Resettlement in the United States and other countries
Resettlement from offshore processing
When the Australian Government changed its policy so that those sent offshore would never be allowed to settle in Australia, it expected that the people it sent offshore would be resettled eventually in another country (called ‘third country resettlement’). It did not, however, have any agreements with other countries at the time to resettle these people.
Since then, Australia has agreed to resettle people sent offshore to:
- Cambodia, beginning in September 2014, which expired in September 2018
- the United States (US), beginning in September 2016
- New Zealand, announced on 24 March 2022, with New Zealand agreeing to resettle up to 150 refugees in Nauru or Australia per year for three years from Australia’s existing regional processing cohort under its existing Refugee Quota Programme.
The first six refugees to be resettled from Nauru on 22 November 2022. Another four arrived on 20 January 2022. The Department has now advised it is unlikely to resettle 150 refugees in the first year (p. 126 of linked file).
As well, people transferred offshore have also arranged to be resettled in other countries without the assistance of the Australian Government, including under Canada’s sponsorship program.
How many people have been resettled? Where have they been resettled to?
The next graph shows the total number of people resettled over the years, and the number resettled to third countries. The US is by far the largest resettlement destination. As of 31 October 2023, 1,101 people have been resettled to the United States.
How many people are still in the process of being resettled?
Under both the US and NZ resettlement deals, people can only be resettled if they have been recognised as refugees and meet the requirements of their own refugee resettlement programmes. The New Zealand arrangement also requires the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to refer people to them for resettlement, and excludes those who are engaged in other resettlement processes, including the US resettlement arrangement.
This graph shows the number of people engaged in US and NZ resettlement processes.