Individuals who are waiting on the result of their application for a skilled migration visa to Australia may hold a bridging visa - and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has provided useful information clearing up the differences between these types of visas.
If you have made your visa application from within Australia and you want to leave the country - for travel or personal reasons - while your application is being decided, it is important to be aware of the difference between Bridging visas A, B and C.
According to the DIAC's Migration Blog, the best option for people who want to leave Australia while waiting for their skilled migration visa application to be processed is Bridging visa B, which can be granted for a period of up to 12 months, depending on individual circumstances.
This visa can let you leave and re-enter Australia as many times as you like, as long as you are able to return to Australia before your visa period ends.
The DIAC advises that it is wise to apply to change your Bridging visa A - which expires as soon as you leave the country - to a Bridging visa B if you are interested in leaving Australia while you wait for your skilled migration visa application to be processed.
If you have instead been issued with a Bridging visa C, you are not permitted to leave the country, as this visa has no travel facility and will end immediately if you depart Australia for any reason.
An application for a bridging visa is usually made automatically when an onshore application for a general skilled migration visa is made - and the type of bridging visa you are granted will largely depend on whether you hold a substantive visa when you make your application.
Applications for general skilled migration visas can be complex, which is why an immigration lawyer can be a useful asset.
Should your application for a skilled migration visa be refused, immigration lawyers can prove to be invaluable, as they can assist with applications to the Migration Review Tribunal and the Federal Court, if necessary. This is a particularly important point to bear in mind, as migration agents who are not lawyers are unable to make applications to the Federal Court.
Your migration lawyer may also be able to request a Bridging visa B for you at the time of application if you are planning to travel outside of Australia and you currently hold a substantive visa to remain in the country.