Refugee resettlement to Australia: what are the facts?

6 December 2011

PDF version [674 KB]

Elibritt Karlsen
Law and Bills Digest Section 


Contents

Executive summary
Introduction
What is a refugee?
What is resettlement?
Is there a queue?
Does Australia only take those from refugee camps?
Does Australia accept all refugees referred to it by UNHCR?
How many visas does Australia grant to refugees overseas?
How does Australia’s intake compare to other resettlement countries?
How does Australia’s refugee resettlement compare to its overall migrant intake?
Do boat arrivals take the places from other refugees?
Where are refugees resettled from?
How many does Australia take from Indonesia and Malaysia?

Indonesia
Malaysia

Executive summary

  • ‘Resettlement’ is a voluntary scheme coordinated by the United Nation’s refugee agency (UNHCR) which, amongst other things, facilitates burden and responsibility sharing amongst signatory States. It is a scheme designed to complement and not be a substitute for the provision of protection to persons who apply for asylum under the Convention. Not every refugee is eligible for resettlement. In fact, less than one per cent of the world’s refugees are resettled in any given year.
  • Though the UNHCR recommends or refers people for resettlement, the ultimate decision to grant a visa to Australia rests with the Department of Immigration. Applicants for an offshore refugee category visa must satisfy criteria that are more onerous than if applying for an onshore protection visa. For instance, in addition to being subject to persecution and meeting health, character and national security requirements, the Minister must be satisfied (amongst other things) there are compelling reasons for giving special consideration to granting the visa. Last year about 30 000 refugee visa applications to Australia were lodged overseas but only 6000 were granted. The average processing time for an offshore refugee visa is about one year.
  • Since 2005 to the present, successive Governments have maintained the annual quota of Convention refugees that will be resettled to Australia at about 6000. Immediate family members (that is, normally a refugee’s partner and dependent children) also take up the number of visas available for grant under this allocation but they are not necessarily persecuted and ‘refugees’ in their own right.
  • In 2010–11 the Government allocated 13 750 places under its ‘Humanitarian Program’ comprising 6000 places for Convention refugees from overseas and 7750 places for the Special Humanitarian Program (SHP). Places available under the SHP are primarily distributed amongst three key groups: onshore Convention refugees and their immediate family members that have been granted protection visas (whether they have arrived by boat or plane); family members (such as siblings and cousins) of refugees that have been resettled from overseas; and SHP visa entrants (visa subclass 202) that is, persons overseas subject to substantial discrimination.
  • Substantial discrimination involves a lower threshold than persecution.
  • Since 1996, the onshore and offshore components of Australia’s Humanitarian Program have been numerically ‘linked’. This means that the more visas are granted to onshore refugees (plane or boat arrivals), fewer visas will be available for grant under the SHP (to people subject to substantial discrimination and family members of resettled refugees). Significantly, the number of places available to overseas refugees awaiting resettlement does not reduce when increasing numbers of visas are granted to refugees in Australia (whether boat or plane arrivals).
  • In the last financial year, nearly 6000 visas were granted to refugees awaiting resettlement overseas, and about 5000 visas were granted to onshore refugees (2717 for boat arrivals and 2101 for plane arrivals). In comparison, only 3000 SHP visas were granted during this time (approximately 25 000 applications were lodged).
  • Last financial year, half of Australia’s offshore refugee quota was filled by the resettlement of refugees and their families from Iraq (1 114), Burma (1 393), and Bhutan (1 001). Australia resettled only 560 UNHCR referred refugees from Indonesia during the period 2001 to February 2010 and 490 UNHCR referred refugees from Malaysia in 2010–11.  

Introduction

The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (the 1951 Refugee Convention) is the key international legal document defining who is a refugee, their rights and the legal obligations of countries that are signatories to the Convention.[1]  ‘Resettlement’ is the term used by the United Nation’s refugee agency (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees or UNHCR) to describe the voluntary transfer of refugees from one country in which they have sought refuge (country of first asylum) to another that has agreed to accept them. Broadly speaking, resettlement is a mechanism which provides protection to refugees whose life, liberty, safety, health or fundamental human rights are at risk in the country in which they had sought refuge (country of first asylum).[2] Resettlement is also often the mechanism used when voluntary repatriation back to one’s home country or local integration into the country of asylum are not possible in the foreseeable future, as is often the case in non-signatory countries such as Indonesia and  Malaysia.

