Refugee Council of Australia
Colorful graphs
Home > Statistics > Refugee resettlement to Australia: what the statistics tell us

Refugee resettlement to Australia: what the statistics tell us

[vc_column]Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian Program (RHP) has two key components – the onshore protection program and the offshore resettlement program. The onshore component of the program is for people seeking asylum who apply for refugee status after arriving in Australia. The offshore component is for people outside Australia who are in need of humanitarian resettlement.
The following statistics provide information about trends in the RHP and the demographics of refugees resettled in Australia since 2000.

The RHP: an overview

Since 2000, Australia has welcomed over 220,000 refugees through the RHP. The size of the program has changed over time, with the RHP increasing to 20,000 places in 2012/13, only to be reduced back to 13,750 places in 2013. The program has increased again with the Government’s commitment to settle an additional 12,000 refugees from Iraq and Syria. These additional places were filled between 2016 and 2017.
In addition, the composition of visa categories under the program has also changed, with the Special Humanitarian Visa (Subclass 202) at times outnumbering the Refugee Visa (200). However, the Australian Government has also maintained a policy of linking the onshore protection program (Subclass 866) with the Special Humanitarian Visa. This means that for each onshore applicant who receives protection, one less place is available in the Special Humanitarian Program. The impacts of this are seen in the following graph, where the number of Special Humanitarian Visas (202) dropped to just 500 in 2012/13 while the number of Onshore Protection Visas (866) increased.[vc_gmaps link=”#E-8_JTNDaWZyYW1lJTIwd2lkdGglM0QlMjI2MDAlMjIlMjBoZWlnaHQlM0QlMjIzNzElMjIlMjBzZWFtbGVzcyUyMGZyYW1lYm9yZGVyJTNEJTIyMCUyMiUyMHNjcm9sbGluZyUzRCUyMm5vJTIyJTIwc3JjJTNEJTIyaHR0cHMlM0ElMkYlMkZkb2NzLmdvb2dsZS5jb20lMkZzcHJlYWRzaGVldHMlMkZkJTJGMVYtVE94UFR4bjZlcmM4YTY1U29OWld3RFZQd1dBbWhLRXA0czJjazBBclElMkZwdWJjaGFydCUzRm9pZCUzRDE5MDkxMzQyMDglMjZhbXAlM0Jmb3JtYXQlM0RpbnRlcmFjdGl2ZSUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRmlmcmFtZSUzRQ==”][vc_column]

Refugees by country

Refugee and Humanitarian entrants in the RHP have come from a wide number of countries, as demonstrated in the following map:[vc_gmaps link=”#E-8_JTNDaWZyYW1lJTIwd2lkdGglM0QlMjI2MDAlMjIlMjBoZWlnaHQlM0QlMjIzNzElMjIlMjBzZWFtbGVzcyUyMGZyYW1lYm9yZGVyJTNEJTIyMCUyMiUyMHNjcm9sbGluZyUzRCUyMm5vJTIyJTIwc3JjJTNEJTIyaHR0cHMlM0ElMkYlMkZkb2NzLmdvb2dsZS5jb20lMkZzcHJlYWRzaGVldHMlMkZkJTJGMVYtVE94UFR4bjZlcmM4YTY1U29OWld3RFZQd1dBbWhLRXA0czJjazBBclElMkZwdWJjaGFydCUzRm9pZCUzRDE5MDkxMzQyMDglMjZhbXAlM0Jmb3JtYXQlM0RpbnRlcmFjdGl2ZSUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRmlmcmFtZSUzRQ==”][vc_column]

Refugees by ethnicity

Those arriving in Australia through the RHP come from a range of backgrounds. The five largest ethnic groups by percentage of total resettled refugees are:

