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What should I do if my visa has or will expire in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic?

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People on temporary visas are facing uncertain futures as their visas are about to or have expired whilst in Australia.

It is imperative that if your visa is due to expire or has expired, you obtain advice as to what your options are. There may be options to apply for another visa subject to your ability to satisfy visa requirements.

It is important that you consider your options as it can have a significant affect on your ability to apply for visas in the future if you become unlawful.

If your visa has already expired, you must apply for a Bridging visa E (BVE) immediately to remain lawful. The purpose of the BVE is to allow you to remain lawfully in Australia whilst you make arrangements to leave Australia.

You can apply for a BVE even if your visa has expired if you do so within 28 days of the visa you were on having expired. 

If your visa expired more than 28 days ago then you must contact the Status Resolution Service (SRS) or seek legal advice immediately.

The SRS has experienced officers who will assist you to consider if there are any other visa options that you may be eligible to apply for or assist you with your departure from Australia.

The Department of Home Affairs (DoHA) is cognisant of the fact it is not only difficult to get a flight to leave Australia but also that they can be very costly.

We can assist you with other possible visa options if you qualify. In recent times we have assisted many people with partner visas and the transfer of their working visas to other employers. 

It is important to realise that some services that are required to complete a visa application have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 including such services and medical checks etc.

Another option is to apply for a Subclass 408 Temporary Activity visa which allows you to:

  • remain in Australia if you have no other visa options and are unable to depart Australia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions
  • remain in Australia to continue your work in critical sectors including agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care and childcare during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To apply for this visa, you must have a visa that expires in 28 days or less or your last substantive temporary visa expired less than 28 days ago.

You will be required to produce evidence from your employer that you have ongoing work in a critical sector and that an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident cannot fill the position, or demonstrate you can’t meet the requirements of any other visa. Additionally, you must maintain adequate health insurance during your stay in Australia.

What should you do now during the COVID-19 pandemic?

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact our expert team who are working through this pandemic and can assist you with any visa options or migration options you may have.

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