Of the 145 States Parties to the 1951 Refugee Convention, only about 25 participate in UNHCR’s resettlement programs and accept quotas of refugees on an annual basis. Australia has been involved in the UNHCR resettlement program since 1977 and for the last five years has allocated around 6000 places for Convention refugees to be resettled to Australia. The annual number Australia has historically allocated for the resettlement of refugees has varied significantly, ranging from 20 000 in the early 1980s to just over 1 000 some ten years later. In recent times some politicians (past and present), academics, interest groups, prominent Australians, and former senior officials with the Department of Immigration have called on the Government to permanently increase Australia’s annual intake of refugees to between 20 000 and 25 000.[3] As former Secretary of the Department of Immigration in the Fraser Government, John Menadue, recently said, ‘we must be honest about our resettlement efforts. We do not resettle 14, 750 each year. We resettle as few as 7000 from overseas through the UNHCR program’.[4]

Against this background, this paper will explain how Australia’s resettlement program operates, focussing in particular on areas that are not well understood and/or are controversial. For example, it examines whether refugees arriving spontaneously at the border (whether by boat or plane) take the places of refugees overseas, whether there is a resettlement ‘queue’, and Australia’s contribution to resettlement of refugees from transit countries in the immediate region, such as Malaysia and Indonesia.

What is a refugee?

Article 1 of the 1951 Refugee Convention defines a ‘refugee’ as:

  •  a person who is outside his country of nationality or habitual residence
  • has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion, and
  • is unable or unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution.[5]

A Convention ‘refugee’ is different from an ‘asylum seeker’ because the former has had their asylum claims assessed and been found to satisfy the above definition. This assessment can be done by a signatory State or the UNHCR. There is no such thing as a ‘genuine refugee’. A refugee by technical definition is simply someone who has been recognised as satisfying the above Convention definition.

What is resettlement?

Resettlement is the term used by UNHCR to describe ‘the transfer of refugees from the country in which they have sought refuge to another State that has agreed to admit them’.[6] Refugees do not have a right to be resettled and States are not legally obligated under the 1951 Refugee Convention or any other international instrument to accept refugees for resettlement. It is a voluntary scheme coordinated by the UNHCR which, amongst other things, facilitates burden and responsibility sharing amongst signatory States. Significantly, UNHCR emphasises that resettlement should complement and not be a substitute for the provision of protection to persons who apply for asylum under the Convention.[7] Not every refugee will be eligible for resettlement. The criteria used by UNHCR to select refugees for resettlement include the following:

  • when there is no other way to guarantee the legal or physical security of the refugees concerned in the country of first asylum; this includes a threat of refoulement (forced return)
  • survivors of torture and violence, where the conditions of asylum could result in further trauma or where appropriate treatment is not available
  • persons with medical needs, in particular life‐saving treatment that is unavailable in the country of first asylum
  • women and girls at risk, where there is a real risk that they could be exposed to sexual or gender‐based violence
  • children and adolescents, where a best interests determination supports this
  • elderly refugees who may be particularly vulnerable and for whom resettlement appears to be the best solution, generally due to family links
  • when it represents the only means to reunite refugee families who, owing to refugee flight or displacement, find themselves divided by borders or by entire continents, or
  • when voluntary repatriation or local integration are not available or feasible in the foreseeable future.[8]

Is there a queue?

No. If UNHCR assesses a refugee to be eligible for resettlement it does not mean that they have joined an orderly ‘queue’, and that they will be guaranteed resettlement to another country when their ‘number comes up’. The fact is that though they may be assessed as eligible for resettlement by UNHCR, in reality they face a potentially indefinite waiting period for a resettlement country to offer them a resettlement place (depending on their individual needs) and even then, the ultimate decision as to whether they will be granted a refugee visa is dependent on the country which has agreed in principle to resettle them.  

