3. Access to a valid visa
The current visa system, which sees people apply for a bridging visa renewal and face either months-long delays or refusals without clear reasons, means that people who have made every effort to engage in the process face being left without regular visa status, with no rights or entitlements. Further flexibility should be applied to deadline extensions and visa conditions (like access to Medicare and work rights). While community legal centres continue to operate remotely, many charities and volunteer organisations who assisted people in filling forms related to visa applications and renewals have had to suspend these services. This creates a significant barrier for people to remain lawful and maintain their access to rights that are linked to visas, including Medicare and work rights. We need visa security for all: security in the visa they hold, security in knowing their applications will be processed in a timely way, and security in knowing they will have work rights and Medicare. Visa grants and renewals need to be simplified and prompt.