Schedule 3: A Guide To Visa Applications For Bridging Visas Holders [Updated 2020]

Schedule 3, Nilesh Nandan Immigration Lawyer

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The Schedule 3 problem

You must satisfy the additional criteria set out in  Schedule 3 of the Migration Act when you lodge a visa application inside Australia and you are not the holder of a substantive visa at the time of application.

Are you special?

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 which demonstrate that your case is something special. Special, in terms of having a compelling element to your circumstances that allows a decision maker to waive the schedule 3 requirement.

No waiver

Unless you get a waiver or exemption if you like, of the schedule 3 requirement, you will fail an essential criteria for the grant of the visa you have applied for.

If you are unable to meet the schedule 3 requirement, by getting a waiver of the relevant  schedule 3 clause, you will ordinarily be required to go offshore (outside Australia) and to apply for the visa you desire from overseas. 

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.

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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.

Exceptions: Schedule 3

One notable exception to the schedule 3 requirement is a protection visa or visa subclass 866. There is no schedule 3 criteria which applies to this class of visa which means you can make the application onshore. 

Faster Schedule 3 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 lodged an application while holding a bridging visa, don’t expect that your case will remain un-opened for the usually long period. 

However, it’s more likely the case officers will quickly refuse your case.

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Harsher Schedule 3 Decisions

Immigration Case Officers are not required to ask you to make submissions for failing to meet Schedule 3 criteria or why the criteria should be waived. 

They can simply refuse the application without referring back to you. This means you should seek to address the criteria in detailed submissions as quickly as possible.

Confusing Schedule 3 Terminology

The wording of the Schedule can be confusing to most people. This has caused many to fail to address the issues correctly, leading to certain visa refusal. 

So, be clear about what to do. On the one hand, your submission is to argue that the criteria are in fact satisfied, or on the other hand, whether you are seeking a waiver of the criteria or both!


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

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Your Experience?

Please share your comments with me.

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

Nilesh Nandan is Australia's most sought after immigration lawyer for visa refusals and visa cancellations. Appeal your visa or get help to relodge your Australian visa application or citizenship application.
  • Hi
    My name is baljinder. I have applied 457 visa from India but I have come back to Australia as my traveling visa expired. Now I am in Australia and department asked me to send all required documents and information. But my lawyer they asking me 3000 to pay to work on schedule 3 process . But I can’t pay as I don’t have money. So its my request to you could you please help me to suggest any link or website so i can prepare my case(schedule 3) by myself. Its been 4 years I am in Australia and I have more around 3 years experience and now i have Bridging visaA.

    • These schedule 3 submissions are essential. You could meet all the normal criteria for the grant, but if you are unable to show compelling reasons within the meaning of schedule 3, then your application must be refused. I can go through what might be the strongest arguments for you. No two people will have the exactly same arguments and submissions – these need to be credible and tailored. I expect you will be rejected by the DIBP and will need to make an application to the AAT for a review of your visa refusal decision unless you have credible reasons on the one hand AND you are able to articulate and persuade the decision maker on the other hand.
      Please call me if you need my help. A standard consult fee of $370 applies.

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