What to do if your bridging visa does not have work rights

Bridging visas are mostly automatically issued when an application for a substantive visa is made. Some must be granted after you apply for  it separately. It is very important to read through the bridging visa grant notice letter. Being in the same class of visa e.g. Bridging Visa A (BVA) does not necessarily mean that the associated work conditions are the standard across the board. At the very end of your grant notice letter, you will find information detailing your your work rights (if any).

Now, what then if you receive a bridging visa that doesn’t have work rights? Very few people have the luxury of being able to live for extended periods without working and we all know how long visa applications can take to be finalised. Before you start stocking up on cup noodles and look for a room to share with 5 others, do know that there is an opportunity for you to request for work rights on the grounds of financial hardship.

To do this you will need to complete Form 1005 and apply under “Change of bridging visa conditions”.


DIBP Gobbledygook on Form 1005

“(b) Change of bridging visa conditions You can apply for a bridging visa with change of conditions if you hold a bridging visa A, B, C or E.

If you are seeking unlimited permission to work, you should demonstrate a need to work, either because of financial hardship, or because you have been sponsored or nominated for employment in an ‘approved appointment’ as part of a substantive visa application.”


What this means..

It means that it is possible to apply for permission to work on all bridging visas, except for the bridging visa D. You can only apply for permission to work on the grounds of financial hardship, unless you are on an employer sponsored visa.

Further to completing the form, it is essential that you submit along with the application, any evidence that you can procure that will support that you are struggling financially. This will come in the form of bank statements, invoices and receipts of necessary living expenses, and if applicable, loans and mortgages. Recent costs of moving to Australia, if applicable can also be used. Whether or not financial support is available from other people will also be considered, so if your application is for a partner visa, be sure to also submit the same for your partner, as your partner is obligated to support you. It would be good to include a cover letter explaining your hardship and a short breakdown of incoming (e.g. partner) and expenses. Include details that you deem relevant, for example, that your partner has recently lost their job or have to be supporting their parents.

If you are on an employer sponsored visa (457, 186 or 187), you will be able to apply for permission to work for your sponsor if you are in an ‘approved appointment’. This means that you apply for work rights if your 3 step applications has the first 2 stages – Standard Business Sponsor and Nomination – already approved and you are only waiting for your visa grant.

There is no application fee for this application but as it is not an online submission, it will require a visit to a DIBP office or must be posted. There is no published expected processing time but typically one should hear a response in and around b a month.

Do note that you will not be able to apply to remove work limitations if:
  • you are seeking permission to work in relation to a protection visa application made on or after 1 July 1997, and you have spent 45 days or more in Australia in the 12 months before the date you applied for the protection visa (unless you held a substantive visa when you applied for the protection visa and the department has not made a decision on the protection visa application within 6 months); or
  • you hold a Bridging visa E because you are seeking ministerial intervention (except in limited circumstances) or judicial review.
If you are the holder of a Bridging visa E and are seeking to change the condition(s) of the visa, you must demonstrate that you will abide by the conditions sought; and if applicable, you will provide reasons:
  • for changing arrangements to depart; or
  • to make a visa application; or
  • for changing the period in which a valid travel document must be obtained and presented to the department to make a visa application.