Only about 24 nations worldwide participate in UNHCR resettlement programs and accept quotas of refugees on an annual basis.[9] UNHCR estimates the number of resettlement places offered by resettlement States in 2010 was approximately 80 000. However, it also estimates the global resettlement needs at approximately 800 000 persons—‘resettlement needs therefore continued to outpace available resettlement places by a factor of 10 to 1’.[10] In total, less than one per cent of the world’s refugees may be resettled in any given year.[11] Australia ranks in the top three resettlement countries in the world but sometimes also contributes to the numbers of refugees awaiting resettlement. For example, through processing in third countries such as Nauru (a practice discontinued in 2008) which resulted in over 1000 people requiring resettlement. Admittedly, Australia resettled the majority of these refugees (61 per cent).[12]    

Does Australia only take those from refugee camps?

No. There is no requirement under Australian law that a person be registered with UNHCR prior to applying for an Australian refugee category visa but in practice most have been recognised as refugees by the UNHCR and have been referred to Australia’s Department of Immigration for resettlement (UNHCR referred cases).  It is perhaps worth remembering that despite the iconic image of refugees living in row upon row of white tents in a sprawling emergency camp, the reality is that ‘only one-third of the world’s 10.5 million refugees now live in camps’.[13]

The process for applying for an Australian refugee category visa is outlined immediately below.

Does Australia accept all refugees referred to it by UNHCR?

No. Though the UNHCR recommends or refers people for resettlement, the ultimate decision to grant a visa rests with the Department of Immigration. Australia has four offshore refugee category visas.[14] Applications for an Australian refugee category visa (whether self-referred or referred by UNHCR) must be made on the prescribed form which is available from Australian overseas missions and from the Department’s website. Applicants are expected to provide as much documentation as possible (including certified copies) at the time of application to assist in identity verification. The application must be lodged outside Australia at an Australian diplomatic or trade mission and will be processed at designated Australian missions around the world. In 2010–11, nearly 30 000 offshore refugee visa applications were lodged (resulting in about 6 000 visa grants) and in 2009–10  the average processing time for refugee visas from time of application to the grant of visa was approximately one year (50 weeks).[15]

Refugees seeking to enter Australia on a refugee visa (subclass 200) must satisfy numerous criteria that are more onerous than onshore protection visas. For instance, in addition to being subject to persecution and meeting health, character and national security requirements, the Minister must be satisfied that there are ‘compelling reasons for giving special consideration to granting the visa’ having regard to:

  • the degree or severity of persecution to which they are subject
  • the extent of their connection with Australia[16]
  • whether another country can provide for the applicant’s settlement and protection from persecution and
  • the capacity of the Australian community to provide for their permanent settlement.[17]

Also, the Minister must be satisfied that their permanent settlement would be the appropriate course for the applicant and would not be contrary to the interests of Australia. Moreover, the visa grant must be consistent with ‘the regional and global priorities of the Commonwealth in relation to the settlement of persons in Australia on humanitarian grounds’.[18] In other words, there must be a place available for the grant of a visa within the allocation for the given program year.[19] This is discussed in further detail below. Unsuccessful applicants receive a letter indicating that one or more of these legal criteria have not been met. There is no mechanism to appeal the decision that has been made but unsuccessful applicants may re-apply.[20]

How many visas does Australia grant to refugees overseas?

As the following table indicates, the number of offshore refugee visas granted since 1975 to the present has varied greatly, the highest number being in 1980–1981 under the Fraser Government when Australia granted 20 795 visas (mostly to Indochinese), and the lowest being 1 238 granted ten years later, in 1989–1990 under the Hawke Government. From 2000, the former Coalition Government slightly increased the annual quota of refugee visas to its current level of around 6000 visas. The current Labor Government has maintained the annual quota (or cap) at 6000 since forming Government in 2007 (with only a one-off increase of 500 places to assist people affected by the conflict in Iraq in 2008–09).[21]

 






