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Australian Refugee Foundation
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Restricting legal assistance to asylum seekers increases dangers

The Australian Government's new restrictions on access to funded legal assistance for asylum seekers will increase the risk of people being returned to danger. Read more here.

Submissions sought for 2014 UNHCR-NGO consultations

Feedback from individuals and refugee community groups is being sought on current issues of concern for people living in refugee situations overseas to help inform advocacy at the annual consultations between the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and NGOs at Geneva in June. Find out more here.

John Gibson Refugee Community Leadership Grant

Nominations are open for the annual John Gibson Refugee Community Leadership Grant which supports advocates from refugee backgrounds to take part in the UNHCR-NGO consultations at Geneva in June. Find out more here.

Stopping the boats: Australia's appalling example to the world

In a speech at a Yale Law School conference, RCOA chief executive officer Paul Power spoke about recent developments in refugee policies in Australia. Read the speech here.

No fairness and integrity in permanent Protection Visa freeze

The Australian Government's decision to suspend the granting of new permanent Protection Visas will add to the anguish of asylum seekers living in the community. Read more here.

Australia's asylum policy must change to avoid long-term damage

The Australian Government must change course on refugee policy to avoid long-term damage to the lives of asylum seekers. Read more here.

Denial of work rights for asylum seekers must be overturned

The denial of work rights to about 27,000 asylum seekers living in the community on bridging visas is creating fear and uncertainty and must be overturned. Read more here.

Manus Island disturbance a tragedy waiting to happen

The death of an asylum seeker and the injuries suffered by more than 70 others at Manus Island is an appalling tragedy and a failure of Australian Government policy. Read more here.

Refugee intake increase vital to meet urgent protection needs

RCOA has urged Australia to increase the number of refugees accepted under the offshore program to help bridge the widening gulf between global resettlement needs and available places. Read more here.

Use of Temporary Humanitarian Concern visas as an alternative to Temporary Protection Visas

The Australian Government has released details about its new alternative to Temporary Protection Visas. Read more here.

Inquiry into immigration detention of children welcomed

RCOA has welcomed an Australian Human Rights Commission inquiry into the immigration detention of children. 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.
 

Detention of asylum seekers

Australia continues to maintain a system of mandatory indefinite detention for asylum seekers arriving without authorisation, including children.

 

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