Before your visa runs out, it is strongly recommended that you think about what you would like to do next so you can take action on time. Whether you want to return home, stay in Australia, continue to study, work or travel. It is recommended that you consider your options carefully at least 3 to 6 months before your current visa expires. This allows for adequate time for visa processing.
Whatever your circumstances are, it is strongly recommended to seek legal advice before you report to the Department of Home Affairs. You should contact an immigration lawyer and explain your situation and that your visa has expired. They will discuss all the available visa options. However, if you go directly to the Department of Home Affairs before consulting with an immigration lawyer, you will be instructed to leave the country and granted a very short temporary Bridging visa E (BVE), which only gives you enough time to make travel arrangements.
To remain in Australia lawfully, you should be aware of your visa’s expiry date. This date is the cut-off for how long you can stay in Australia and if you remain after this date, you will be overstaying your visa. It is best to process your visa as soon as possible and if you choose to leave it for longer, this may worsen the situation.
If you’ve overstayed your visa, you should first seek the assistance of an immigration lawyer and then inform the Department of Home Affairs. Once you inform the Department, you will be referred to a Bridging visa E application. This allows you to stay in Australia legally while you prepare for your departure or arrangement of another Australian visa application.
Overstaying your visa makes you an unlawful non-citizen and could cause you to face detention, deportation and re-entry bans. Different penalties can apply depending on whether you have overstayed by less or more than 28 days.
If you overstay by less than 28 days and have an Australian partner who is either a citizen or permanent resident, you may be eligible to apply for an Australian partner visa to remain legally. This application would require you to provide evidence to support your eligibility for an Australian partner visa. There are also other options including visa extension and applying for a bridging visa while the application for a further visa is under consideration.
However, if you overstayed your visa by more than 28 days, the situation can be considered more serious. It could lead you to an exclusion period once you apply for another Australian visa. This means you may be prevented from obtaining another future visa for a minimum of 3 years. You will also be held accountable for any payments related to your detention and removal from the country. If the payments have not been paid, all future Australia visa applications will be rejected.
Although your visa may be about to expire there are options available to allow you to stay in Australia. It is important to explore all your options and to speak to someone that can give you the best advice specifically for your situation. The 3 most common options are:
Bridging visas are only for onshore applicants. They allow applicants to remain in Australia legally but only on a short-term basis. There are different types of bridging visas:
Bridging visa A (BVA) is applied for the most by those in this situation. This type of visa is automatically provided when you lodge a valid application. The reason for this is if the first visa expires before the second has been granted, it becomes a bridge between the 2 visas. The BVA is not a stand-alone visa but provides you with the same right rights as your previous visa. If you were on a working visa, you may continue to work but if you were on a tourist visa, you cannot. While you have a BVA, you may not leave and return to this country.
Bridging visa B (BVB) is used if you want to travel and are currently on a Bridging Visa.
Bridging visa C (BVC) is similar to Bridging visa A, except that it is applied if you let your previous visa expire before applying for a new visa. BVC differs from BVA as work rights are not automatically permitted.
Bridging visa E (BVE) is the final type of bridging visa and allows you to stay in the country while you organise travel to exit Australia.
Some visas are granted with Condition 8503. This prevents the visa holder from applying for temporary and permanent visas while in Australia. If this condition has been imposed on your visa, you cannot apply for another visa unless it’s a protection visa or a specific type of temporary visa. A ‘No Further Stay’ condition will not prevent you from applying for other visas after you have left the country.
If these conditions aren’t imposed on your visa, you have the option of moving to a new visa.
For example, students on a study visa can apply for a temporary graduate visa (subclass 485) if they would like to work after completion of their course. Students must be in Australia when applying for a 485 visa and they must have held an eligible student visa within 6 months before applying for the visa. This visa is for international students who have recently graduated with skills and qualifications that are relevant to specific occupations.
For some visa holders, renewing their visas is the best option. For example, the TSS visa has a short-term stream and a medium-term stream. Applicants with occupations on the Short-Term Skilled List (STSOL) are eligible for visas up to 2 years (can be renewed once for another 2 years). While those on the Medium and Long-Term List can apply for a visa up to 4 years (can be renewed once for another 4 years) and are eligible to apply for permanent residency after 3 years.
It is important to keep in mind when your visa expires so you can plan your next steps. However, if your visa is already expired, there are still various visa pathways that are available. At AustraliaMigrate, we are ready to assist you and advise you on the most suitable options. Book a consultation today with one of our migration consultants to discuss your current situation.
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