Year

Number of refugee
 category visas granted

Year

Number of refugee
 category visas granted

1975–1976

4374

1993–1994

4315

1976–1977

8124

1994–1995

3992

1977–1978

9326

1995–1996

4643

1978–1979

12 750

1996–1997

3334

1979–1980

17 677

1997–1998

4010

1980–1981

20 795

1998–1999

3988

1981–1982

20 195

1999–2000

3802

1982–1983

16 193

2000–2001

3997

1983–1984

12 426

2001–2002

4160

1984–1985

9520

2002–2003

4376

1985–1986

7832

2003–2004

4134

1986–1987

5857

2004–2005

5511

1987–1988

5514

2005–2006

6022

1988–1989

3574

2006–2007

6003

1989–1990

1238

2007–2008

6004

1990–1991

1497

2008–2009

6499

1991–1992

2424

2009–2010

6003

1992–1993

2893

2010–2011

5998

Source: DIAC, Population flows: immigration aspects 2008–09, source data, chapter 4; 1975–1977 data provided by the Department to the Parliamentary Library in 2001; 2009–2011 data extracted from DIAC Annual Reports.

It is widely recognised that family reunification is a critical factor in the successful settlement of a refugee in their country of asylum. However, in Australia, ‘immediate family members’ of a refugee who entered Australia on an offshore refugee visa (subclass 200) will generally also be granted the same visa.[22] Thus, it would be inaccurate to claim that Australia currently grants approximately 6000 offshore refugee category visas to ‘refugees’ each year. Immediate family members (that is, normally a refugee’s partner and dependent children) inevitably take up a considerable number of visas available for grant but they are not necessarily persecuted and ‘refugees’ in their own right.

Places available to ‘Special Humanitarian Program’ (SHP) visa entrants should be distinguished from places allocated to Convention refugees. The SHP visa is for people who are subject to substantial discrimination amounting to gross violation of human rights in their home country—not for refugees fleeing persecution for a Convention reason. Substantial discrimination involves a lower threshold than persecution. It might involve:

  • arbitrary interference with the applicant's privacy, family, home or correspondence
  • deprivation of means of earning a livelihood, denial of work commensurate with training and qualifications and/or payment of unreasonably low wages
  • relegation to substandard dwellings
  • exclusion from the right to education
  • enforced social and civil inactivity
  • removal of citizenship rights
  • denial of a passport, or
  • constant surveillance or pressure to become an informer.[23]

The current annual allocation under the SHP is 7750 places. This is currently predominantly taken up by refugees and their families that have been granted protection visas in Australia (boat or plane arrivals), and by extended family members of resettled refugees (such as siblings and cousins).  The linking of the offshore SHP allocation with onshore protection needs is discussed in further detail below under the heading ‘do boat arrivals take the places from other refugees?’    

How does Australia’s intake compare to other resettlement countries?

As previously mentioned, Australia has consistently ranked as one of the top three resettlement countries in the world. This ranking reflects the number of places made available by various countries for refugee resettlement through UNHCR’s resettlement program. This number is influenced by a number of factors including a country’s ability to share the international responsibility for refugees taking into account the number of asylum seekers arriving spontaneously at a country’s borders, of which Australia has comparatively few.[24]

The following table shows the number of refugees that were resettled in 2010 (assisted by UNHCR):

Country of resettlement

Number of persons resettled

United States of America

54 077

Canada

6 732

Australia

5 634

Sweden

1 789

Norway

1 088

United Kingdom

695

Finland

543

New Zealand

535

Germany

457

Netherlands

430

All others

962

Grand total

72 942

Source: UNHCR, ‘Departures by country of resettlement in 2010 (top ten UNHCR Resettlement Departures)’.

How does Australia’s refugee resettlement compare to its overall migrant intake?

