Refugee Council of Australia
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Home > Statistics > Statistics on people seeking asylum in the community

Statistics on people seeking asylum in the community

This page has been updated to include data from the Bridging Visa E statistics as at 31 December 2020, and monthly updates on plane arrivals as at 28 February 2021.

There are thousands of people seeking asylum living in the Australian community. Some of these people have come to Australia by plane, and sought asylum afterwards. Some of them have come to Australia by boat.

The way they came affects whether they are detained, the conditions of their visas, and how their claim for protection is determined. This page includes statistics for people seeking asylum living in the Australian community, including those who come by plane (plane arrivals) and those who come by boat (boat arrivals).

Australia’s asylum policies

This page does not include statistics relating to people seeking asylum who are in detention, including ‘community detention’ (a form of detention where people are housed in the community, but must live in a place specified by the government). These statistics are reported separately and are included in our detention statistics.

Statistics on people in detention

Asylum statistics in Australia

The way people come to Australia also affects the way statistics are reported. There are fewer statistics on people who came by plane. There are more detailed statistics on people who came by boat, but its publication has varied over time.

The Department of Home Affairs has published some data on those who have come by plane since 2014-2015, although this has been irregular. We have supplemented this with data provided through answers to questions on notice in Parliament. Since November 2019, the Department is required by the Australian Parliament to publish monthly updates on the processing of onshore protection claims (note that unlike those who came by boat, people who came to Australia by plane and apply for protection onshore are entitled to permanent protection).

This page also publishes statistics relating to people who came by boat and are living in the community on a ‘Bridging Visa E’ (the type of visa they are on). These statistics have been published roughly quarterly over the past few years, and provides details of where people are living in their community, their gender, age, and nationality.

You can see the date of the data at the top of this page.

This data overlaps with some of the same data reported in the fast-tracking statistics now published by the Department, which are published monthly. We publish another page that tracks this data separately.

Fast tracking statistics

Other statistics come from answers to questions on notice to Senate estimates. You can view or download the data here or from the links under the graphs. You can also reuse the graphs on Datawrapper River.

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