Living in the community

This page contains information for illegal maritime arrivals (IMAs) living temporarily in the Australian community, in community placement or on a bridging visa, while they prepare their protection visa application for lodgment or wait for their application to be decided. It also describes some of the services IMAs might receive and the behaviour expected of them.

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection has lifted the application bar for the vast majority of IMAs in Australia and invited them to apply for a Temporary Protection visa (TPV) or a Safe Haven Enterprise visa (SHEV) in Australia.

IMAs are now expected to lodge an application for a TPV or a SHEV to present their claims for protection and resolve their status in Australia.

IMAs who have not received their invitation to apply letter are not prevented from lodging an application.

Failure to lodge a visa application and maintain contact with us will be taken as an indication that an IMA no longer intends to seek protection in Australia. This might affect their support services, including income support and could also impact their Bridging visa. IMAs who do not lodge a TPV or SHEV application are expected to leave Australia.

If you are unable to lodge an application immediately, you must contact us and provide the reasons why, along with your client and boat identification numbers, name and date of birth.

Information on how to apply and the application forms are located in the Protection Application Information Guides.

Bridging visas for illegal maritime arrivals

A bridging visa is a temporary visa that lets holders remain in the community while their immigration status remains unresolved. The type of bridging visa that is granted to an IMA while they are waiting for their protection claims to be assessed is a Bridging visa E (BVE).

If you are living in the Australian community on a BVE, you should engage with us before your BVE expires. In some cases, you may need to come to an immigration office to be granted another BVE.

It is important for you to keep your contact details current with us. This includes the address where you live and your phone number so we can contact you with important information about your immigration status. Remember, this is also a condition of holding a bridging visa and being able to live in the community.

To update your contact details, call 1300 728 662 with your name, date of birth, boat identification number, home address and contact phone number.

IMAs living in the community on a BVE are generally permitted to work. If you are unsure whether you have permission to work, check your most recent visa grant notice. You will be allowed to work if your BVE does not have a ‘no work’ condition (condition 8101).

When you apply for a TPV or a SHEV, you will be granted a BVE that will be valid until your application has been decided. You will have permission to work and access to Medicare and other services.

Can I stay on a BVE instead of applying for a protection visa?

No. As part of being granted a BVE, you signed the Code of Behaviour. Part of the Code of Behaviour is agreeing to cooperate with Australian Government agencies. Applying for a protection visa is part of cooperating with us.

If you are unable to lodge your application before your current BVE expires, you might be able to be granted another BVE for a short period of time to allow you to complete and lodge your application.

If you are unable to lodge an application immediately, you must contact us and provide the reasons why, and provide your client and boat identification numbers along with your name and date of birth.

What happens when my bridging visa ceases?

Check your visa grant letter to find out when your bridging visa ceases. We will contact you around this time to tell you what will happen. This is why it is important that you keep your contact details current with us.

Code of Behaviour

A code of behaviour applies to all adult IMAs who are considered for the grant of a BVE by the Minister.

The code describes how people are expected to behave while they are living in the Australian community on a bridging visa. It also describes behaviour that is not tolerated in Australia.

The code of behaviour must be signed and witnessed. You will need to sign Form 1443—Code of Behaviour for Subclass 050 Bridging (General) (316KB PDF).

If you need help with this form, send an email to bvereporting@border.gov.au or talk to your service provider.

You can also read form 1444i—Code of Behaviour for Subclass 050 Bridging (General) visa holders Supporting Information, which is available in the following languages:

Family safety

Information about family safety for people who are new to Australia is available. This information explains Australia’s laws about domestic and family violence, sexual assault and forced marriage, in many community languages.

Status Resolution Support Services

Some IMAs are eligible to receive Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS). These services provide support to people while they work towards resolving their immigration status in the community. Failure to lodge an application may affect your support services.

If you are unable to lodge an application immediately, you must contact us and provide the reasons why, along with your client and boat identification numbers, name and date of birth.

Voluntary returns

You can choose to return home or to your country of lawful permanent residence at any time. If you are thinking about returning home, you might be able to get assistance from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The type of assistance is based on your individual circumstances.

Thinking of home? See more information on voluntary returns and the International Organisation for Migration.'
Close

When will I be invited to apply for a visa?

The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection has lifted the application bar for the vast majority of IMAs in Australia and invited them to apply for a Temporary Protection visa (TPV) or a Safe Haven Enterprise visa (SHEV) in Australia.

IMAs are now expected to lodge an application for a TPV or a SHEV to present their claims for protection and resolve their status in Australia.

IMAs who have not received their invitation to apply letter are not prevented from lodging an application.

Failure to lodge a visa application and maintain contact with us will be taken as an indication that an IMA no longer intends to seek protection in Australia. This might affect their support services, including income support and could also impact their Bridging visa. IMAs who do not lodge a TPV or SHEV application are expected to leave Australia.

If you are unable to lodge an application immediately, you must contact us and provide the reasons why, and include your client and boat identification numbers, name and date of birth.

Make sure that you have provided your most recent address and other contact details to us. You can do this by calling 1300 728 662.

Information on how to apply and the application forms are located in the Protection Application Information Guides.





Close

What can I do while my application is being processed?

It is important for you to keep your contact details current with us. This includes the address where you live and your phone number so we can contact you with important information about your immigration status. Remember, this is also a condition of holding a bridging visa and being able to live in the community.

Make sure that you have provided your most recent address and other contact details to us by calling 1300 728 662 with your name, date of birth, boat identification number, home address and contact phone number.

Close

What do I have to do to lodge a valid protection visa application?

You need to choose whether to apply for a TPV or a SHEV and fill out the application form.

Information to help you choose is available in the PAIG: Visa options for illegal arrivals seeking protection.

Whichever visa application form you lodge must be signed and must include all the information about you and the other people in your family, including your claims for protection and information about your identity. You should provide certified copies of documents, including identity documents, with your visa application and bring the originals of those documents to the interview. More information about the application forms is available in the PAIG: The protection visa application forms.

You must also pay the visa application charge of $35 at the time your lodge your visa application.

More information on how to lodge your visa application form is available in the PAIG: Lodging your protection visa application.

Failure to maintain contact with us and lodge a visa application will be taken as an indication that an IMA no longer intends to seek protection in Australia. This might affect their support services, including income support and could also impact their Bridging visa. IMAs who do not lodge a TPV or SHEV application are expected to leave Australia.