The following table compares the number of permanent visas granted to Convention refugees (resettled from overseas with UNHCR assistance) with the number of permanent visas granted to migrants under the Migration Program in the last decade:

Year

Migration program

Resettled refugees

% of migration program

2000–2001

80 610

3 997

5.0%

2001–2002

93 080

4 160

4.5%

2002–2003

108 070

4 376

4.0%

2003–2004

114 360

4 134

3.6%

2004–2005

120 060

5 511

4.6%

2005–2006

142 930

6 022

4.2%

2006–2007

148 200

6 003

4.1%

2007–2008

158 630

6 004

3.8%

2008–2009

171 318

6 499

3.8%

2009–2010

168 623

6 003

3.6%

2010–2011 (planned)

168 700

5 998

3.6%

Sources: DIAC advice; Population flows: immigration aspects 2008–09, source data, chapter 4, 2010; and DIAC annual reports.

Do boat arrivals take the places from other refugees?

No. It is true that since 1996, the onshore and offshore components of Australia’s Humanitarian Program have been numerically ‘linked’. Broadly speaking, this means that when the Government annually allocates the number of refugee and humanitarian visas that will be available for grant under the broad umbrella of the ‘Humanitarian Program’ (in 2010–11 this was set at 13 750 places) the visas are distributed in a way that accommodates ‘spontaneous arrivals’, such as those arriving by boat within this allocation. In other words, onshore protection visa grants to refugees that have arrived by boat or plane are taken or deducted from the SHP annual quota (currently 7750 places).  However, that does not mean that the numbers of visas available for grant to Convention refugees for resettlement have declined.  Rather, the linkage is causing a strain on the number of places available for SHP visa entrants (as explained further below). 

The numbers of visas available for grant under the broad umbrella of Australia’s ‘Humanitarian Program’ are shared or distributed amongst the following groups of people:

  • Refugees and their families that have arrived in Australia by boat or plane (onshore)
  • Refugees and their families that will be ‘resettled’ from overseas (offshore), and
  • Humanitarian entrants and their families seeking to enter Australia under the SHP (offshore). 

As mentioned, the 2010–11 allocation under the Humanitarian Program was set at 13 750 places comprising 6000 places for Convention refugees from overseas and 7750 places under the SHP. The 7750 places allocated under the SHP are taken up by the following groups of people:

  • Convention refugees (and their immediate family members) that have been granted protection visas in Australia whether they have arrived by boat or plane
  • family members (such as siblings and cousins) of refugees that have been resettled from overseas, and
  • humanitarian entrants—that is, people who are subject to substantial discrimination amounting to gross violation of human rights in their home country.

In 2010–11 a total of 13 799 visas were granted under the Humanitarian Program as a whole. 8971 visas were granted under the offshore component (65 per cent) and 4828 (35 per cent) were granted under the onshore component. Under the offshore component, 5998 were refugee category visas while 2973 were SHP visas.[25] Under the onshore component, 2717 were visa grants to refugees that arrived by boat while 2101 were visa grants to refugees that arrived by plane.[26]

The following table illustrates the reduction in SHP visa grants (for humanitarian entrants and family members of resettled refugees) over the last ten years which in some years is commensurate with fluctuating onshore protection visa grants, while refugee category visas granted to refugees overseas has remained relatively steady (noting a slight increase between 2003 and 2005):



Year

Offshore SHP visa grants

Onshore protection visa grants

Offshore refugee visa
grants (resettled)

2001–2002

4258

3885

4160

2002–2003

7280

866

4376

2003–2004

7668

1896

4134

2004–2005

6585

4601

5511

2005–2006

6836

5215

6022

2006–2007

5275

2243

6003

2007–2008

5026

2434

6004

2008–2009

4586

3266

6499

2009–2010

3244

4697

6003

2010–2011

2981

4818

5998

Source: DIAC Annual reports.

Where are refugees resettled from?

