionals.htm .

Thank you for participating.

 

Comments (14)

Comment: 

This is a great article. I am pretty much impressed with your good work. You put really very helpful information. Keep it up.

Comment: 

Hi, I just wanted to know, if this applies after July 2012 or not? Thanks.

Comment: 

Hi Mark

Thanks for your question. The important point here is that a Bridging visa A or B is only available once you have lodged a valid visa application.

From 1 July 2012, unless you are a transitional applicant, you will need to make an Expression of Interest (EOI) via SkillSelect. You may then be invited to apply for a skilled migration visa.

An EOI is not a visa application and you will not be granted a Bridging visa on the basis of having submitted an EOI. A Bridging visa would only be considered once a valid visa application is lodged. The website will be updated with more information on SkillSelect as we get closer to the implementation date.

If you are in Australia and the visa you hold is about to expire before you are invited and able to apply for a skilled visa, you would need to apply for another visa to remain in Australia. If you do not meet the requirements for the grant of another visa, you would need to depart Australia before your visa expires or risk becoming unlawful .

If you are a transitional applicant, you are able to lodge under the current arrangements until 31 December 2012, and the Bridging visa arrangements remain unchanged for you.

Comment: 

Hi Michelle,

I hold a student visa that begins on January 2011 to August 2012. I would like to ask if I can apply for a skilled migration visa. moreover, I have a brother here and he is already a Permanent Resident. He is willing to sponsor me.

I know that my studies do not meet the 2 year requirement of studying but I have assessed my points and I reached beyond 65 points.

Can you give me options what to do? I am aiming to stay here as a permanent resident, but I do not want to sttudy anymore

Comment: 

Hi Siegfried

Thanks for your question. There are a number of options available to you to pursue permanent residence and you may wish to search through the VisaWizard to find a visa appropriate for your circumstances. However, if you haven't completed the qualifying Australian study requirement, you will not be able to lodge an onshore points based skilled migration visa application.

If you lodge an offshore points based skilled migration visa application, you are not entitled to a Bridging visa. You would need to depart Australia before your Student visa expires or apply for a further substantive visa in order to remain lawfully in Australia.

After 1 July 2012, you may want to make an Expression of Interest (EOI) for a skilled visa using SkillSelect. If you submit an EOI and depending on your skills, you could be found and nominated for skilled visas by Australian employers or state and territory governments, or you could be invited by the Australian Government to lodge a visa application. However, as I mentioned in my earlier reply to Mark, an EOI is not grounds for a Bridging visa.

Comment: 

Hi!

I have just applied for visa 485 yesterday and now I'm on bridging visa A.

Currently I am on a student visa and my student visa is not expired until September this year. From the email 'AUTOMATIC NOTIFICATION OF BRIDGING VISA GRANT UNDER THE ONSHORE GENERAL SKILLED MIGRATION PROGRAM', they say 'a Bridging Visa A does not come into effect until any current substantive visa ceases'.

Is that mean I will get stuck with a 20-hour working limit until my student visa expire or I am eligible to worlk full time now since I have already completed my study?

Thank you.

Comment: 

Hi Rainy

Thanks for your question. Students who apply for a subclass 485 visa and have completed their course early will be able to work full time, as their course is no longer in session.

When your Student visa expires in September, your Bridging visa A will come into effect. The work conditions from your student visa will carry over to your Bridging visa A. However, if you decide to study while holding your Student visa or Bridging visa A, you will only be able to work 20hrs/week whilst your course is in session.

Remember, if you want to leave Australia between now and the time when a decision is made on your Subclass 485 application, you should apply for a Bridging visa B, as your Bridging visa A will cease when you depart Australia.

Comment: 

Hi, Mitchell. I applied for onshore GSM 885 in May 2009. after that i was been granted 485 which i applied before applying for 885. I was on 485 till Feb 2011 and i travelled in and out of austalia on the same. During end of Feb 2011 my employer advised me that i have no visa because my 485 is expired and need to check with immigartion. I was assuming that once my 485 is expired and if i am not granted with 885 i will be automatically back on BVA but then when i visited DIAC office to clarify this they issued me with BVC saying that my BVA ceased when i first left austalia on 485 and if i will leave the country i will need to seek another visa to return back. Then after I had to depart australia on 30th march 2011 because of some serious family issues as being recently married. Currently i am offshore waiting for my application to proceed.. Please advise how my application will be processed?? and how will be able to return back once my application will have case officer allocated?? Is visitor visa process is normal for such circumstances?? Your feedback will be really helpful..Thanks..

