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

People seeking asylum by plane

People can claim asylum after they have come to Australia on a valid visa – for example, as a student or tourist. This may happen because circumstances in their home country change while they are in Australia, or because they come to Australia intending to seek asylum, as there is no visa that allows them to claim asylum before they come to Australia.

People who come by plane who can only apply for temporary protection

A small number of people also come by plane without a valid visa or are not ‘immigration cleared’, and may only claim a temporary protection visa. To gain protection, they must be ‘screened in’ at an airport (meaning they are not simply returned), and must apply for a bar on applying for a visa to be lifted. These people would also generally be detained. This graph shows the number of people who have managed to apply for a temporary protection visa in this way.

This graph shows how many were granted temporary protection in this way.

How many people are seeking asylum and arrived by plane?

The graph below shows the number of people claiming asylum after arriving by plane every month from 7 September 2013 (when the Coalition took power).

This second graph provides the number of people applying for refugee status by plane, and the number of permanent protection visas granted, for each financial year from 2013-2014.

These figures show that, since 2014-2015, the numbers of people seeking asylum by plane has jumped, but the number of those granted protection visas (granted refugee status, after merits review) has declined during the same period.

This graph shows the number of grants of permanent protection and refusals by financial year.

This graph tracks the number of lodgments made every month since November 2019. It also includes the numbers of decisions made on refugee status each month, including the numbers granted protection and the numbers not granted protection. As can be seen, relatively few people are granted protection.

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