Australia decides the size and regional composition of its resettlement program taking into account information on global resettlement needs and priorities from the UNHCR, the views of stakeholders including States and Territories, and by considering the views of the Australian community. With respect to the latter, each year the Refugee Council of Australia receives funding to engage in a national consultation process and prepare a submission on issues the Government should consider in planning the coming year's refugee program.[27]

The Minister determines the number of places to be allocated including the regions, nationalities and ethnic or religious groups that will be the focus of the program each year. Last year half of Australia’s offshore refugee quota was filled by the resettlement of refugees and their families from Iraq, Burma, and Bhutan. The following table shows the number of offshore Convention refugees resettled to Australia (by country of birth) in 2010–11:

Country of birth

Numbers of refugee visas granted

Burma

1393

Iraq

1114

Bhutan

1001

Congo (DRC)

514

Afghanistan

423

Ethiopia

297

Somalia

144

Iran

141

Sri Lanka

78

Sudan

61

Others

832

Total

5998

Source: DIAC, ‘Humanitarian program outcomes 2010-11’.

In 2009–10 the Australian Government resettled refugees from various protracted situations and others in critical need. For instance, 138 visas were granted to Burmese Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, 1144 visas were granted to Bhutanese refugees in Nepal and nearly 2000 visas were granted to Burmese refugees in India, Malaysia and Thailand. Australia also resettled refugees stranded along the borders of Iraq and Syria, as well as a group of Somali refugees from Eritrea (numbers unknown).[28]

Since July 2009, the Government has allocated a nominal 12 per cent of the refugee category allocation of the offshore program to Woman at Risk (subclass 204) visas. This visa subclass is for females that are subject to persecution or are registered as being of concern to the UNHCR. They must also be living outside their home country, not have the protection of a male relative, and be in danger of victimisation, harassment or serious abuse because of their gender.[29] The top five countries of birth for Woman at Risk visas granted in 2010–11 were Congo (DRC), Afghanistan, Burma, Iraq and Eritrea.[30]

In recent times, the largest numbers of asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat have come from Afghanistan, followed by asylum seekers from Iran, Iraq, and Sri Lanka, and elsewhere.[31] As such, it is perhaps relevant to note that Australia has resettled 1645 Afghan Convention refugees in the last five years (2006–May 2011).[32] The number of Convention refugees Australia has resettled from its immediate region (from countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia) is discussed immediately below.

How many does Australia take from Indonesia and Malaysia?

Indonesia

Most of the boats carrying asylum seekers to Australia depart from Indonesia, primarily because of its close geographical proximity to Australia. Though there are varying estimates of the number of refugees and asylum seekers in Indonesia, UNHCR estimated there to be nearly 3000 asylum seekers and refugees at the beginning of 2011.[33] Most are from Sri Lanka, Iraq, Afghanistan, or Burma. Indonesia is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and the US State Department reports that the government prohibits refugees from working and accessing public elementary education.[34] UNHCR continues to be the primary provider of protection and assistance to refugees and asylum-seekers, undertaking responsibility for finding durable solutions, such as resettlement.[35]

Australia resettled only 560 UNHCR referred refugees from Indonesia during the period 2001 to February 2010.[36] The following table provides a yearly break-down of the number of visa grants since 2001:

Calendar year

Visa grants

2001

2

2002

39

2003

100

2004

103

2005

48

2006

13

2007

87

2008

45

2009

95

Total

532

Source: DIAC advice provided to the Parliamentary Library in 2010.

However, resettlement of UNHCR referred refugees from Indonesia recently substantially increased. For instance, 480 visas were granted in the 2010–11 financial year (as at May 2011)—that’s almost as many as Australia has resettled in nearly ten years.[37]  The reason for this substantial increase is not publicly known.

Malaysia

According to the UNHCR, ‘Malaysia hosts some 90 000 refugees and asylum-seekers, of whom 92 per cent are from Myanmar. Other significant refugee populations in the country originate from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Sri Lanka’.[38] In 2009–10, Australia granted 340 visas to refugees awaiting resettlement in Malaysia. All were to Burmese nationals and their children.[39] Australia granted 490 refugee visas to refugees awaiting resettlement with UNHCR assistance in 2010–11. Of these, 438 were granted to Burmese nationals (and their children); 22 were granted to Iraqi nationals; 21 were granted to Afghan nationals; 6 were granted to Sri Lankan nationals, and 3 were granted to Iranian nationals.[40] 

