Statistics on people in detention in Australia

The Department of Home Affairs (formerly the Department of Immigration and Border Protection) publishes on its website monthly and yearly statistics about  people it detains. Its monthly statistics include the number of people in detention facilities in Australia, offshore processing centres, and in the community (either under a ‘residence determination’, or with a ‘bridging visa’.)

The following statistics focus on detention in Australia. There are different kinds of places where people are detained, known as Immigration Detention Centres (IDCs), Immigration Residential Housing (IRHs), Immigration Transit Accommodation (ITAs), and Alternative Places of Detention (APODs).

Please note that as of 12 November 2018, the latest official statistics are still only from 31 August 2018.

You can download the graphs and the data here. You can also click on a graph to view a larger version.

Key numbers (31 August 2018):

  • Numbers of people in held detention: 1,303 with key sites being Villawood (485) and Yongah Hill (306)
  • Average length of detention: 468 days, with 273people having spent more than 730 days in detention
  • Numbers of people held in detention because they came seeking asylum by boat: 231
  • Number of children: in detention facilities including ‘Alternative Places of Detention’: less than 5, in community detention: 185, and in the community on a bridging visa E: 2,756
  • Number of people in community detention: 413,from Iran (234), stateless (48) or from Sri Lanka (33), with 244 people having spent more than 730 days in community detention
  • Key nationalities of people in detention: New Zealand (180), Iran (106), Vietnam (102), and Sri Lanka (81).
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Fast tracking statistics

There are still 11,513 people waiting for a decision under the 'fast track' process by the Department of Home Affairs. Most are still being granted protection, with 71% of people in the Legacy Caseload being granted protection, with a higher rate of 74% for Safe Haven Enterprise Visas. Most of them are waiting in Victoria (5,622) and NSW (4,465) with significant numbers also in South Australia (614) and Queensland (491). Most of those still waiting are from Iran (36%), Sri Lanka (16%), stateless (13%), Afghanistan (10%). Almost all of them (11,398) are living in the community on a Bridging Visa E, but there are still 100 of them in held detention.
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Operation Sovereign Borders and offshore processing statistics

3,127 people have been sent to Nauru or PNG as part of offshore processing arrangements since 19 July 2013. As of 21 October 2018: 1,278 people (including 52 children) are still on Nauru or PNG (note: this number is constantly changing with transfers, with the latest estimate by refugee groups being 27 children as of 5 November 2018). 415 people have been resettled in the US, and 188 people have been rejected for US resettlement as of the same date. By far the largest number of those refused are from Iran (91), although 16 Iranians have been accepted. There are 495 recognised refugees left in PNG, and 541 recognised refugees on Nauru. There are 107 families on Nauru, including 52 families with minors.
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An unnecessary penalty: Economic impacts of changes to the Status Resolution Support Services

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Red Cross celebrates 25 years of supporting people seeking asylum

In 2018, Australian Red Cross found out it would no longer be funded by the Australian Government to provide support to people seeking asylum under the Status Resolution Support Services program. The end of the contract proved a perfect time to celebrate the work the Red Cross has done in providing support to people seeking asylum in its remarkable report, 'Changing Lives, Changing Minds, Changing Rules'.
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Kids Off Nauru

Children and their families are trapped on the island of Nauru in cruel and inhumane conditions without adequate health, education or employment options. The Refugee Council of Australia is part of a coalition of NGOs which are calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to free the children trapped on Nauru by Universal Children's Day.
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