What happens if my current visa expires and I do not have another application in place?
On currently available government policy, should your current Australian visa expire without any valid application for another visa having been made, you risk becoming a unlawful non-citizen (sometimes also referred to as unlawful non-resident). Becoming unlawful is not ideal at all, and risks the following outcomes:
- It may make arrangements more difficult to eventually leave the country
- It may make re-entering Australia in the future more difficult
- It may make entering other countries (except your passport country) more difficult
Should you become an unlawful non-citizen after a visa expiry, it is imperative that you take action to gain another visa to remain lawfully in Australia within the 28 days after your visa expired, even if you were an Australian visa tourist. In doing so, it will be necessary to prove that your original visa expiring was not your fault, which may not be easy and coronavirus SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a reason – it’s best to avoid this. Unless the Australian government says otherwise, at present anyone that goes beyond 28 days of a visa expiry without arranging another visa will need to apply for a bridging visa E (BVE). This visa allows you time to prepare to leave Australia, though this is an uncertain proposition under current circumstances and should likewise be avoided if you have the capacity to do so.
What is an 8503 no further stay waiver?
Most Australian visas have different ‘conditions’ that apply to stop people on different visas from doing things the government doesn’t want them to do. These conditions are always numbered. The 8503 no further stay condition can apply to many temporary visas (such as the subclass 600 visitor visa), and restricts people from legally applying for another visa whilst in Australia.
For the 8503 condition to be waived (overlooked) in allowing a new application to remain in Australia, even under exceptional circumstances like those we face with coronavirus / COVID-19, it is currently necessary to lodge a specific application for the Department of Home Affairs. This must be done before a new visa application is made, and is a very specific process related to each person’s situation. This requires an extensive submission to be prepared, which is something we specialise in as Registered Migration Agents.
Can I apply for a 408 COVID-19 stream visa?
This special-purpose visa has recently been expanded to allow successful applicants to remain in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is primarily intended for applicants who meet specific criteria that relates to the Australian government’s COVID-19 pandemic response. This might be the visa for you if:
- You are already in Australia on a visa that will expire in the next 28 days, or expired within the last 28 days, and you are now stuck here without another viable visa option being available
- You can provide evidence for your employment in a critical sector of the COVID-19 response, most likely with a contract of employment, payslips or a statement from an employer. At present, critical sectors are limited to agriculture, food processing, health care, aged care, disability care or child care. Importantly, it is also necessary to demonstrate that an Australian is not able to fill the role you have
- If you are not a critical services worker, you may still be able to apply for this visa but no work rights will be available. It will also be necessary to demonstrate why you cannot apply for another visa, such as the subclass 600 visitor visa
Successful applicants who are employed in a critical sector work role may have a 408 visa granted for up to 12 months. Any applicant who is not eligible to gain work rights as a critical sector worker may receive a maximum grant period of 6 months. The 408 visa in the COVID-19 stream has no government application fee, which makes it an attractive option, but it is important to note that eligibility is limited – this visa is not a quick fix option.
Assessing eligibility for a 408 COVID-19 stream visa is tricky, and we encourage you to reach out to us if you’d like to understand your options.
I’m an Australian permanent resident and would like to apply for citizenship
In a time of widespread uncertainty we understand why people in this position would be eager to secure citizenship. Ultimately, if you are already an Australian permanent resident there may not be any immediate concerns for your personal or financial security as a result of your visa status, but we appreciate that this global event may inspire a push to become a citizen