What is offshore processing?
Since 13 August 2012, Australia has resumed sending people who came by boat to Australia seeking asylum to Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea under a policy of offshore processing. Since 19 July 2013, the Australian Government’s policy is that no one in this group will ever be resettled in Australia, even if they are recognised as refugees.
How many people have been offshore? How many are still there? Where have they ended up? This page consolidates a range of offshore processing statistics, from official and unofficial sources.
If you are looking for statistics on people who have been transferred to Australia for medical treatment (including the ‘Medevac refugees’), you can go directly to this page.
The graph shows what has happened to those sent to offshore processing.
However, the outcomes have been very different for those who were transferred to offshore processing before and after 19 July 2013. These two graphs show what has happened to these different groups.
Those who were transferred before 19 July 2013 are mostly still in Australia, living in the community.
In contrast, many of those transferred since 19 July 2013 have been either resettled to a third country or returned to their country or origin.
About the offshore processing statistics
This page collects data from a range of sources:
- since January 2020, the Department has been publishing monthly updates on the number of people still in PNG and Nauru, and the numbers resettled. However, from 31 December 2021, it no longer publishes data on those in PNG, on the basis that Australia's offshore processing agreement with PNG has ended.
- the Australian Border Force publishes monthly updates on removals (forced returns) or 'voluntary' returns from offshore processing through its monthly updates on Operation Sovereign Borders
- most information has been released through Senate estimates, when Senators can ask the government questions on the administration of government, but this information is usually outdated by the time it is released and is often limited by how and when the question was asked
- data on the numbers living in Regional Processing Centres was published in earlier Operation Sovereign Borders updates as well as in more detail in the Department of Home Affairs' monthly detention statistics.
Sources and data
You can see the data and sources using the links under each chart, and you can also reuse the charts using Datawrapper River.