Refugee resettlement to Australia: what are the facts?

Updated 3 February 2015

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Elibritt Karlsen
Law and Bills Digest Section 

 

Contents

What is a refugee
What is resettlement?
How does the UN refugee agency decide who should be resettled?
Does Australia accept all refugees referred to it by the UN refugee agency?
Is there a queue?
Does Australia only take people from refugee camps?
Is resettlement the ‘right way’ to seek asylum?
How many refugees does Australia accept for resettlement?
How does Australia’s intake compare to other resettlement countries?
How does Australia’s refugee resettlement compare to its overall migrant intake?
How are visas under the Humanitarian Program distributed?
Are all Humanitarian Program visas for refugees?
Does Australia increase its intake for specific groups of refugees?
Should Australia increase its Humanitarian Program?
Does Australia contribute to the number of refugees requiring resettlement?
Do boat arrivals take the places from other refugees?
Can resettled refugees be reunited with family members?
Where are refugees resettled from?
How many refugees does Australia resettle from Indonesia?
How many refugees does Australia resettle from Malaysia?

 

What is a refugee

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

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 country that has acceded to the 1951 Refugee Convention or by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (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. Further, a person is a refugee within the meaning of the 1951 Convention as soon as they satisfy the above definition. This might actually occur before their refugee status is formally determined by a country or the UNHCR. Refugee status is therefore declaratory in nature—in that a refugee does not become a refugee because they have been recognised to be one but rather, they are recognised because they are a refugee.[3]

What is resettlement?

Resettlement’ is the term used to describe ‘the transfer of refugees from the country in which they have sought refuge to another State that has agreed to admit them’.[4] Broadly speaking, resettlement is a mechanism which provides protection to refugees whose life, liberty, safety, health or other human rights are at risk in the country where they sought refuge.[5] For example, a refugee and his family in China facing imminent return to the country from which they fled (North Korea) may urgently require resettlement to a resettlement country (such as USA, Canada or New Zealand) to avoid being forcibly returned to persecution. Similarly, a vulnerable young boy who fled persecution in Ethiopia to a Tunisian refugee camp after his family were killed may require resettlement to another country (such as Denmark or Norway) which has special programs set up to assist unaccompanied minors.

Resettlement is one of three durable solutions UNHCR is mandated to implement in cooperation with countries that have signed the 1951 Refugee Convention. The other two durable solutions to the plight of refugees are local integration (in the country of refuge) and voluntary repatriation (return to one’s home country). UNHCR will only consider resettlement if the other two options are not available.

How does the UN refugee agency decide who should be resettled?

Not every refugee will be eligible for resettlement. The seven categories (or criteria) used by UNHCR to select refugees for resettlement include:

  • Legal and/or Physical Protection Needs of the refugee in the country of refuge (this includes a threat of refoulement)
  • Survivors of Torture and/or Violence, where repatriation or the conditions of asylum could result in further traumatization and/or heightened risk, or where appropriate treatment is not available
  • Medical Needs, in particular life-saving treatment that is unavailable in the country of refuge
  • Women and Girls at Risk, who have protection problems particular to their gender
  • Family Reunification, when resettlement is the only means to reunite refugee family members who, owing to refugee flight or displacement, are separated by borders or entire continents
  • Children and Adolescents at Risk, where a best interests determination supports resettlement, and
  • Lack of Foreseeable Alternative Durable Solutions, which generally is relevant only when other solutions are not feasible in the foreseeable future, when resettlement can be used strategically, and/or when it can open possibilities for comprehensive solutions.[6]

Does Australia accept all refugees referred to it by the UN refugee agency?

No. Though the UNHCR recommends or refers people for resettlement, the ultimate decision to grant a visa rests with Australia’s Immigration Department. Australia has four offshore refugee category visas: Refugee (visa subclass 200); In‐Country Special Humanitarian (visa subclass 201); Emergency Rescue (visa subclass 203); and Woman at Risk (visa subclass 204).

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. Unsuccessful applicants receive a letter indicating that one or more of the legal criteria have not been met. Though there is no mechanism to appeal an adverse decision, unsuccessful applicants may re-apply.[7]

In 2013–14, approximately 35,000 people lodged offshore refugee visa applications (resulting in about 6,500 visa grants) and the average processing time for refugee visas from time of application to the grant of visa was approximately nine and a half months (42 weeks).[8]

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[9]
  • 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.[10]

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’.[11] In other words, there must be a visa available under the Humanitarian Program for the given program year.[12]

Is there a queue?

