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  • Highest levels of global forced displacement on record—World Refugee Day 20 June 2015

    Posted 22/06/2015 by Janet Phillips

    On World Refugee Day—celebrated on 20 June every year—the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports on global displacement trends using data collected over the previous calendar year. This time last year the UNHCR reported that the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people worldwide had exceeded 50 million people for the first time since World War II. This year, in its publication Global Trends 2014, the UNHCR is reporting the highest levels of displacement on record—59.5 million people (19.5 million refugees, 38.2 million internally displaced people and 1.8 million asylum seekers).

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    TAGS: refugees, asylum seekers

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  • Is Australia any closer to returning failed asylum seekers to Iran?

    Posted 30/04/2015 by Elibritt Karlsen
    Australian Customs Vessel ACV30 Botany Bay returns to Stokes Hill Wharf
    Ken Hodge [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
    On 18 April 2015, Australia’s Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, travelled to Iran to discuss the involuntary return of Iranian nationals who have unsuccessfully sought asylum in Australia. Though her visit was touted as being significant because she was the first Australian Minister to visit Iran in 12 years, it appears on the issue of returnees, her visit did no more than pave the way for further discussions on the issue—and at a lower level.  However, discussions between the two... Read more...

    TAGS: Refugees, asylum, immigration

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  • Is Australia pulling its weight when it comes to the resettlement of Syrian refugees?

    Posted 2/04/2015 by Elibritt Karlsen
    According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR ‘the Syrian situation is the most dramatic humanitarian crisis the world has faced in a very long time. Syrians are now the largest refugee population under UNHCR's mandate’. In fact, the UNHCR estimates there to be close to four million registered refugees who have fled Syria into neighbouring countries. David Miliband, writing in The Washington Post has recently claimed that ‘it is well past time for the United States and other Weste... Read more...

    TAGS: refugees immigration asylum

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  • A very big year: asylum claims in industrialised countries reach a new high in 2014

    Posted 31/03/2015 by Harriet Spinks
    Refugee
    ZouZou/shutterstock.com

    Data released by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) show that 2014 was a big year for asylum seeking, with asylum claims reaching the highest level in over two decades. The UNHCR report Asylum trends 2014: levels and trends in industrialised countries, released on 26 March 2015, provides data on asylum claims lodged in 44 industrialized countries (38 European countries plus the USA, Canada, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia). It reveals some significant trends in asylum claims around the world, including that 2014 saw a striking 45 per cent increase from the previous year in the number of asylum claims lodged. This is the fourth consecutive annual increase, and the second highest level since the early 1980s. The 2014 figure, of 866,000 asylum applications, is just short of the 900,000 lodged in 1992, which remains the highest on record.

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    TAGS: refugees, asylum

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  • High Court validates maritime interception powers but watch this space!

    Posted 12/02/2015 by Elibritt Karlsen
    Australian Customs Vessel ACV30 Botany Bay returns to Stokes Hill Wharf
    Ken Hodge [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
    On the 28 January 2015, the High Court delivered its much anticipated judgment on the scope and extent of Australia’s maritime interception powers. The Court held, by a majority (4:3) that the detention of a Sri Lankan asylum seeker intercepted en route to Australia with another 156 passengers was lawful under the Maritime Powers Act 2013 (the MPA). In doing so, their Honours also confirmed that the asylum seekers were not entitled to be consulted as to the desirability or otherwise of the... Read more...

    TAGS: Refugees, asylum, immigration

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  • Developments in refugee law and policy: 2014 in review

    Posted 8/01/2015 by Elibritt Karlsen
    Refugee
    ZouZou/shutterstock.com
    On a global level, 2014 may well be remembered as the year the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people exceeded 50 million people for the first time in the post-World War II era. However, in Australia 2014 will most likely be remembered as the year the boats stopped. That is not to say that boats carrying asylum seekers stopped attempting to reach Australia—rather, there were considerably fewer attempts made and those that did, were all (except one) redirected el... Read more...

    TAGS: Refugees, asylum, immigration

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  • Minister reports to Parliament on processing arrangements in Nauru and PNG for 2013—14

    Posted 8/12/2014 by Elibritt Karlsen
    Parliament House in Canberra
    On 4 December 2014, the last scheduled parliamentary sitting day for the year, a report was tabled in Parliament on the regional processing arrangements for unauthorised maritime arrivals. The Minister’s report covers arrangements made during the period 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014. The statutory obligation to produce such a report comes from section 198AJ of the Migration Act which was inserted by the former Government to give effect to a recommendation of the Senate Legal and Constitution... Read more...

    TAGS: asylum, refugees, immigration

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  • Permanent residency for Safe Haven Enterprise Visa holders?

    Posted 28/11/2014 by Elibritt Karlsen
    On 25 September 2014, the Government announced that it would be creating a new temporary protection visa, to be known as a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) which would be available to refugees that had arrived by boat prior to the commencement of the regional processing regime announced by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in July 2013. Though the visa criteria are yet to be finalised, the SHEV is expected to be valid for five years and is specifically designed to encourage refugees to move to r... Read more...

    TAGS: refugees, asylum, immigration

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  • Australia's refugee population: A statistical snapshot of 2013-14

    Posted 28/11/2014 by Elibritt Karlsen
    Statistics recently published by the Immigration Department reveal that during the 2013—14 financial year, some 6,500 visas were granted to refugees abroad who had applied to be resettled to Australia. The majority of these people originally fled persecution from countries such as Afghanistan (2530), Myanmar (1145), and Iraq (830). The Department also granted 300 refugee category visas to Syrian nationals. Though the Department’s statistics do not indicate where these people were re... Read more...

    TAGS: refugees, asylum, immigration

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  • High Court strikes down Minister's decision to cap permanent visas for refugees

    Posted 25/06/2014 by Elibritt Karlsen
    On 20 June 2014 the High Court unanimously upheld separate challenges by two asylum seekers who questioned the ability of the Minister to limit or cap the number of protection visas that can be granted. On 4 March 2014 Immigration Minister, Scott Morrison, made a determination limiting the number of permanent protection visas that could be granted during the 2013/14 financial year. The limit of 2773 was reached only three weeks after the cap had been set. The principle question before the Court ... Read more...

    TAGS: Refugees, asylum, High Court, immigration

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