A bridging visa is a temporary visa. It is granted to any non-citizen onshore in Australia who has an expired visa and is waiting for a new visa to be granted. It allows the holder to lawfully stay in Australia while their visa application is being processed. Bridging visas are usually valid from the time that your current visa expires until your new visa is granted or in some cases declined.
Bridging visas can be quite complex and often the terms are unclear. There are various types of bridging visas each with their own conditions. While bridging visas allow you to remain in Australia, they can be quite restrictive in terms of what you are able to do while holding this visa. Bridging visas may restrict your work or study rights in Australia.
A formal bridging visa application is usually not required if you already hold a visa at the time of making your new visa application. If you do not have a visa or you hold a current bridging visa then you will be required to lodge an application if you wish to apply for a different bridging visa. In order to be eligible for a bridging visa, you must be in Australia when applying for your new visa, meet eligibility requirements and be in Australia at the time your visa is granted.
The number of bridging visa holders in Australia has significantly increased in the last few years. As of the end of March 2019, there were 229, 242 bridging visa holders in Australia.
Generally people are put on bridging visas as a result of the backlog of visa applications to be processed. The visa approval process takes time as security and health checks need to be conducted for each application. These necessary checks add a substantial amount of time to the visa approval process. Take into account the high volume of applications to be processed and all of a sudden you have astronomical wait times and a high number of people on bridging visas.
Each visa has its own processing time which is usually calculated based on the volume of applications for that visa. Visas can be granted immediately or anywhere up to two years and possibly a little longer in the case of partner visas. If you are considering applying for a new visa it is best to check the specific processing times as you may need to be prepared to wait.
If you would like advice on bridging visas or any other aspect of migration, speak to one of the VSA team today. It is a complex subject so it is important to speak with someone in the know.