Fact sheet - Bridging visas for illegal maritime arrivals

​Since November 2011, eligible illegal maritime arrivals (IMAs) have been released from immigration detention on a Bridging visa E (BVE). A Bridging visa E is a temporary visa that lets the holder remain in the community lawfully while they await resolution of their immigration status.

Illegal maritime arrivals with health, identity, security or significant behavioural issues that present a risk to the community are not recommended for the grant of a Bridging visa E.

Code of Behaviour

Since 14 December 2013, all adult illegal maritime arrivals must sign a Code of Behaviour - Form 1443 Code of Behaviour for Subclass 050 Bridging (General) (316KB PDF) before they can be considered for the grant of a Bridging visa E. The Code of Behaviour was introduced to help ensure that illegal maritime arrivals living in the community on Bridging visa Es are aware of community behavioural expectations and behave appropriately while in the Australian community.

Signing the Code of Behaviour does not impact on any other current or future visa application.

More information about the Code of Behaviour is available.

Bridging visa E conditions

All illegal maritime arrivals on Bridging visa Es have specific visa conditions which they must abide by.  The conditions attached to Bridging visa Es can vary and are detailed in the grant letter for each Bridging visa E granted. 

All illegal maritime arrival Bridging visa E holders are required, however, to report to the Department as specified, and notify the Department of any change of address two days in advance. 

illegal maritime arrivals granted a Bridging visa E since July 2013 have a condition that they not engage in criminal conduct.  Adult illegal maritime arrivals who have been granted a Bridging visa E since 14 December 2013 have a condition attached to their visa that they must not breach the Code of Behaviour.

Failure to follow the conditions of their visa can result in the illegal maritime arrival having their Bridging visa E cancelled.  For example, if the visa has a condition that they not engage in criminal conduct and the Bridging visa E holder is charged with a criminal offence, their visa could be cancelled and they could be returned to immigration detention.  A criminal conviction can also affect their chances of being able to get another visa to live in Australia in the future.  If a Bridging visa E holder breaches the Code of Behaviour, they could also be counselled on their behaviour, their income support could be reduced or ceased or they could have their Bridging visa E cancelled. 

Bridging visa E holders work permission

An illegal maritime arrival is allowed to work if their Bridging visa E does not have a 'no work' condition (condition 8101).  The most recent visa grant letter will set out the conditions for a person's visa. Whether a Bridging visa E holder has permission to work will depend on the individual circumstances of their case, including how they arrived in Australia, whether they have made a visa application and whether any decisions have been made in relation to that application.

illegal maritime arrivals could be eligible for the grant of a further Bridging visa E with work rights while they are waiting to apply for a temporary Protection visa or are going through a protection process.  The Department will contact individuals if and when it is possible to grant them a Bridging visa E with permission to work.

Assistance for Bridging visa E holders

Before their release into the community on a Bridging visa E, illegal maritime arrivals are assessed to determine their personal circumstances, level of need, existing support networks and their stage in the immigration status resolution process. This assessment is used to identify what, if any, transitional and ongoing support might be required.

Those who need some assistance could be eligible for support under the Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS) programme. Payments to those illegal maritime arrivals who are eligible for support under the SRSS programme are administered by the Department of Human Services on behalf of the immigration department. The payments are not Centrelink benefits, but are made available through Centrelink service arrangements.

illegal maritime arrivals on Bridging visa Es are eligible for Medicare assistance while their bridging visa is valid. If their Bridging visa E has ceased, they could be eligible to receive medical support through the SRSS programme.

Access to education for Bridging visa E holders

All school-age children are expected to attend school. Service providers are contracted by the Australian Government to assist illegal maritime arrival Bridging visa E holders with school aged children with enrolling the children and providing other support.

Frequently Asked Questions