2001 - 2008



On 29 August 2001, Norwegian freighter MV Tampa rescued 430 passengers aboard a fishing vessel that had broken down 80 nautical miles from Christmas Island. Upon request, the captain took the passengers into Australian waters.

On 19 October 2001, an Indonesian fishing vessel code-named SIEV X sank en route to Australia. Three hundred and fifty-three of its 397 passengers drowned.

In response, the Australian Parliament passed a suite of legislation that set up the Pacific Solution.  This included amendments to the Migration Act, which excised certain territories from Australia's migration zone and allowed for the detention of asylum seekers offshore and the transfer of people to another country.

Under the Pacific Solution, asylum seekers were detained and processed at Manus Island (Papua New Guinea) and Nauru, at the Australian Government’s expense.

Between 2001 and 2008, 90,589 people received visa grants through Australia’s Humanitarian Program.