If you have been in Australia, then it is likely you have heard people talk about being on a bridging visa, considering that close to 200,000 people are currently on them, according to the Department of Home Affairs. But what exactly is a bridging visa?
Essentially it is a visa that allows you to stay in the country lawfully while your substantive visa is being decided, in the instance that any other visa you hold expires. For example, if you have applied for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187) then the government is deciding whether or not to grant you permanent residency, which can take over a year. In this case, while they review your application, and in the absence of another substantive visa, you will be granted a bridging visa to remain onshore lawfully.
Australia currently has five common types of bridging visas, ranging from Bridging Visa A to Bridging Visa E (BVA – BVE). You will need to clearly understand which bridging visa you hold in order to know your work and travel rights. Some of the visas do not allow re-entry to Australia if you leave while on them, others permit you only to work as much as what your previous visa allowed, and some bridging visas have no work rights at all. Though certain conditions can be waived, this requires detailed intervention. The Department of Home Affairs summarises these Bridging Visas at the link below but keep in mind that the work rights often need further clarification, so this might be a good time to reach out to a Migration Agent to ensure you remain lawful while in Australia.