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Tribunal: Member D Barker

The AAT has remitted a decision of the Department of Home Affairs (the Department) for reconsideration, after finding an applicant for a subclass 020 Bridging B visa had substantial reasons for travel.

A person who wishes to leave and re-enter Australia on a Bridging B visa, while their application for a substantive visa is being processed, must demonstrate they have ‘substantial’ reasons for doing so.[1] The meaning of substantial is not legally defined, although the Department provides guidelines that refer to ordinary dictionary definitions such as ‘real’, ‘actual’ and ‘important’.

The applicant claimed he needed to leave Australia to accompany and support his wife, along with their two children, while she was treated for a mental health condition in a third country. He also claimed his marriage was under pressure and there was a real risk his wife would start divorce proceedings.

In considering whether the applicant’s need to accompany his wife was important or real and genuine, the AAT took into account the value of his support to his wife’s mental health and the best interests of their children. In doing so, the AAT found the applicant’s reasons for travel were substantial and consequently he met the relevant criteria for the Bridging B visa.[2]

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[1] Migration Regulations 1994 (Cth), cl 020.212(3), sch 2.

[2] Migration Regulations, cl 020.212(3), sch 2.