Commercial Litigation Property Lawyers

Proud History, Bold Future, Since 1834

Recent change to Section 48 of Migration Act 1958

Section 48 of the Migration Act 1958 prevents a non-citizen who does not hold a substantive visa and, after entering Australia, was refused a visa or had a visa cancelled from applying a further substantive visa, except for a visa prescribed under Regulation 2.12 of the Migration Regulations 1994. This is commonly referred to as the Section 48 bar.

The prescribed list of visas under Regulation 2.12 is limited to:

  • partner visas
  • bridging visas
  • medical treatment visas
  • resolution of status visas (temporary and permanent)
  • territorial asylum visas (residence)
  • protection visas
  • subclass 444 visas for New Zealand citizens
  • child visas (residence)
  • border visas (temporary)

The effect of Section 48 provision means that a person who is affected by the section 48 bar and who wishes to apply for a visa, that is not prescribed under Regulation 2.12, must leave Australia to lodge their further substantive visa application from outside Australia.

For example, a non-citizen in Australia who has an onshore student visa application refused will not be able to lodge an employer sponsored Temporary Skill Shortage (subclass 482) visa in Australia because of section 48 bar. The applicant will have to leave Australia to lodge his visa application.

The rationale behind section 48 is to prevent applicants from lodging repeat applications with the objective of delaying their departure from Australia.

On 28 October 2021 the Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (2021 Measures No. 2) Regulations 2021 amend the Migration Regulations 1994.

Regulation 2.12 is amended to add three skilled visa classes to the list:

  • Skilled Nominated visa (subclass 190)
  • Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 491)
  • Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa (subclass 494)

This means that with effect from 13 November 2021, visa applicants subject to the section 48 bar can apply for these visas without the need to leave Australia to do so.

If this welcomed change applies to you or that of your employees or contractors, our team can assist. Please contact us at (03) 6210 0090 or via email to