By Traci Chen | Lawyer | MARA no. 1793395
If you have overstayed your visa, then you are an unlawful non-citizen in Australia, and you are at risk of being detained and removed from Australia. Overstaying your visa for more than 28 days means any future applications will be subject to an exclusion period- which means you will be unable to be granted a visa to travel to Australia for a minimum of 3 years.
My client Jenny came in to see me when she realised she had overstayed her visa by 6 months. She was on a student visa, and mistakenly mistook the expiry date on her Confirmation for Enrolment as her visa expiry date.
She was now an unlawful non-citizen in Australia, so what could she do?
As soon as we became aware of this, we applied for a Bridging Visa E which was granted, giving her a few weeks to arrange for her departure from Australia. Jenny had already completed half of her university course thus far, and if she couldn’t return to Australia, it would have been an incredible shame given the time, money and effort she had already invested into her studies. She left Australia as an unlawful non-citizen due to her staying more than 28 days after her student visa expired and was therefore subject to the Public Interest Criterion 4014.
However, exceptions do apply if there are compelling circumstances that affect the interests of Australia.
We assisted Jenny in re-submitting a new student visa offshore when she returned to China, and we prepared submissions citing relevant case laws where the three-year exclusion period was waived under similar circumstances. Jenny was granted her student visa on January 2019.
This is just one example of how imperative it is to seek legal advice to confirm you comply with all your visa conditions, ensuring you don’t end up as an unlawful non-citizen in Australia.
Furthermore, every situation is different, and it may be possible to request for a waiver to lift any restrictions that may be imposed on you.