On 25 July 2011 the Australian and Malaysian governments signed an Arrangement which provided for the transfer from Australia to Malaysia of up to 800 asylum seekers while Australia would accept 4000 additional refugees from Malaysia (1000 over four consecutive years commencing 2011–12) thus increasing the offshore refugee annual quota to 7000. This was to represent the largest increase to Australia’s refugee resettlement program in years. However, when the High Court ruled invalid the Minister’s declaration of Malaysia as a country to which asylum seekers could be sent, the Government was forced to put the arrangement on hold until it secures bi-partisan support for legislative change to facilitate the transfer. Nonetheless, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has pledged that the Government will honour the commitment to resettle 4000 refugees from Malaysia. However, the additional 4000 places will now come out of the existing quota. That is, there will now not be an increase to the annual humanitarian program quota.[41]



[1].       Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (adopted 28 July 1951, entered into force 22 April 1954) 189 UNTS 137; The Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (adopted 31 January 1967, entered into force 4 October 1967) 606 UNTS 267.

[2].       United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), ‘Frequently asked questions about resettlement’, UNHCR website, viewed 17 October 2011, http://www.unhcr.org/4ac0873d6.html  

[3].       For example, Malcolm Fraser, Senator Hanson-Young, Professor Patrick McGorry,  John Manadue, Elizabeth Evatt, Andrew Bartlett, Professor Mary Crock, Professor Ron McCallum, John Dowd, Ian Macphee, Professor William Maley.

[4].       J Menadue, A Keski-Nummi and K Gauthier, ‘A new approach: Breaking the stalemate on refugees and asylum seekers’, Centre for Policy Development (CPD), August 2011, p. 29, viewed 17 October 2011, http://cpd.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/cpd_refugee_report_2nd-run-WEB-VERSION3.pdf

[5].       Article 1A(2) of the 1951 Refugee Convention.

[6].       UNHCR, UNHCR Master Glossary of Terms, UNHCR website, June 2006, viewed 17 October 2011, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/42ce7d444.html   

[7].       UNHCR, ‘Frequently asked questions about resettlement’, op. cit.

[8].       Ibid.

[9].       These include:  Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France,

          Iceland, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and United States of America.

[10].      UNHCR, ‘Frequently asked questions about resettlement’, op. cit.

[11].      E Feller (UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection), Statement made at 58th session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Program, 3 October 2007, cited in UNHCR, ‘Frequently asked questions about resettlement’, op. cit., p. 1. 

[12].      C Bowen, Last refugees leave Nauru, media release, 8 February 2008, viewed 5 December 2011, http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/media-releases/2008/ce08014.htm.

[13].      UNHCR, ‘Urban refugees’, UNHCR website, viewed 11 November 2011, http://www.unhcr.org/pages/4b0e4cba6.html.

[14].      Refugee (visa subclass 200); In‐Country Special Humanitarian (visa subclass 201); Emergency Rescue (visa subclass 203); and Woman at Risk (visa subclass 204).

[15].      Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), ‘Fact Sheet 60 – Australia's Refugee and Humanitarian Program’, DIAC website, viewed 3 November 2011, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets/60refugee.htm; DIAC, ‘Country Chapters (Australia)’, in UNHCR Resettlement Handbook, July 2011, viewed 17 October 2011, http://www.unhcr.org/3c5e542d4.html. Priority processing arrangements exist for example for Emergency Rescue visa applications of which there are very few.

[16].      This requires an assessment of the nature of any family or social ties the applicant has in Australia. 

[17].      In assessing this factor DIAC takes into account whether the applicant has a proposer, and if so, the level of assistance the proposer is likely to be able to provide, other support that may be available to the applicant from relatives, friends and community organisations in Australia, the applicant’s likely employment prospects, taking into account their work history, qualifications and English language ability. 

[18].      Migration Regulations 1994, Schedule 2, Subclass 200, criterion 200.203. 

[19].      DIAC, PAM3 – Migration Regulations: Assessing offshore humanitarian (Class XB) visa applications, LegendCom.  

[20].      DIAC, ‘Country Chapters (Australia)’, in UNHCR Resettlement Handbook, op. cit.

