Living in the community

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

Bridging visas

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 you as an IMA, while you are waiting for your 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 might 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 Temporary Protection visa (TPV) or a Safe Haven Enterprise visa (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. If you are 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.

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 1443Code 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 (192KB PDF), 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 might affect your support services.

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.