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Migration Amendment (Bridging Visas) Regulations 2024

The Migration Amendment (Bridging Visas) Regulations 2024, as authorised under the Migration Act 1958, introduce significant clarifications and adjustments to the existing framework for granting Bridging R (Class WR) visas (BVR). These changes, promulgated by the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, and Multicultural Affairs, aim to refine the process for awarding BVRs to eligible non-citizens who may find themselves unlawfully in Australia or holding a visa other than a substantive, criminal justice, or enforcement visa at the time of the grant.

The necessity for these amendments arises from the operational requirements following the High Court's decision in NZYQ v Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs [2023] HCA 37 on 8 November 2023. This judgment underscored the importance of BVRs in managing the immigration statuses of non-citizens released from immigration detention, ensuring they are subject to enforceable visa conditions conducive to community safety and individual circumstances.

Prior to these amendments, the Migration Regulations 1994 stipulated conditions under which a BVR could be granted without an application from the non-citizen, specifically catering to initial grants and subsequent grants where modification of visa conditions was deemed necessary for community protection purposes. The amended regulations eliminate the prerequisite for a non-citizen to already possess a BVR to qualify for a subsequent grant, facilitating a more streamlined and responsive administration of the BVR scheme.

Key modifications include:

  • An adjustment to regulation 2.04 affirming that the circumstances under which a visa may be granted, as generally outlined in Schedule 2 to the Regulations, are subject to the detailed provisions of other regulatory clauses, including subregulation 2.25AB(2).
  • A revision of regulation 2.25AB to abolish the need for possessing a BVR to be eligible for a subsequent grant under this regulation, replacing it with a requirement for the Minister to ascertain that the non-citizen does not hold a substantive visa, criminal justice visa, or enforcement visa.

These amendments have been assessed for compatibility with human rights, concluding that they are in alignment with the principles and freedoms recognized in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011. Consultations with various Commonwealth agencies were conducted in the development of these regulations, aligning with section 17 of the Legislation Act 2003.

The Migration Amendment (Bridging Visas) Regulations 2024, registered on the Federal Register of Legislation, are set to commence the day following their registration. These amendments are deemed necessary for the effective management of Australia's visa program, allowing for swift adjustments to policy settings in response to evolving immigration requirements and ensuring the government's capability to efficiently administer the operation of Australia's immigration system.

Source: Migration-Amendment-Bridging-Visas-Regulations-2024.pdf and Migration-Amendment-Bridging-Visas-Regulations-2024-Explanatory-Statement.pdf

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