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 using 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. This graph shows the number of people in the Legacy Caseload and what has happened to them.
This graph shows the number of babies born to people in the 'Legacy Caseload', and what has happened to them.
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.
The first graph shows the number of people in the 'Legacy Caseload' still waiting for their applications to be finalised.
The second graph shows the percentage of people in the Legacy Caseload being found to be refugees or otherwise owed protection.
This graph shows the number of visa grants and refusals under fast-tracking.
The last graph shows the key numbers for the Immigration Assessment Authority, which reviews fast-track decisions.