Schedule 3: A Guide To Visa Applications For Bridging Visas Holders [2024]

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The Schedule 3 Problem

If you make an application when inside Australia while holding a bridging visa or no Australian visa at all, rather than a substantive visa, you need to check if you have a schedule 3 issue. 

If you hold a substantive visa when you make a further application in Australia for a visa, then there is no schedule 3 issue.

The Department creates a problem for you if you hold a bridging visa when applying when in Australia. The Department really prefers applicants to exit after the substantive visa has expired. The Department prefers to reapply for a visa offshore in misty cases. 

This is problematic to applicants that have no compelling reason as to why they should be able to lodge a further application in Australia rather than from offshore.

The Department’s logic is that if you are a genuine applicant for a new visa, then you should lodge a further application as quickly as possible (before your current visa expires).

Have you failed to meet schedule 3 requirements?

Are You Special?

The wording of Schedule 3 is confusing. This has caused many to fail to understand the issue and address the issue correctly, resulting in visa refusal. 

The problem Schedule 3 creates for bridging visa holders is that you need special submissions to be made (and accepted) by the Department of Home Affairs. 

Simply, you’ll write a letter that demonstrates why your case is something unique. “Special” in terms of having a compelling aspect of your circumstances. You’ll need to persuade a decision-maker to waive the schedule 3 requirement. Of course, you’ll need to meet the other standard requirements for the class of visa you are applying for.

Do you need help preparing the best submission for your visa application? Speak to me today.

No Waiver

Unless you are successful in meeting the schedule 3 criteria, you will fail an essential element required for the grant of the visa you have applied for.

If you are unable to meet the schedule 3 requirement, you will usually be required to go offshore (outside Australia) and apply for the visa you desire from overseas.

However, please note that not all visas allow for discretion (that your case is special) to be exercised in your favour. In some cases, it will not matter what submissions you make, you’ll be dead in the water because there is no discretion for a decision maker to make any determination that you met schedule 3. Book a chat with me to see if you can meet schedule 3.

Remember, Schedule 3 criteria do not apply to visa holders who make applications inside Australia if they hold a substantive visa – a visa other than a bridging visa.

What Is A Substantive Visa?

You can take a look at the Migration Act for a nerdy answer, but for the purposes of this post,  you can think of a substantive visa as anything other than a bridging visa.

Schedule 3 Immigration Lawyer Nilesh Nandan

Exceptions: Schedule 3

One notable exception to the schedule 3 problem is a protection visa (visa subclass 866). There are no schedule 3 criteria that apply to this class of visa.

Faster Refusals

Immigration Case Officers are now quickly refusing visas based solely on a failure to meet Schedule 3 criteria. They are not necessarily looking at other substantive criteria. 

So if you have applied while holding a bridging visa, don’t expect that your case will take as long as others of the same class. It could be refused faster. It is very possible departmental case officers will quickly refuse your case simply because schedule 3 is not met.

Harsher Schedule 3 Decisions

Immigration Case Officers are not required to ask you to make submissions for failing to meet Schedule 3 criteria.

They can simply refuse the application without referring to you. You should seek to address the criteria in detailed submissions as quickly as possible after lodgement.

Help With Schedule 3 Problems

Call me to discuss how to respond in your case and book now for a consultation!

Your Experience?

Please share your comments with me.

I’d love to know more about your experience applying for this visa subclass!

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