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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.

There are also people who came before 13 August 2012, but did not have their protection visa application finalised by 18 September 2013. These people are assessed under the old process. The two groups are referred to by the Department as the ‘Legacy Caseload’.

The statistics are from the latest Department’s statistics at the end of February 2018.

The processing of applications

By the end of February 2018, there were 15,023 applications still on hand with the Department. This finally means the Department has finalised more than half of the applications, as there are 15,827 applications finalised by the Department. Most of those applications still with the Department are fast-track applications. The latest statistics do not break down which cases are from the ‘fast track’ cohort and those from the ‘non-fast-track’ (for people who came before the deadline for fast track, but whose claims were not finalised). In the last available statistics from 4 January 2018, there were 783 people from the non-fast-track group who had not had their claims finalised.

Line chart showing numbers at different processing stages

The big story in the past six months has been the rapid decline of the numbers of applications not yet lodged. This was primarily due to the heroic efforts of legal representatives, as the Minister announced that any applications not lodged by 1 October 2017 would be barred by law. The Department’s current statistics no longer include any applications not lodged as a result (which is why the chart records zero applications). There were, however, 71 people who did not meet this deadline who can no longer apply for asylum.

Are they being recognised as refugees?

The statistics from January 2018 no longer break down grants and refusals in relation to fast-track or non-fast-track applications. The latest statistics only allow recognition rates to be generated from visa type (whether they have a temporary protection visa or a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa).

Previous statistics show that around 70-75% of people in the fast-track process have been recognised as refugees. The percent of unsuccessful claims being processed under the non-fast-track system has been much lower (between 33-39%), until late in 2017 when the percent being recognised suddenly leapt to around 65%.

Column chart showing recognition rates by visa type
Stacked bar chart showing processing stages by visa type.

Processing by visa type

The February 2018 statistics show that the more than half of the numbers of visa finalised are now for Safe Haven Enterprise Visas, with most of the outstanding applications for Safe Haven Enterprise Visas. This is likely to reflect the fact that the conditions of the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa only became available after the initial applications were made for temporary protection visas, while non-fast-track applications which were prioritised for processing were mostly for temporary protection visas.

Line chart showing onhand applications by State

Where do those still waiting live?

Most of those who are still waiting for decisions live in Victoria and NSW. Perhaps not surprisingly, there are relatively few in the ACT, NT, and Tasmania.

Line chart showing grants by State

Where do those who have been granted protection live?

Since December 2017, the Department has also been publishing statistics on those granted protection. This follows a similar pattern, with NSW and Victoria having the largest number of temporary protection visa holders.

Are they in detention?

Nearly all applicants are currently residing within the community, with most of them currently on Bridging Visa E.

117 applicants are in immigration detention. Another 21 are subject to a residence determination.

Bar chart showing detention status