Refugee Council of Australia
Colorful graphs

How many people seeking asylum have come by boat?

Boat turnbacks


Between 2001-2003, Australia adopted a policy of forcibly returning boats, known as Operation Relex. This graph shows the number of people turned back under this policy.

line chart showing numbers of people turned back

A similar policy, known as Operation Sovereign Borders, was reintroduced in 2013. This graph combines the statistics consolidated by the Parliamentary Library with known statistics, but these are irregularly reported from various sources.

Australia’s asylum policies

In the last Senate estimates, the Government confirmed that so far 827 people had been intercepted on 34 boats. These included a boat of 10 people which was turned back in June 2018, and another one of 17 people from Vietnam, all of whom were sent back to Vietnam.

Note: the apparent ‘peaks’ in this graph are partly caused by unknown data for some boats.

Line graph showing boat turnbacks

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