Refugee Council of Australia
Tents in Manus Island regional processing centre

Offshore processing statistics

Returns from Australia and offshore processing centres

Since the beginning of offshore processing, 938 people have been returned to their country of origin (both ‘voluntarily’ and involuntarily).

According to the Department of Home Affairs, of this number 767 people were ‘transitory persons’ (arrived after 19 July 2013) and of this number 20 were returned involuntarily. All those 20 have been returned from PNG. No one in this group was returned from Nauru by force. 

The Department’s monthly updates (from January 2014) show that there has been a small number of people who ‘voluntarily’ leave the offshore processing centres over time.

This graph shows the latest number of people ‘voluntarily’ returned from Nauru and Papua New Guinea. A considerable number had been recognised as refugees.

In response to a Senate question on notice the Department of Home Affairs provided a full breakdown for all returns (‘voluntary) and removals (‘involuntary) from Nauru in the time frame of September 2012 to May 2018. It also provided the same data for for returns from Manus Island. This is shown in the graph below.

Sources

Statistics provided by the Department of Home Affairs for 28 August 2019

Senate estimates questions (listed in the downloadable spreadsheet and under relevant graphs or linked to relevant text)

2013-21: Newsroom, Operation Sovereign Borders, monthly, Canberra

From January 2020, Key statistics, Department of Home Affairs, Canberra

2013-18, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Immigration Detention and Community Statistics

June 2016: Parliament of Australia, Australia’s offshore processing of people seeking asylum in Nauru and PNG: A Quick Guide to statistics and resources

January 2017: Parliament of Australia, Boat arrivals and boat ‘turnbacks’ in Australia since 1976: a quick guide to the statistics (Table 4)

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