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Government must stop deception and do more to protect Iraqis

The Australian Government must stop trying to deceive Australians about its recent cuts to the Refugee and Humanitarian Program and start acting to increase protection options for Iraqi and Syrian refugees. Read more here.

Welfare system review needs greater focus on humanitarian entrants

The Federal Government review of Australia's welfare system must pay more attention to addressing barriers faced by refugees and humanitarian entrants. Read more here.

MPs hear community concerns about weakening protection against race hate

RCOA today welcomed the Australian Government's decision not to proceed with changes to the Racial Discrimination Act. Read more here.

Refugee Council appalled by claims of cruelty to children in detention

RCOA said it was appalled by allegations made today at a national inquiry which if true amounted to the systemic abuse of children. Read more here.

Independent guardian needed to protect interests of child asylum seekers

RCOA has welcomed the release of a new report that recommends the replacement of the Immigration Minister as the guardian of unaccompanied asylum seeker children. Read more here.

Allowing Indian consular access to asylum seekers ignores protection claims

Australia's decision to grant Indian consular officials access to 157 asylum seekers without testing their claims for refugee protection creates a troubling precedent. Read more here.

Government removes Refugee Council's core funding

The Australian Government has completely cut core funding to RCOA despite allocating $140,000 just two weeks ago in its 2014-15 Budget. Read more here.

Child asylum seekers locked up at higher rate than adults

Child asylum seekers are more likely than their adult counterparts to be held in Australia in a locked detention facility than in community alternatives. Read more here.

Australia's answers on return of asylum seekers to Sri Lanka unsatisfactory

RCOA has demanded Australia explain what has happened to 41 asylum seekers returned to Sri Lanka and what guarantees were given about their safety. Read more here.

RCOA backs call for independent observer for screening process

RCOA has endorsed a call for an independent observer to be present during the interviews of asylum seekers under enhanced screening. Read more here.

Lives on the line under proposed changes to Migration Act

RCOA has expressed alarm at proposed changes to the Migration Act 1958 which will significantly increase the risk of people being returned to danger. Read our media release.

UN High Commissioner criticises Australia's 'strange' obsession with boats

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has described as "very strange" Australia's obsession with deterring asylum seekers who arrive by boat. Read more here.

Cambodian NGOs unite in opposition to Australia's refugee deal

RCOA has welcomed a joint statement issued by a coalition of 21 Cambodian NGOs who oppose the planned refugee resettlement deal between Cambodia and Australia. Read more here.

Running an asylum policy on cruelty leads to deadly consequences

RCOA President Phil Glendenning fears a repeat of the tragic self-immolation of a Tamil asylum seeker in Melbourne unless Australia abandoned its cruel and punitive policy approach. Read more here.

Refugee review changes a matter of life and death for asylum seekers

Proposed legislation aimed at fast-tracking refugee claims will take legal resources away from asylum seekers and hand them to the Australian Government, increasing the risk of vulnerable people being sent back to danger. Read more here.

Critical questions about Manus Island violence remain unanswered

The Australian Government's explanation for February's violence on Manus Island is inadequate and leaves critical questions unanswered. Read more here.

Federal Budget summary 2014-15

RCOA has released a summary of refugee-related spending in the 2014-15 Federal Budget. Read more here.

Detention centre closures must be accompanied by community alternatives

RCOA has welcomed plans to close six immigration detention centres but called for greater use of community arrangements for more than 3000 asylum seekers in detention. Read more here.

Enough is Enough: It's time for a new approach

On the first anniversary of the report on the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, 64 Australian NGOs have called for a new approach to refugee and asylum policy that delivers protection to refugees. Read more here.
 

Refugee Week

Refugee Week is Australia's peak annual activity to inform the public about refugees and celebrate positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society.

 

Statistics on asylum seekers arriving in Australia

Note: There may be some inconsistencies between the following tables due to variations in the data sources used.

Onshore asylum applications lodged, 2001-02 to 2012-13

Year Protection Visa applications
(plane arrivals)
Protection requests
from boat arrivals
Total onshore applications
2001-02 7,026 2,222 9,248
2002-03 4,960 60 5,020
2003-04 3,485 87 3,572
2004-05 3,062 146 3,208
2005-06 3,191 101 3,292
2006-07 3,723 23 3,746
2007-08 3,987 21 4,008
2008-09 5,027 678 5,750
2009-10 5,981 4,597 10,578
2010-11 6,335 5,166 11,501
2011-12 7,063 7,373 14,436
2012-13 8,308 18,119 26,427
*Irregular Maritime Arrivals

Primary grant rate (plane arrivals), 2006-07 to 2012-13

Year Grants Refusals Total decisions Grant rate
2006-07 896 2,719 3,615 24.8%
2007-08 1,295 2,413 3,708 34.9%
2008-09 1,598 2,982 4,580 34.9%
2009-10 1,707 3,033 4,740 36.0%
2010-11 1,388 4,104 5,492 25.3%
2011-12 1,467 4,325 5,792 25.3%
2012-13 1,691 3,403 5,094 33.2%

