Providing up-to-date statistics on asylum seekers in Australia and internationally.



People in detention in Australia (including 173 on Christmas Island). 366 arrived unlawfully by air or boat (<5 seaport, 42 air, 315 maritime arrivals). 979 arrived lawfully but subsequently overstayed or had their visa cancelled. Source: Department of Home Affairs.


People in detention on Nauru, including 12 children. Source: Australian Border Force and Department of Home Affairs.


Men estimated to be in transition centres on Manus Island. On 23 November 2017 all 600 men were moved from the Manus Island Detention Centre to transition centres. At that time, the Australian Government stopped reporting the number of men in detention. Source: ABC News and RadioNZ.


People who were in detention on Manus Island or Nauru have been resettled in the US under the United States resettlement deal. Source: Hansard 17 October 2018.


Voluntary returns of people in detention back to their country of origin between September 2013 to 30 September 2018. Increased by 22 people since 31 August 2018. Source: Operation Sovereign Borders.


Involuntary returns of people in detention back to their country of origin between September 2013 to 30 September 2018. Increase of 4 since 31 August 2018. Source: Operation Sovereign Borders.


Children in detention, 12 located on Nauru and 5 on the Australian mainland. Source: Department of Home Affairs.


Children in community detention in Australia. Source: Department of Home Affairs.


Average days spent in onshore immigration detention in Australia. Source: Department of Home Affairs.


Deaths in onshore and offshore detention facilities since 2010, with 16 of those known to be suicides. 12 of these deaths have been of men in detention facilities on Manus Island or Nauru. Source: The Guardian and Australian Border Death Database.

>$5 billion

Spent on Manus and Nauru detention centres since 2012. In 2017-18 the centres cost an estimated $1.44 billion. The 2018-19 Budget allocates $759.58 million. Sources: Kaldor Centre and Department of Home Affairs.

1 out of 7

The number of refugees who remain in Cambodia after being transferred there from Nauru, at a cost of $55 million. Six of the seven refugees who were transferred to Cambodia have since left: Asian Correspondent and RadioNZ.




Last Updated: 27 October 2018


33 boats and 771 people

Turned back in boats since September 2013 under Operation Sovereign Borders. None of those intercepted were deemed to be owed protection obligations. The last boat known to be turned around was in June 2018. The number of people it contained is not reported. Source: Senate Estimates and Australian Border Force.  

Under the Howard Government from 2001 to 2003, 5 boats containing 614 people were turned back. Sources: Australian Government Press Release and ReliefWeb Report. 

1 boat containing 17 people

Arrived in Australia in 2018. They were taken to Christmas Island for Processing. Source: The Guardian.

Number of asylum seekers arriving by boat

Sources: Parliamentary Library & Australian Customs

Number of asylum seeker deaths at sea

Source: Australian Border Deaths Database

Last Updated: 25 August 2018


Permanent visas


Permanent humanitarian visas granted by the Australian government in 2016-17, plus an additional 8,208 visas remaining from the 12,000 visas provided in response to the Syrian and Iraqi humanitarian crisis, bringing the 2016-17 total to 21,968 visas. The budget for 2017-18 was 16,250 visas and for 2018-19 is 18,750 visas. Source: Department of Home Affairs.

Humanitarian intake by program

Source: Discussion Paper - Australia’s Humanitarian Program 2018–19, Department of Home Affairs


People awaiting an outcome of their refugee application whilst living in Australia on a Bridging Visa E. This includes 2,835 children. Source: Department of Home Affairs.

Temporary visas


Temporary Protection Visas granted in 2018 (Jan-June) to people in the IMA legacy caseload and 2,488 refusals. Source: Department of Home Affairs.


Safe Haven Enterprise Visas granted in 2018 (Jan-June) to people in the IMA legacy caseload and 2,637 refusals. Source: Department of Home Affairs.


Last Updated: 27 October 2018


1.7 million

New asylum applications lodged between January and December 2017, the majority received in the United States. Source: UNHCR.

3.1 million

Individuals awaiting outcomes on their applications for asylum or refugee status globally at the end of 2017. Source: UNHCR.

1.5 million

Asylum cases decided on in 2017. Of these, 484,000 people were recognised as refugees, 248,500 were granted complementary protection and 754,100 had their claims rejected. Source: UNHCR.


Refugees globally were resettled to third countries in 2017, 46% fewer than in 2016. Australia accepted 15,100. Source: UNHCR

Global migrant border deaths

Source: International Organization for Migration:

Last updated: 25 August 2018

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