FAKE NEWS and bridging visas

 

I’m giving  you the right advice so you truly know your travel options and rights if you happen to be, or are soon to be, holding a Bridging Visa A.

I have encountered countless examples of people who believe they cannot apply for a Bridging Visa B if their Bridging Visa A is ‘not yet in effect’.   If you have a Bridging Visa A you can leave Australia but cannot return.  So you need to apply for a Bridging Visa B if you want to leave and return. You cannot apply for a Bridging Visa B (BVB) if you do not have a Bridging Visa A.    What if you have a Bridging Visa A (BVA)  but it is not yet in effect? Many think they cannot apply for a BVB.

I include an image below of a question in a popular online forum.    So this person, I will call him Mr X, has heard that he cannot get a BVB until his student visa expires.  What has happened here is Mr X would have received a BVA grant letter stating the BVA will not ‘come into effect’ until the student visa expires. He would have received a BVA when he applied for the Subclass 485 visa.   Someone has told Mr X that he has to wait until the BVA comes into effect (at the time the student visa expires) to be able to apply for a Bridging Visa.

But it is not true! Mr X could have applied for the BVB and travelled back home when he wanted! I will explain: 

A person can be a holder of a Bridging Visa A even if it is not in effect.

A person is granted a BVA on the basis of a substantive visa application.  Yes it is true that it does not come into effect until the expiry of the previous visa however that person is a holder of the Bridging Visa A.   A holder of a BVA can apply for a BVB.

From Immigration’s own Procedures Advice Manual (what the case officers should be following and understanding)

[P Sch2.BV-29.2] Bridging visa can come into effect and cease to be in effect during visa period.
Although a bridging visa is ‘held’ for the visa period, it can be in effect or not in effect during the visa period. It is ‘in effect’ on those occasions during the visa period when the holder does not hold a substantive visa or another bridging visa that is more beneficial than the first-mentioned bridging visa (refer also to Most beneficial bridging visa).
The BVA example below illustrates this:
• when a BVA is granted, it will not come into effect until the substantive visa (if any) held by the person ceases to be in effect — refer to 010.511(a)(ii), 010.513(a)(ii) and 010.514(a)(ii)
• this means that the visa period has started and the person ‘holds’ the BVA even though it is not in effect until the substantive visa ceases”

To really emphasise this point and to show how common this misunderstanding is look at the inaccurate professional advice (image) below:  “if you are on a Bridging Visa A …it is in effect…you can apply for a Bridging Visa B”.   No-  there is no need to include as a condition that the BVA is is in effect. 

 

This is what the law says:

020.211 The applicant is the holder of:

  • (a) a Bridging A (Class WA) visa; or
  • (b) a Bridging B (Class WB) visa. 
Note that the regulations state that an applicant for a BVB is a holder of a BVA, it does not require that the BVA is also in effect.  Recently I was told by a person that they called Immigration’s own information number to be told the opposite.  I was exasperated!   I ended up obtaining written confirmation from Immigration that the BVA does not need to be in effect to apply for a BVA.  The Bridging Visa legislation is quite complex, even conditions that may seem clear to you can be easily misinterpreted.   It’s a logical mistake to make – that you can’t apply for a BVB if your BVA is not in effect (reminder: you can) – but the consequence of that mistake is such a disadvantage.  I hate to think of those who needed to return home for a significant family event and were unable due to this misunderstanding.

18 thoughts on “FAKE NEWS and bridging visas”

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