section 48. Before the Department can consider a visa application, it is important for Visa applicants to make a valid application. This would mean that at the time of lodgement of the application, care must be taken that certain requirements, e.g. using the correct application form, being onshore/offshore as is the requirement at that point of time, paying the correct visa fee, etc are met.

What is Section 48?

Section 48 of the Migration Act is an example of a very significant legislative constraint. A visa application will be considered invalid if it is prevented by Section 48 of the Migration Act.

This Section applies to certain former visa holders, e.g. non-citizens in Australia who hold a bridging visa, enforcement visa, or criminal justice visa, and who have had a visa refused or canceled since the time they last entered Australia.


However, there is a provision in the legislation for an exemption to this rule, and applicants who are subject to Section 48 may still be able to apply for a select number of prescribed visas such as:

  • Protection visa
  • Partner visa
  • Bridging visa
  • Medical Treatment visa
  • Child visa

S48 bar now lifted

From 13th November 2021, the Department has amended the legislation to include more visa types to this list. Applicants who are subject to Section 48 may now be permitted to make a valid visa application onshore for three skilled visa classes, viz:

Skilled Nominated (Permanent) Subclass 190

 Work Skill Regional (Provisional) Subclass 491

Employer Skilled-Sponsored Regional (Provisional) Subclass 494


With this change in the legislation, applications will be facilitated in Australia by those who were prevented from leaving the country due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions, even though they have met all other requirements for making a visa application.

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