[21].      The Government’s proposed increase of 1000 places for four consecutive years commencing 2011–12 as a result of the bilateral Arrangement between Australia and Malaysia concluded on 25 July 2011 is discussed in further detail below under the heading ‘how many does Australia take from Indonesia and Malaysia’. 

[22].      An immediate family member is the refugee’s partner and dependent child (if any) or, if the proposer is not 18 or more years of age, the proposer’s parent: DIAC, ‘Refugee and Humanitarian Entry to Australia: Proposing an Immediate Family Member (Split Family Provisions)’, DIAC website, viewed 20 October 2011, http://www.immi.gov.au/visas/humanitarian/offshore/immediate-family.htm.

[23].      DIAC, PAM3: GenGuide D–Humanitarian visas–visa application and related procedures, LegendCom.  Visa applicants under the SHP must also be supported by a proposer (an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, or an organisation that is based in Australia) who is responsible for their settlement. This could include airfares for them to travel to Australia, providing accommodation upon arrival and assisting them to find permanent accommodation, and providing information and orientation assistance.

[24].      For example, as at January 2011 UNHCR estimated there to be some 51 000 asylum seekers residing in Canada: UNHCR, ‘UNHCR Canada: Statistical snapshot’, UNHCR website, viewed 11 November 2011, http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/page?page=49e491336.  

[25].      DIAC, Annual Report, 2010–11, p. 111.

[26].      DIAC, ‘Humanitarian program outcomes 2010-11, DIAC website, viewed 3 November 2011, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/statistics/pdf/humanitarian-program-outcomes-2010-11.pdf.

[27].      For further information and previous years’ submissions see: Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), ‘Annual submission on refugee program’, RCOA website, viewed 3 November 2011, http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/resources/consultations.html.

[28].      DIAC, ‘Population Flows: Immigration Aspects 2009-10: Humanitarian Program’, DIAC website, viewed 3 November 2011, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/popflows2009-10/

[29].      Regulations 204.211 and 204.222 Migration Regulations 1994.

[30].      DIAC, ‘Humanitarian program outcomes 2010-11, DIAC website, viewed 3 November 2011, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/statistics/pdf/humanitarian-program-outcomes-2010-11.pdf.

[31].      DIAC, ‘Asylum Statistics 2010-11’, DIAC website, viewed 3 November 2011, http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/statistics/asylum/_files/asylum-stats-2010-11-full.pdf.

[32].      DIAC, Answer to question taken on notice, Budget Estimates Hearing: Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio, 23–24 May 2011, Questioner: M Cash, question 166.

[33].      UNHCR, ‘2011 Regional Operations Profile - South-East Asia’, UNHCR website, viewed 13 November 2011, http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/page?page=49e488116&submit=GO.

[34].      US Department of State, ‘2010 Human Rights Report: Indonesia’, 8 April 2011, viewed 13 November 2011, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/eap/154385.htm.

[35].      UNHCR, ‘2011 Regional Operations Profile - South-East Asia’, op. cit.

[36].      Answer to Question on Notice, Additional Budget Estimates Hearing: Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio, Questioner: G Humphries, question 118, 9 February 2010. Note that out of this caseload, an additional 5 people were granted Partner (subclass 100) visas.

[37].      DIAC, Answer to Question taken on notice, Budget Estimates Hearing: Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio, Questioner: M Cash, question 209, 23–24 May 2011.

[38].      UNHCR, ‘2011 UNHCR country operations profile – Malaysia’, UNHCR website, viewed 3 November 2011, http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e4884c6.html.

[39].      DIAC, Answer to question taken on notice, Budget Estimates Hearing: Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio, Questioner: M Cash, question 209, 23–24 May 2011.

[40].      DIAC, Supplementary Budget Estimates 2011-2012, Immigration and Citizenship portfolio, Transcript, 17 October 2011, p. 52, viewed 3 November 2011, http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/legcon_ctte/estimates/sup_1112/index.htm.

[41].      J Gillard, Transcript of joint press conference, Canberra, 13 October 2011, viewed 21 October 2011, http://www.pm.gov.au/press-office/transcript-joint-press-conference-canberra-17

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