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Tents in Manus Island regional processing centre
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Offshore processing statistics

How many people are on Nauru and PNG?

Since offshore processing began, 3,127 people have been sent to Nauru or Papua New Guinea (PNG) since 19 July 2013, when the Australian Government changed its policy so that these people would never be resettled. (Offshore processing began in September 2012, but we do not yet have the numbers on how many were sent during this period.)

How many are there still on Nauru and PNG?

The numbers on Nauru and Manus regularly change, and the most detailed breakdowns are provided through Senate estimates. The graphs below are based on this data. However, there are occasionally more recent statistics provided to the media by the Australian Government. On 28 February 2019, it was reported that there were 394 people left on Nauru, 580 in PNG and 493 resettled in the US, 265 people had been rejected for resettlement in the US, and that the last four children had departed for the US.

This graph shows where people subject to offshore processing are, based on the media report on 28 February 2019.  838 people had been removed or returned to their country of origin, according to Senate estimates and updated by Operation Sovereign Borders updates as of 31 January 2019. 7 people were resettled to Cambodia in a deal that concluded in September 2018.

Bar chart showing location of people subject to offshore processing
As at 28 February 2019 (except departures and removals, as at 31 January 2019).

Children on and off Nauru

The big story of the past six months has been the belated push to transfer children out of Nauru, thanks in large part to the Kids Off Nauru campaign. On 28 February 2019, it was reported that the last four children on Nauru had left the island.

This graph shows the rapid decline in the numbers of children on Nauru, from 122 at the end of the 2017-2018 financial year to 4 as of 3 February 2019. In three months of this financial year (to 30 September 2018), 37 children had been transferred. In contrast, in the previous financial year, only 13 were transferred to Australia. Those 37 children transferred to Australia this financial year stayed in Nauru on average 1,403 days. Those transferred in the previous year had spent an average of 1,328 days in Nauru.

Line chart showing reduction in number of children on Nauru in 2018 until no children left in 2019

Where are they living?

For the first few years, people were housed in detention centres, called ‘Regional Processing Centres’ by the government. The early days of Operation Sovereign Borders saw a rapid increase in the numbers sent to Manus Island. In January 2014, the numbers peaked at 1,353 people. The trend on Nauru was similar. The numbers there peaked at 1,233 people in August 2014.

Refugees living on Nauru have now been mostly transferred to live in the Nauruan community, although there were delays with many people still being housed in the Regional Processing Centre for some time after they had been recognised. There has been a rapid drop in 2018 of those left in the Nauru Regional Processing Centre, from 338 people at the beginning of 2018 to 10 people by 31 December 2018. This graph shows the changing number of people in the centres on Nauru and Manus over time. As of 31 January 2019, there were 4 people still living in Nauru Regional Processing Centre.

Line graph showing number of people in offshore processing centres
As at 31 January 2019.

The Manus Island centre was forcibly closed in October 2017, when there were still 690 men there. Most of the men are now living in three centres on Manus Island, East Lorengau Regional Transit Centre, West Lorengau Haus and Hillside Haus. Others are in Port Moresby for medical reasons, undergoing processes to be resettled in the US, awaiting transfer to Nauru (listed in the graph as POM Nauru EOI) or pending return and removal (listed in the graph as POM R&R). Others are in Australia for medical reasons. The breakdown as at 30 September 2018 of where people were is provided in this graph below.

Bar chart showing location of people in PNG
As at 30 September 2018.



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Contact us

Do you have a question about our statistics, or would you like to know more information? Contact us at policy@refugeecouncil.org.au.

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