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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
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Population

ARTICLE – HUMANITARIAN ARRIVALS

WHO ARE THEY?

Australia's permanent immigration program consists of two components, the Migration Program (Skilled, Family and Special Eligibility Stream migrants) and the Humanitarian Program (Refugees and others in humanitarian need). The Australian Government Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) manages and grants visas within these programs each year in accordance with relevant legislation, government planning and policy.

The Migration Program outcome for 2009–10 was 168,600 places, the majority of which were filled from the United Kingdom, China (excludes SARs and Taiwan) and India. For the Humanitarian Program in 2009–10, a total of 13,800 visas were granted (table S7.2).

Australia's Humanitarian Program aims to provide options for refugees who have been forced to leave their homes by armed conflict, persecution and human rights abuses. The Humanitarian Program has two components:

  • the onshore component provides protection (asylum) to persons already in Australia who engage Australia’s protection obligations under the United Nations 1951 Refugees Convention, and
  • the offshore component provides resettlement to persons overseas who are subject to persecution or violation of their human rights, have fled their homeland and have been determined to be refugees.

S7.2 HUMANITARIAN PROGRAM VISA GRANTS, By category 2007–08 to 2009–10
2007–08
2008–09
2009–10
Category
no.
no.
no.

Offshore
Refugee
6 004
6 499(a)
6 003
Special Humanitarian Program
4 795
4 511
3 233
Onshore
Temporary Humanitarian Concern visa
84
5
Special Humanitarian Program
231
75
11
Resolution of Status
39
8
Temporary Protection visa
196
9
Permanent Protection visa
1 704
2 369
4 515
Total
13 014
13 507
13 770

— nil or rounded to zero
(a) Includes a one-off allocation of 500 refugee places for Iraqis.
Source: Department of Immigration and Citizenship, June 2011, Population Flows: Immigration aspects, 2009–2010 Edition.


WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?

Since World War II, Australia has welcomed over 750,000 people from many different countries in response to changing global resettlement and humanitarian needs. In 2009–10, a total of 13,800 visas were granted, 9,200 (67%) under the offshore component and 4,500 (33%) under the onshore component.

From 1998 to 2001, most of the humanitarian arrivals were sourced from Europe, accounting for about half of all resettlements. At around the same time, arrivals from the Africa region increased from about 16% (1998–99) to 70% (2003–2005). Since 2005–06, there has been an increasing number of refugees from the Asia/Pacific region.

In 2009–10, around 32% of offshore visas were granted to people affected by conflicts in the Middle East and South West Asia. These people in need of humanitarian assistance were mainly from Afghanistan and Iraq. A further 39% were granted to refugee groups such as the Burmese in Thailand, Bhutanese in Nepal and Rohingya in Bangladesh. The Africa region continues to be a focus of the program, accounting for 29% of entrants in 2009–10 (table S7.3).


S7.3 OFFSHORE VISA GRANTS, By top ten countries of birth—2009–10

Offshore
visa grants
Country of birth
no.

Burma (Myanmar)
1 959
Iraq
1 688
Bhutan
1 144
Afghanistan
951
Congo, Democratic Republic of
584
Ethiopia
392
Somalia
317
Sudan
298
Liberia
258
Sierra Leone
237
Other countries
1 408
Total
9 236

Source: Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Fact Sheet 60. Australia's Refugee and Humanitarian Program, March 2011, last viewed August 2011.


During 2009–10, there were 8,200 protection visa (onshore) applications lodged. The top three countries of citizenship for people applying for protection visas in 2009–10 were Afghanistan (1,600), China (excludes SARs and Taiwan) (1,300) and Sri Lanka (650).


ASYLUM SEEKERS – HOW DO THEY GET HERE?

Over the last 35 years, a number of people have sought protection in Australia, in response to humanitarian crises. They have arrived by air or by sea; those who arrive by air are known as non-Irregular Maritime Arrivals (Non-IMA), whereas those who arrive by sea are known as Irregular Maritime Arrivals (IMA). Major 'waves' of arrivals are:
  • 1976–1981 just over 2,000 people arrived, mainly from Vietnam
  • 1989–1998 almost 3,100 people arrived, mainly from Cambodia, Vietnam and Southern China
  • 1999–2001 almost 12,200 people arrived, mainly from Afghanistan and Iraq.

In 2008-09 and 2009-10, the majority of IMA final visa grants were to citizens of Afghanistan, while the majority of non-IMA final grants were to citizens of China (excludes SARs and Taiwan) (table S7.4).

During 2009-10, more people seeking asylum in Australia arrived by air than by sea.


S7.4 FINAL PROTECTION VISA GRANTS(a), By top five countries of citizenship—2009–10
Country of citizenship
Final grants
no.

IRREGULAR MARITIME ARRIVALS (IMA)
Afghanistan
1 425
Sri Lanka
315
'Stateless'
170
Iraq
134
Iran
64
Other
12
Total
2 120

NON-IRREGULAR MARITIME ARRIVALS (NON-IMA)
China (excludes SARs and Taiwan)
492
Zimbabwe
255
Pakistan
212
Iran
211
Sri Lanka
190
Other
1 007
Total
2 367

(a) Due to different methodologies employed, the count of protection visa grants to IMAs varies by 28 persons from the total included in table S7.2.

Source: Department of Immigration and Citizenship, June 2011, Population Flows: Immigration aspects, 2009–2010 Edition.

 

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Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. Each Year Book table or graph and the bibliography at the end of each chapter provides hyperlinks to the most up to date data release where available.

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