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Offshore processing statistics

Offshore processing

What is offshore processing?

Since 13 August 2012, Australia has resumed sending people 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 none of these people will ever be resettled in Australia, even if they are recognised as refugees.

Australia’s offshore processing regime

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.

Data on numbers in PNG, Nauru and resettlement to third countries is from 31 October 2020. Data on returns, removals and transfers are as at 31 September 2020. Read below for an explanation of the sources of these statistics. You can see the charts, dates of the information, the data and sources by viewing the full spreadsheet.

Key figures

Offshore_key figures_

This graph shows the latest official statistics for some key figures, mostly from 31 October 2020.

About the offshore processing statistics

The Australian Government does not provide many statistics regularly on offshore processing. The statistics on how many people are on Nauru and PNG, their nationality, the number of transfers, and the number resettled to the US or other countries is not provided regularly. Since January 2020, however, the Department has been publishing monthly updates on the numbers still in PNG and Nauru, and the numbers resettled.

Most of the information in this page has been provided through Senate estimates. Usually, the information provided in this way is already outdated by the time it is provided. As well, it should be noted that there are limitations and gaps in the data as the information depends on the way the question was asked and the frequency with which it is asked. At times, there are also discrepancies in the information provided.

The Department continues to provide the numbers removed or returned (‘voluntarily’ or involuntarily) from offshore processing countries, and now transferred from and to regional processing centres, through its monthly updates on Operation Sovereign Borders, which began in September 2013. The numbers living in the Regional Processing Centres was also published in these updates as well as more detailed breakdowns in the Department of Home Affairs’ monthly detention statistics.

The link to the spreadsheet above includes more detailed data and charts that were reported in previous versions of this page, but which have not since been updated in Senate estimates or elsewhere.

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