Bridging visas involve some of the most complicated immigration legislation. Basically, a bridging visa is exactly how it sounds – a “bridge” from the expiry of your current substantive visa to the decision being made on the visa application that you have lodged.
Usually, you will be granted a bridging visa A. However, there exists other bridging visas – B, C, D and E.
A Bridging Visa E (“BVE”) typically allows you to remain in Australia lawfully if you become unlawful and require some time to make arrangements to leave or finalise your immigration matter. This option has also been used during the current Covid situation to permit people to remain in Australia and continue to work when their previous visa expired rather than leave a relatively Covid-free country to go back home where the situation is much worse. This might seem an attractive option to most, however, if you were to leave Australia on a BVE and then decide to return to Australia, you will be required to satisfy Public Interest Criteria (PIC) 4014. This PIC can only be met if you can demonstrate compelling and compassionate reasons why you were unlawful or left Australia on a BVE. You will need to demonstrate these compelling and compassionate reasons for all future Australian visa applications.
So, in answer to the question ‘‘Bridging Visa E – is it such a bad thing?”, we would say that if you have an alternative option, consider that option very carefully before choosing to reject it and opt for the BVE. Usually, it is a question of cost – an alternative may be a visitor visa which can cost between $365 and $1065 per applicant – and you need to weigh up whether the cost is preferable to the constant requirement to demonstrate those compassionate and compelling circumstances each time you apply for a visa in the future.
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