Asylum seekers can lodge an application to be granted an Australian offshore refugee category visa of their own volition without UNHCR involvement. However, it is not known how many such applications are made and successfully lead to visa grant. The reality is that the majority of asylum seekers who have fled persecution will, by practical necessity, register with UNHCR for assistance and if necessary (and if deemed eligible) resettlement to another country. 

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’. Though refugees may be assessed by UNHCR as eligible for resettlement, in reality they face a potentially indefinite waiting period for a resettlement country to offer them a resettlement place (depending on the urgency of their individual needs). This process has been likened to a hospital triage system in which needs are constantly reassessed in order to prioritise the most acute cases.[13] Moreover, 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.

Of the 145 States Parties to the 1951 Refugee Convention, only about 27 participate in the UNHCR resettlement program and accept quotas of refugees on an annual basis.[14] UNHCR estimates there are currently approximately 86,000 resettlement places offered by the resettlement countries around the world but that about 691,000 people currently need to be resettled, without including the possible resettlement needs generated by the Syrian conflict.[15] On this basis it calculates that resettlement needs will continue to outpace available resettlement places by a factor of 10 to 1.[16] In total, only about one percent of the world’s 10.5 million refugees are submitted for resettlement by the UNHCR.[17]

Does Australia only take people 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).[18] However, that does not mean that Australia only accepts refugees from UNHCR camps. 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 refugees live in camps.[19]

Is resettlement the ‘right way’ to seek asylum?

The perception that resettlement is the ‘right way’ to seek protection has been described as ‘misguided’.[20] This is because refugees do not have a right to be resettled and countries (including Australia) are not legally obligated under the 1951 Refugee Convention or any other international instrument to accept refugees for resettlement.[21]

Refugee resettlement is a voluntary scheme coordinated by the UNHCR which facilitates burden and responsibility sharing amongst countries that are party to the 1951 Refugee Convention. 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 (for example, spontaneous arrivals such as asylum seekers arriving by boat).[22]

How many refugees does Australia accept for resettlement?

As the following table indicates, the number of offshore refugee category visas granted since 1975 has varied greatly, the highest number being in the early 1980s under the Fraser Government when Australia granted 20,795 visas (mostly to Indochinese), and the lowest being 1,238 ten years later under the Hawke Government. From 2000 onwards, the Government has slightly increased the annual quota of refugee visas to its current level of around 6,000 visas—where it has remained for the last ten years (with one notable exception). The most dramatic increase was under the former Labor Government in 2012 when the number of offshore refugee visas granted doubled to over 12,000 in one year in response to the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers.[23]

Year
Refugee visas granted
Year
Refugee visas granted
1975–76
4,374
1995–96
4,643
1976–77
8,124
1996–97
3,334
1977–78
9,326
1997–98
4,010
1978–79
12,750
1998–99
3,988
1979–80
17,677
1999–00
3,802
1980–81
20,795
2000–01
3,997
1981–82
20,195
2001–02
4,160
1982–83
16,193
2002–03
4,376
1983–84
12,426
2003–04
4,134
1984–85
9,520
2004–05
5,511
1985–86
7,832
2005–06
6,022
1986–87
5,857
2006–07
6,003
1987–88
5,514
2007–08
6,004
1988–89
3,574
2008–09
6,499
1989–90
1,238
2009–10
6,003
1990–91
1,497
2010–11
5,998
1991–92
2,424
2011–12
6,004
1992–93
2,893
2012–13
12,012
1993–94
4,315
2013–14
6,501
1994–95
3,992
2014–15
6,000 (planned)
Source: Immigration Department, Population flows: immigration aspects 2008–09, source data, chapter 4; 1975–1977 data provided by the Department to the Parliamentary Library in 2001; 2009–2014 data extracted from Immigration Department Annual Reports (various years). It is relevant to note that family members included in the application of a refugee who has successfully applied for an offshore refugee visa (subclass 200) will generally also be granted the same visa. Thus, it would perhaps be inaccurate to say that Australia currently grants approximately 6,000 offshore refugee category visas to ‘refugees’ each year. 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.

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

Australia has been involved in the UNHCR resettlement program since 1977 and 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 who were resettled in 2012 (assisted by UNHCR):

Country of resettlement
Number of persons resettled
United States of America
53,053
Australia
5,079
Canada
4,755
Sweden
1,483
Norway
1,137
United Kingdom
989
Finland
763
New Zealand
719
Denmark
324
Germany
323
All others
627
Grand total
69,252
Source: UNHCR, ‘UNHCR Projected Global Resettlement Needs 2014’, UNHCR, p. 76.