Refugee Review Tribunal outcomes (plane arrivals), 2006-07 to 2012-13

Year Affirmed Remitted Withdrawn No
jurisdiction
Total decisions Remit rate*
2006-07 2,202 629 52 199 3,102 22.2%
2007-08 1,661 422 33 202 2,318 20.3%
2008-09 1,787 468 29 178 2,462 20.8%
2009-10 1,540 514 21 82 2,157 25.0%
2010-11 1,814 626 53 110 2,603 25.7%
2011-12 1,899 748 86 69 2,802 28.3%
2012-13 1,798 612 83 89 2,582 25.4%

*Excludes cases which were withdrawn or in which it was found that the RRT had no jurisdiction to review the case.

Final grant rate (plane arrivals), 2006-07 to 2012-13

Year Grants Refusals Total decisions Grant rate
2006-07 1,692 2,651 4,343 39.0%
2007-08 1,898 2,107 4,005 47.4%
2008-09 2,173 2,616 4,789 45.4%
2009-10 2,364 2,266 4,630 51.1%
2010-11 2,099 2,737 4,836 43.4%
2011-12 2,272 2,826 5,100 44.6%
2012-13 2,555 2,719 5,274 48.4%

Primary grant rate (boat arrivals), 2008-09 to 2012-13

Year Grants Refusals Total decisions Grant rate
2008-09 209 10 219 95.4%
2009-10 2,134 739 2,873 74.3%
2010-11 1,994 3,259 5,253 38.0%
2011-12 2,708 1,205 3,913 69.2%
2012-13 3,475 1,670 5,145 67.5%

Review outcomes (boat arrivals), 2009-10 to 2012-13

Year Affirmed Overturned Total decisions Overturn rate
2009-10 26 55 81 67.9%
2010-11 141 989 1,130 87.5%
2011-12 457 2,658 3,115 85.3%
2012-13 669 1,324 1,993 66.4%

Final grant rate (boat arrivals), 2008-09 to 2012-13

Year Grants Refusals Total decisions Grant rate
2008-09 209 0 209 100%
2009-10 2,152 26 2,178 98.8%
2010-11 2,721 134 2,855 95.3%
2011-12 4,766 454 5,220 91.3%
2012-13 4,949 675 5,624 88.0%

As at 2012-13, updated figures for refusals and total decisions have not been provided. The figures in this table have been calculated based on available figures for grants and grant rates.

Asylum seekers arriving by boat, by financial year, 1 July 1975 to 30 June 2013

Year Number
of boats
Number
of people
  Year Number
of boats
Number
of people
*
1975-76 1 5   1995-96 14 589
1976-77 7 204   1996-97 13 365
1977-78 43 1432   1997-98 13 157
1978-79 6 351   1998-99 42 921
1979-80 2 56   1999-2000 75 4,175
1980-81 1 30   2000-01 54 4,137
1981-82 0 0   2001-02 19 3,039
1982-83 0 0   2002-03 0 0
1983-84 0 0   2003-04 3 82
1984-85 0 0   2004-05 0 0
1985-86 0 0   2005-06 8 61
1986-87 0 0   2006-07 4 133
1987-88 0 0   2007-08 3 25
1988-89 0 0   2008-09 23 985
1989-90 3 224   2009-10 117 5,327
1990-91 5 158   2010-11 89 4,730
1991-92 3 78   2011-12 110 7,983
1992-93 4 194   2012-13 403 24,173
1993-94 6 194   Total 1,089 61,870
1994-95 21 1,071        
*Excludes crew.

Asylum seekers arriving by boat, by calendar year, 1 January 1976 to 31 December 2013

Year Number
of boats
Number
of people
  Year Number
of boats
Number
of people
1976 60 111   1996 19 660
1977 868   1997 11 339
1978 746   1998 17 200
1979 304   1999 86 3,721
1980 0   2000 51 2,939
1981 30   2001 43 5,516
1982 - 0   2002 1 1
1983 - 0   2003 1 53
1984 - 0   2004 1 15
1985 - 0   2005 4 11
1986 - 0   2006 6 60
1987 - 0   2007 5 148
1988 - 0   2008 7 161
1989 1 26   2009 60 2,726
1990 2 198   2010 134 6,555
1991 6 214   2011 69 4,565
1992 6 216   2012 278 17,202
1993 3 81   2013 300 20,587
1994 18 953   Total 1,196 69,445
1995 7 237        

Sources

Department of Immigration and Citizenship annual publication Asylum Trends, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics

Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2011). Submission to the Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Immigration Detention Network, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/pdf/2011/diac-jscaidn-submission-sept11.pdf

Phillips, J. & Spinks, H. (2013). Boat arrivals in Australia since 1976. Parliamentary Library, http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1314/BoatArrivals

 

Last updated February 2014