Refugee Council of Australia
Tents in Manus Island regional processing centre

Offshore processing statistics

Medical transfers

The Department stated at Senate Estimates that as at 21 October 2019, 135 people had been transferred under the Medevac legislation, and there were another 39 people approved and awaiting transfer. The data below reports more detailed information.

As at 28 August 2019, 437 people have either been transferred or are waiting to be transferred to Australia from offshore processing centres. This includes: 112 people who had been transferred under the Medevac legislation for medical reasons, and another 6 who had been reunited with family in Australia (a total of 118 people). Another 24 had been approved but not yet transferred for medical reasons, and 7 approved but not yet transferred for family reasons. In the same period, 288 people were transferred under the earlier system of approvals by the Department.

This adds to the 461 people had been transferred to Australia in 2018-2019, up until 26 March 2019. In the previous full financial year (2017-2018), only 35 were transferred.


Up until 18 February 2019, there have been 1,246 people transferred to Australia for medical reasons (including accompanying family members) since offshore processing began. As of 26 March 2019, there were 953 still in Australia.

The graph below refers to a previous breakdown in Senate estimates by financial year of those who had been transferred for medical reasons (in this case, excluding family members), which was provided up until 22 October 2018, when 535 people had been transferred for medical reasons. The numbers rose sharply in 2014-2015 (when 254 people were transferred), and then dropped significantly back in the following years, until the current financial year. Of those, 79 were children.

People in Australia for medical reasons

As of 26 March 2019, there are 953 people in Australia who had been transferred for medical reasons, including those who came as family members (called ‘transitory persons’ by the Government).

A more detailed breakdown was provided in earlier Senate estimates, but only of those who were transferred for medical reasons (excluding family members). Most of these people (403) are in community detention. 39 are in held detention, and 149 are on Final Departure Bridging E visas. On these visas, the people are released into the community but do not have access to any income support. These graphs show the numbers of these people by visa status and by location.

Learn more about Australia’s detention policies

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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.