Global asylum trends 2012: how does Australia compare?

Parliament house flag post

Global asylum trends 2012: how does Australia compare?

Posted 9/04/2013 by Janet Phillips


The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently released its latest report on the number of asylum applications lodged in the 44 industrialised countries that provide statistics to the UNHCR.

The 2012 report, Asylum levels and trends in industrialized countries, recorded the second highest number of applications this decade with 479 300 asylum applications lodged (the highest level was in 2003 when there were 505 000 applications). Afghanistan remained the main country of origin of asylum-seekers in 2012, followed by Syria with a 191 per cent increase in asylum claims.

The High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, noted that both new (Syria) and old (Afghanistan) conflicts were contributing to the rise in claims and that wars were ‘driving more and more people to seek asylum’. However, Guterres also pointed out that the asylum claims lodged in industrialised countries were only a drop in the ocean compared to the levels of displacement experienced closer to the regions of conflict:
In most cases people seeking refuge from conflict choose to remain in countries neighbouring their own in hope of being able to return home (an example is Syria, where the figure of 24, 800 Syrian asylum claims in industrialized countries compares to more than 1,100,000 registered Syrian refugees currently in neighbouring countries). 
Australia compared

Although Australia experienced a rise in asylum applications largely due to a rise in the number of boat arrivals, the total number of applications registered in Australia in 2012 was a relatively modest 15 800 compared with the 355 500 claims received in Europe and the 103 900 received in North America.

Since 1999–2001, when Australia last experienced a surge in boat arrivals during the Howard Government, irregular maritime arrivals lodging asylum claims have consisted primarily of people from Afghanistan followed by Iraq, Iran and Sri Lanka. However, Australia has not shouldered a significant burden of asylum flows from these countries—much higher asylum caseloads have featured prominently in the UK and other destination countries for many years.

In fact, as Guterres notes, none of the industrialised countries, Australia included, shoulders a significant burden compared to the developing countries neighbouring most of the world’s conflict zones. The vast majority of asylum seekers and refugees are hosted in such countries such as Pakistan, so the burden of assisting the world’s asylum seekers and refugees actually falls to some of the world’s poorest countries.

It is unlikely that the current levels of asylum applications, including those lodged by Afghans, will decrease any time soon. Recent analysis of the situation in Afghanistan predicts that there will be continuing instability, causing increased displacement to neighbouring countries, particularly Pakistan and Iran. The UNHCR agrees and notes that while more than 5.7 million refugees have voluntarily repatriated to Afghanistan in the last 10 years, ‘due to the continuing volatility, returning refugees struggle to achieve sustainable reintegration’ with the result that internal displacement in Afghanistan and asylum flows from the region have continued to increase over the last three years.

Given that the majority of Australia’s boat arrivals have originated from Afghanistan over the last decade, it is quite possible that Australia may also experience increased, not decreased, asylum flows if the instability in Afghanistan escalates.

For further analysis of these issues from the Parliamentary Library see Asylum seekers, refugees and people smuggling—links to the key Parliamentary Library papers.


Image source: www.unhcr.org
 


Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.

Add your comment

[Click to expand]

We welcome your comments, or additional information which is relevant to a post. These can be added by clicking on the ‘Add your comment’ option above. Please note that the Parliamentary Library will moderate comments, and reserves the right not to publish comments that are inconsistent with the objectives of FlagPost. This includes comments that are not relevant to the article, factually incorrect or politically partisan, as well as spam, profanity and personal abuse. We will close comments after three months.




Captcha
Generate a new image
Type characters from the image:

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print

FlagPost

Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament


Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice

Archive

Syndication

Tagcloud

refugees asylum immigration climate change Australian foreign policy parliament social security elections welfare reform welfare policy school education Australian Defence Force health financing higher education emissions trading indigenous Australians women private health insurance people trafficking Employment illicit drugs gambling health reform federal election 2010 Middle East disability Sport Australian Bureau of Statistics statistics United Nations Asia Afghanistan income management Medicare health forced labour Taxation Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States federal budget Industrial Relations Carbon Pricing Mechanism politics dental health Australian Electoral Commission WADA criminal law transport aid child protection environment poker machines Australia in the Asian Century steroids National Disability Insurance Scheme detention aged care 43rd Parliament slavery health system ASADA Law Enforcement Australian Federal Police Fair Work Act Australian Public Service governance labour force people smuggling debt international relations constitution New Zealand food Australian Crime Commission pharmaceutical benefits scheme OECD corruption pensions public service reform children's health Aviation federal election 2013 foreign debt gross debt net debt defence capability parliamentary procedure Senate Senators and Members ALP Newstart Parenting Payment multiculturalism Youth Allowance sea farers UK Parliament election results voting mental health Federal Court terrorist groups science social media Higher Education Loan Program HECS federal state relations accountability Papua New Guinea youth paid parental leave same sex relationships coal seam gas customs planning doping crime health risks International Women's Day Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery Special Rapporteur Northern Territory Emergency Response social policy violence against women domestic violence China ADRV terrorism transparency research and development welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation carbon tax mining High Court military history electoral reform employer employee renewable energy regional unemployment fishing by-election European Union family assistance skilled migration banking United Nations Security Council Australian economy forestry food labelling vocational education and training Drugs welfare systems Indonesia children Constitutional reform local government codes of conduct terrorist financing homelessness Parliamentary remuneration money laundering Trafficking in Persons Report energy social inclusion human rights paternalism national security fuel disability employment Tasmania integrity standards NATO Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse World Trade Organization Australia public health housing affordability bulk billing political parties water productivity health policy Governor-General US economy trade unions export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery firearms question time speaker superannuation public housing expertise public policy climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change leadership Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry regulation Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets animal health middle class welfare Census Indigenous constitutional recognition of local government referendum consumer laws PISA competition policy royal commission US politics language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition citizen engagement policymaking Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol forced marriage Population rural and regional alcohol entitlements ministries Hung Parliament social citizenship maritime Iran ANZUS regional students school chaplains federal budget 2011-12 salary Medicare Locals primary care Building the Education Revolution EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation Members of Parliament Scottish referendum early childhood education Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Southeast Asia Israel Palestine asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying asylum seekers Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders prime ministers election timetable sitting days First speech defence budget submarines workers financial sector Canada Somalia United Kingdom GDP world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission limitation period universities Ireland cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders live exports infant mortality honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC nutrition anti-dumping Rent Assistance obesity evidence law sacrament of confession US presidential election international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements administrative law small business Breaker Morant regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Members suspension workplace health and safety marine reserves hearing TAFE Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing political education Social Inclusion Board early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin sanctions Norway hospitals republic President Barack Obama Presidential visits qantas counselling Korean peninsula Work Choices biosecurity hendra environmental law federalism federation preselection therapeutic goods Therapeutic Goods Administration plebiscites computer games pests suicide nuclear COAG Ministerial Councils floods ADHD stimulant medication advertising electricity extradition conscience votes poverty preventative health rural health coastal erosion Parliamentary Budget Office work-life balance

Show all
Show less
Back to top