  1. Other: 50%
  2. Hazara: 10.1%
  3. Iraqi: 8.9%
  4. African (not further defined): 6.2%
  5. Dinka (Sudanese): 5.5%

Some years have seen isolated spikes in the arrival of certain ethnic groups. For example, the number of Hazara arrivals increased by 85% between the years ending 2012 and 2013, followed by a sharp decline over the next few years to its lowest levels since 2009. Meanwhile, after a very gradual upward trend, the number of Arab arrivals suddenly jumped by 157% between the years ending 2015 and 2016. [vc_gmaps link=”#E-8_JTNDaWZyYW1lJTIwd2lkdGglM0QlMjI2MDAlMjIlMjBoZWlnaHQlM0QlMjIzNzElMjIlMjBzZWFtbGVzcyUyMGZyYW1lYm9yZGVyJTNEJTIyMCUyMiUyMHNjcm9sbGluZyUzRCUyMm5vJTIyJTIwc3JjJTNEJTIyaHR0cHMlM0ElMkYlMkZkb2NzLmdvb2dsZS5jb20lMkZzcHJlYWRzaGVldHMlMkZkJTJGMVYtVE94UFR4bjZlcmM4YTY1U29OWld3RFZQd1dBbWhLRXA0czJjazBBclElMkZwdWJjaGFydCUzRm9pZCUzRDI3OTI2MTE0MSUyNmFtcCUzQmZvcm1hdCUzRGludGVyYWN0aXZlJTIyJTNFJTNDJTJGaWZyYW1lJTNF”][vc_gmaps link=”#E-8_JTNDaWZyYW1lJTIwd2lkdGglM0QlMjI2MDAlMjIlMjBoZWlnaHQlM0QlMjIzNzElMjIlMjBzZWFtbGVzcyUyMGZyYW1lYm9yZGVyJTNEJTIyMCUyMiUyMHNjcm9sbGluZyUzRCUyMm5vJTIyJTIwc3JjJTNEJTIyaHR0cHMlM0ElMkYlMkZkb2NzLmdvb2dsZS5jb20lMkZzcHJlYWRzaGVldHMlMkZkJTJGMVYtVE94UFR4bjZlcmM4YTY1U29OWld3RFZQd1dBbWhLRXA0czJjazBBclElMkZwdWJjaGFydCUzRm9pZCUzRDkwMjY3NTY2NiUyNmFtcCUzQmZvcm1hdCUzRGludGVyYWN0aXZlJTIyJTNFJTNDJTJGaWZyYW1lJTNF”][vc_column]

Refugees by language

The five most common languages spoken by resettled refugees are:

  1. Other: 47%
  2. Arabic: 24.8%
  3. Dari: 7.4%
  4. Assyrian: 3.9%
  5. Hazaragi: 3.2%
[vc_gmaps link=”#E-8_JTNDaWZyYW1lJTIwd2lkdGglM0QlMjI2MDAlMjIlMjBoZWlnaHQlM0QlMjIzNzElMjIlMjBzZWFtbGVzcyUyMGZyYW1lYm9yZGVyJTNEJTIyMCUyMiUyMHNjcm9sbGluZyUzRCUyMm5vJTIyJTIwc3JjJTNEJTIyaHR0cHMlM0ElMkYlMkZkb2NzLmdvb2dsZS5jb20lMkZzcHJlYWRzaGVldHMlMkZkJTJGMVYtVE94UFR4bjZlcmM4YTY1U29OWld3RFZQd1dBbWhLRXA0czJjazBBclElMkZwdWJjaGFydCUzRm9pZCUzRDEyNzY1MzUxNTQlMjZhbXAlM0Jmb3JtYXQlM0RpbnRlcmFjdGl2ZSUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRmlmcmFtZSUzRQ==”][vc_column]

Refugees by religion

Finally, the five most represented religions among resettled refugees are:

  1. Christianity (including Catholicism and Chaldean Catholicism): 37%
  2. Islam (including Sunni and Shia): 34%
  3. Other: 21.4%
  4. Hinduism: 3.5%
  5. (equal) Buddhism: 2.4%
    (equal) Mandaeism/Sabianism: 2.4%
[vc_gmaps link=”#E-8_JTNDaWZyYW1lJTIwd2lkdGglM0QlMjI2MDAlMjIlMjBoZWlnaHQlM0QlMjIzNzElMjIlMjBzZWFtbGVzcyUyMGZyYW1lYm9yZGVyJTNEJTIyMCUyMiUyMHNjcm9sbGluZyUzRCUyMm5vJTIyJTIwc3JjJTNEJTIyaHR0cHMlM0ElMkYlMkZkb2NzLmdvb2dsZS5jb20lMkZzcHJlYWRzaGVldHMlMkZkJTJGMVYtVE94UFR4bjZlcmM4YTY1U29OWld3RFZQd1dBbWhLRXA0czJjazBBclElMkZwdWJjaGFydCUzRm9pZCUzRDE1NTM3MTc1MjclMjZhbXAlM0Jmb3JtYXQlM0RpbnRlcmFjdGl2ZSUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRmlmcmFtZSUzRQ==”][vc_column]

What does this tell us?

Refugees to Australia are diverse in background, ethnicity, language and religion. This rebuts the common misconception that those coming to Australia are mostly from a particular country, or are mostly of a particular religion. While there may be large influxes of a certain characteristic in a given year, these generally are not indicative of broader demographic trends. Instead, they demonstrate the inherent variability of refugee migration and its high susceptibility to world and regional events.[vc_column][vc_column][vc_column][vc_column][vc_column][vc_column][vc_column][vc_column][vc_column]

Join the movement!

We need you to show our government that Australia cares about refugees. Help us by joining the movement so we can protect refugees, not punish them.

Find what you want

  • Category

  • Topic