Comment: 

Thanks for your query. We have posted information about Bridging visa C, which might be of interest.

If you want to return to Australia, you will need to apply for and be granted a new visa, meeting the requirements for that visa, before you can return to Australia. However, depending on your particular circumstances, there are no guarantees that this would be possible. If you intend to return to Australia to await the outcome of your application and pursue ongoing work you would need to apply for and be granted a visa with work rights.

Alternatively, you could remain in overseas until your Subclass 885 visa is ready to be decided, at which point a Tourist visa may be suitable to facilitate your entry to Australia. This could be some time after your application is allocated to a case officer.

Comment: 

Does the BVB have effect prior to the substantive visa ceasing? I had always understood it only has effect once the substantive ceases, so a student would be subject to 20 hours per week right up until the substantive ceases and the BV comes into effect, or a new substantive is issued. In the above example, is it the case that the BVB should be acquired before travel just to avoid getting a replacement BVA once the substantive ceases, but is not necessary for travel out and into Australia while the person holds the substantive? Will the arrival back into Australia as the holder of a substantive visa be recorded as an arrival on a substantive or as an arrival on a BVB?

Comment: 

Hi Rich

Thanks for your questions - the world of Bridging visas is complex, but essentially you've got it right. You should apply for the Bridging visa B before you travel to avoid having to get a replacement Bridging visa A once your substantive visa ceases, but you don't need to have a Bridging visa B for travel from and to Australia while you hold a substantive visa which allows you to travel outside and return to Australia, as we noted in our second post above.

However, we see many clients who forget to apply for a new Bridging visa A on their return, or stay overseas beyond the expiry date of their substantive visa, and who are then in difficulties when it comes to resuming their lives in Australia. Also, there is no guarantee that you can be granted a replacement Bridging visa A if your initial one has ceased.

When you return to Australia on a substantive visa, that is how you are recorded.

Comment: 

Hi, i was just wondering how many times can we apply for a Bridging Visa B if we hold Bridging Visa A in a period of a year, is there any limit on how many times it can be applied and granted, and if there needs to be a specific gap between the grants. Example can i apply for another one few months after the previous one finishes? I am interested to know as there might be important stuff to be attended out of the Country. Thanks a lot

Comment: 

Hi Ive

Thanks for your question. Your Bridging visa B will not expire until your substantive application is decided, provided you return to Australia within the travel period. However, the travel period on it will expire. If you wanted to remain in Australia until your substantive visa is finalised, you wouldn't need to apply for another Bridging visa B at all. But if you want to travel again, you will need to apply for another Bridging visa B with a further travel period to cover your new travel dates.

There are no set limits on the number of Bridging visa B applications you can make. However, applying for a Bridging visa B and requesting a longer travel period would probably be more practical for you if you think you will need to make multiple trips overseas.

Comment: 

Hie Michelle,

I have applied for GSM 885 in april 2009 via agent onshore.

Since, then i have gone offshore and come back to australia on valid visa like bridging visa B.

But recently in oct 2011, i havent taken a Bridging visa B and left Australia due to personal problems.

My Permanent residence visa application may be alloted a case officer in few months, so i would like to know which travel visa is the
most appropriate for me to come back.

Thanks a lot Michelle.
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Hi Chittoori

Thanks for your question. Firstly, I would suggest that you check with your nearest Australian immigration office overseas to see if your BVB is still in effect and allows you to travel back to Australia.

If not and you want to return to Australia, as I told Jgr earlier, you will need to apply for and be granted a new visa, meeting the requirements for that visa, before you can return to Australia. However, depending on your particular circumstances, there are no guarantees that this would be possible. If you intend to return to Australia to await the outcome of your application and pursue ongoing work you would need to apply for and be granted a visa with work rights.

You can remain overseas until your Subclass 885 visa is ready to be decided, at which point a Tourist visa may be suitable to facilitate your entry to Australia.

You don't necessarily have to return to Australia when you are allocated a case officer, as long as your current address is correct and we can get in contact with you.