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

People seeking asylum by boat

On 30 June 2020, there were 12,450 people who had sought asylum in Australia by boat and were in the community, having been released on a Bridging Visa E.

However, 2,205 were recorded as being in the community waiting for the grant of further Bridging Visa E. This means that these people do not currently have lawful permission to stay in the community, and do not have current rights to work, study or access Medicare. This often happens because of delays in the administrative process of renewing a visa. In some cases, this is because their visas can only be renewed after the Minister personally allows for the grant of a further visa.

In an answer to a question on notice, the Department stated that 19,656 people held bridging visas E with work rights, and 8,881 held bridging visas E without study rights.

The Government has also introduced so-called ‘final departure bridging visas’. These are for people who have been transferred from offshore processing countries who are released into the community, but do not have any income support, housing or other supports. These statistics are updated in our offshore processing statistics.

Offshore processing statistics

Where are they living?

Of those who came seeking asylum by boat in our community at 30 June 2020, more than 80% were living either in Victoria or NSW. 859 people were living in Queensland, and another 537 were living in South Australia, with 526 people in WA. There were relatively few in the ACT, Tasmania and Northern Territory.

The more frequently updated fast-tracking statistics also break down the numbers of people living in different states or territories, although it focuses on a smaller group of people known as the ‘Legacy Caseload’, so the numbers do not match.

Fast-tracking statistics

These pages show statistics, by state and territory, of people who came seeking asylum by boat and who are living in our community on a Bridging E Visa (including those waiting for a grant of a new Bridging E visa).

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