If you have hit “submit” on your Partner Visa 820 application, chances are that you received an email almost immediately informing you that you have been granted a Bridging Visa A (this is assuming that you’re applying onshore).
Are you wondering what this means? Well, it basically means that the Bridging Visa will kick in as soon as your current visa expires (in my case it was a Student Visa), allowing you to remain in Australia while your application for the Partner Visa 820 is being assessed (and we all know that this can take around 18 months, with no status updates whatsoever from immigration).
If you are like me and prefer to get things sorted as quickly as possible, this may cause a bit of uncertainty – EIGHTEEN MONTHS on a visa which is barley a proper visa but rather an access pass to a ginormous waiting room (aka Australia)??!!
Thankfully, it’s not all bad news. The Bridging Visa A comes with:
- Permission to work full-time with no restrictions on contract length or type of employer/salary (note that you are also classed as an Australian Resident for Tax Purposes, so will be taxed like any other Aussie)
- Permission to study (full-time or part-time)
- Once you hit submit on your Partner Visa application, you can sign up to Medicare – I will write a separate post about this, as I had quite an interesting experience getting signed up, so watch this space!
The hardest thing for me was finding the confidence to go out there and look for a job. Almost every job posting I looked at on Seek had a footnote saying that only (minimum) permanent residents will be considered for the job. I took me a while to catch on to the fact that I only had to broaden my search. I work in Marketing and was mainly looking at client-side (i.e. big companies with lots of hiring rules) roles. Once I extended my search to include marketing agencies, it was so much easier to apply as they’re always looking for talent and are a lot more flexible on the subject of your visa status. I ended up getting offered a permanent role after only a couple of weeks of job-hunting.
If you work in a field where most potential employers seem dead set on hiring only permanent residents and citizens, I’d suggest you try looking for a contract role. This can be a temporary role/maternity leave cover advertised by the actual employer, or you can try working with one (ore more) of the many recruitment agencies. I personally had a great experience with Hudson Recruitment – they worked very hard to find me a part-time role while I was still studying.
In summary, it is possible to live a pretty normal life on a Bridging Visa A – you can work, you can study, and you’ll have health cover.
So why is there a Bridging Visa B?
One word: travel. In most but not all cases the Bridging Visa A will be issued with a restriction where your bridging visa will be cancelled if you leave Australia. Bummer. 18 months without visiting family overseas or travelling to exotic locations for holidays.
Thankfully, it’s not quite that bad. If you need to leave the country (and you have to have a reason to get this visa), you can apply for a Bridging Visa B. This visa will allow you to leave Australia and return within a certain timeframe, and then allow you to remain in Australia (with the working rights and all) until a decision has been made regarding your Partner Visa application. I’ll post more details about the application process for the Bridging Visa B soon.
Thanks for reading!
Please note that I am not a qualified migration agent, nor do I work for immigration. This post simply details my experience with this visa. If you need additional advice or more up-to-date information, please contact DIAC.