Working rights for bridging visa holders

Bridging Visas are temporary visas which allow a person to remain in Australia lawfully for a certain period of time.

Various types of visas allow immigrants to live and work in Australia temporarily. Before such visas expire, the holders should decide whether they want to go back to their country or renew their visa. With the latter case, the holders may have to wait several months for their new application to be processed. As a result, such applicants need to get a bridging visa so that their presence in Australia during those few months is legal. While their substantive visa is being processed, those who wish to work the same as before, can only do so only if their bridging visa allows them. This article describes common bridging visas available in Australia and elaborates on working rights and limitations they each have.   

What is a bridging visa?

A bridging visa is a temporary visa that allows holders to remain in Australia while waiting for their substantive visa to be processed. Some bridging visas should be lodged before the applicant’s current visa ceases, while others allow for a legal application even after the applicant’s visa has expired. There are five different types of bridging visas applicants may go for depending on their situation. Below, you will find each bridging visa’s features and how you can apply for your intended type.

Bridging visa A (BVA)

Bridging visa A allows holders to remain in Australia while their substantive visa is being processed. You should apply for this visa inside Australia before your current visa ceases. Having a BVA demands the holder to remain in Australia till their substantive visa is accepted. If a BVA holder leaves Australia, their visa will be automatically cancelled, and they must apply for a new BVA on their return.

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Working rights

  •  The BVA does not allow you to work unless you prove that you suffer from “financial hardship”. In this case, you should apply for a new BVA that allows you to work.
  • If you have been nominated/sponsored by an employer for your substantive visa, given that your previous skilled visa was approved and you met the requirements, you will have the same working rights your previous visa contained.
  • Also, if you are waiting for your onshore partner visa subclass 820 to be processed, having a BVA gives you the working rights you previously had until the decision time.

Eligibility requirements

  • The applicant must be in Australia while applying for the BVA.
  • The applicant must first apply for a substantive visa and then a BVA.
  • The applicant must apply for the BVA before their current visa expires.

Bridging Visa B (BVB)

As mentioned above, a BVA does not allow the holder to leave Australia. However, one can simultaneously have a BVA and a BVB. If you wish to have permission to leave Australia while your substantive visa is processed, you should also apply for a BVB. You should apply for this visa 2-3 weeks before your travel. Keep in mind that this visa is valid for three months only. Therefore, if you leave Australia on a BVB, you’ll need to return before it expires.  

Working rights

This visa deals only with travelling rights and does not address the holders’ working rights.

Eligibility requirements

  • The applicant must be in Australia when applying.
  • The applicant must have a BVA or an expired BVB.
  • The applicant must have already applied for a substantive visa which is yet to be processed.
  • The applicant wants to leave Australia within 2-3 weeks and return within three months.
  • The minister must approve the applicant’s reason for temporarily leaving Australia.
  •  The applicant must meet the public interest criterion 4021, and their return must not be in contrast with the public interest.
See also  Work experience requirements for the TSS 482 visa (Employee)

Bridging Visa C (BVC)

Visa holders might, for unwanted reasons, delay applying for a substantive visa and continue staying in Australia after their current visa expires. When this happens, they will be recognised as unlawful non-citizens. Under such a circumstance, when they finally lodge a valid application for a substantive visa, they will also be granted a BVC. If you hold a BVC, you can neither leave Australia nor apply for a BVB. If there is an urgent need for you to leave Australia, you should contact your case officer.

Working rights

You cannot work in Australia on your BVC unless your substantive visa is one of the following skilled visas:

  • Employer Nomination Scheme Visa, subclass 186
  • Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme Visa, subclass 187
  • Business Talent Visa subclass 132
  • Business Innovation and Investment Permanent Visa, subclass 188
  • Business Innovation and Investment Provisional Visa, subclass 188
  • Skilled-Regional Visa, subclass 489
  • Skilled-Independent Visa, subclass 189
  • Skilled-Nominated Visa, subclass 190

If your substantive visa is not included in this list, you may still be able to work in Australia if you prove that you are under financial hardship.

Eligibility requirements

  • The applicant must be in Australia.
  • The applicant must be a non-citizen.
  • The applicant does not currently have a substantive visa but has already applied for one.
  • The applicant must not have a BVE (described below)

Bridging visa D (BVD)

When a substantive visa has expired or ends within three working days, a BVD lets the holder remain in Australia till they apply for a new substantive visa, get a bridging visa E, or arrange to leave Australia. Your BVD will expire five days after it is granted or five days after your substantive visa expires. Therefore, you must arrange to leave Australia or apply for a new substantive visa during this time. You will not be allowed to re-enter Australia on a BVD once you leave.  

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Working rights

A BVD does not allow working in Australia no matter what state you are in.

Eligibility requirements

  • The applicant must be in Australia.
  • The applicant must be in either immigration detention or criminal detention.
  • The applicant’s substantive visa has already expired.
  • The applicant has already made a valid application or will do so in the next five working days.
  • The applicant has not been granted a BVD twice since last holding a substantive visa.

Bridging visa E (BVE)

A BVE suits those whose substantive visa has already expired. It lets them stay lawfully in Australia while they arrange to leave or finalise their immigration plan. This visa forbids the holder to leave Australia.

Working rights

The grant letter will let the holder know if they are allowed to work or not. If the holder works without being allowed to, the department will cancel the granted BVE, and the holder will be detained.

Eligibility requirements

  • The applicant must be in Australia.
  • The applicant must be an eligible non-citizen.
  • The applicant has lodged a valid application for a substantive visa
  • The minister is satisfied with the applicant’s arrangements to leave Australia.


When a temporary visa is about to expire, the holder should either leave Australia or get a substantive visa. Temporary visa holders, who wish to get a substantive visa, must obtain a bridging visa after lodging their application. This article described the working rights/restrictions each bridging visa has as well as eligibility requirements applicants should be aware of. Feel free to contact us if you need more detail regarding your intended bridging visa.


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