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Fast tracking and ‘Legacy Caseload’ statistics

In December 2014, the Australian Government changed the way it determined the refugee claims of people who came by boat. The Australian Government calls this new process ‘fast tracking‘. This affects people who came by boat on or after 13 August 2012. This page tracks this process in the fast tracking statistics published by the Australian Government.

There are also people who came before 13 August 2012, but did not have their protection visa application finalised by 18 September 2013 (when the Liberals and Nationals came into power). These people are assessed under the old process (non-fast-track).

How Australia determines if a person is a refugee

Previously, the statistics published by the Department identified these two groups separately, but it has not done so since January 2018, when there were still 783 ‘non-fast-track’ cases on hand.

These are the two largest groups that form what the Department calls the ‘Legacy Caseload’. As well, the term includes:

  • people seeking asylum who arrived by boat up until 31 December 2013, but were not transferred to Nauru or PNG under the policy of offshore processing
  • a small number of people seeking asylum by boat who have through legislation been included in the fast-tracking process
  • babies born to people in the ‘Legacy Caseload’.

As people leave Australia and as babies are born, the number of people in the ‘Legacy Caseload’ changes. On 30 September 2019, there were 32,469 people in the Legacy Caseload.

Learn more: ‘Lives on hold’ (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2019)

‘Fast tracking’ replaced the previous independent merits review system with a new body, called the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA). Under new rules, the IAA would no longer hear directly from people claiming asylum, and would generally be restricted to information before the Department of Immigration.

This information is produced from the Legacy Caseload statistics provided by the Department of Home Affairs (formerly the Department of Immigration and Border Protection) and by the Immigration Assessment Authority. As this data is separately produced, the latest data is often reported at different dates. The current statistics from the Department of Home Affairs is for 1 April 2021. The latest data from the Immigration Assessment Authority is for 31 March 2021. Other data has been included from answers to question on notice at Senate estimates. You can download the data, including source information, on the fast-tracking process here or by using the links in each graph. You can also reuse the graphs on Datawrapper River.

Key points

This first graph shows the number of people in the ‘Legacy Caseload’ still waiting for their applications to be processed.

This second graph shows the percentage of people in the Legacy Caseload being found to be refugees or otherwise owed protection.

This last graph shows the key numbers for the Immigration Assessment Authority, which reviews fast-track decisions.

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