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

Permanent migrants enter Australia via one of two distinct programs—the Migration Program for skilled and family migrants or the Humanitarian Program for refugees and humanitarian entrants. The number of refugees who are resettled each year from overseas is normally less than five per cent of Australia’s permanent Migration Program. In fact, on current projections the number of visas allocated to resettled refugees in 2014–15 will be one of the lowest percentages of the Migration Program for more than twenty years (only 3.2 per cent). The following table compares the number of permanent visas granted to refugees (resettled from overseas with UNHCR assistance) with the number of permanent visas granted to migrants under the Migration Program over the last twenty years:

Year
Migration program
Resettled refugees
% of migration program
1994–1995
76,500
3,992
5.2%
1995–1996
82,500
4,643
5.6%
1996–1997
73,900
3,334
4.5%
1997–1998
67,100
4,010
5.9%
1998–1999
67,900
3,988
5.8%
1999–2000
70,200
3,802
5.4%
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
168,685
5,998
3.6%
2011–2012
184,998
6,004
3.2%
2012–2013
190,000
12,012
6.3%
2013–2014
190,000
6,501
3.4%
2014–2015
190,000 (planned)
6,000 (planned)
3.2%
Sources: E Karlsen and J Phillips, Seeking asylum: Australia’s humanitarian program, Background note, Parliamentary Library, 2011; J Phillips and J Simon-Davies, Migration to Australia: a quick guide to the statistics, Quick guide, Parliamentary Library, 2014; Ministerial press releases (various years); Immigration Department, Australia’s refugee and humanitarian program, fact sheet 60 (various years).

How are visas under the Humanitarian Program distributed?

In early May each year, when announcing its annual Federal Budget, the Government traditionally reveals how many permanent visas will be granted in the forthcoming financial year under its Humanitarian Program. However, at the end of 2014, section 39A was inserted into the Migration Act 1958.[25] This new provision enables the Minister to specify by way of disallowable legislative instrument the minimum number of visas under the Humanitarian Program for a financial year. Thus, the number of visas to be made available under the Humanitarian Program for the next three years (to mid-2019) has already been revealed.[26]

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

  • Refugees and their families who have already arrived in Australia by boat or plane
  • Refugees and their families who will be ‘resettled’ from overseas, and
  • Humanitarian entrants and their families seeking to enter Australia from overseas. 

The Government has announced that in the 2014-15 financial year, it will maintain the annual intake quota under the Humanitarian Program at 13,750 places. Of these, 6,000 visas will be given to refugees that are resettled to Australia with assistance from the UNHCR. Another 5,000 will be given to humanitarian entrants under the Special Humanitarian Program (SHP).[27] Though onshore visa grants are not specifically allocated planning places,[28] based on these figures it appears the Government is estimating that some 2,750 onshore protection visas will be granted in the coming financial year.

Are all Humanitarian Program visas for refugees?

No. Places available to SHP visa entrants (currently 5,000) should be distinguished from places allocated to 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. When introduced in 1981, the SHP was designed specifically for people who were ‘quasi-refugees’ who were unable to return to their home country for fear of substantial discrimination.[29] 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.[30]

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. The Government does not pay the travel costs for people who are granted an SHP visa.

Traditionally, most of the places available under the SHP are taken up by family members of refugees and humanitarian entrants already in Australia.[31] Overseas refugees normally receive less than 50 per cent of the annual allocation of visas under the Humanitarian Program. The following table compares the number of visas granted to refugees (resettled from overseas with UNHCR assistance) with the number of visas that have been granted under the Humanitarian Program over the last 20 years:

Program year
Humanitarian Program (permanent) visas granted
Resettled refugees
% of Humanitarian Program
1994–95
14,858
3,992
27%
1995–96
16,252
4,643
29%
1996–97
11,902
3,334
28%
1997–98
12,055
4,010
33%
1998–99
11,356
3,988
35%
1999–00
15,860
3,802
24%
2000–01
13,733
3,997
29%
2001–02
12,349
4,160
34%
2002–03
12,119
4,376
36%
2003–04
13,603
4,134
30%
2004–05
12,988
5,511
42%
2005–06
13,836
6,022
44%
2006–07
12,902
6,003
47%
2007–08
12,825
6,004
47%
2008–09
13,414
6,499
48%
2009–10
13,756
6,003
44%
2010–11
13,799
5,998
43%
2011–12
13,759
6,718
49%
2012–13
20,019
12,012
60%
2013–14
13,768
6501
47%
2014–15
13,750 (planned)
6,000 (planned)
44%
Source: Department of Immigration figures published in Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers; Immigration Department Annual Reports (various years); E Karlsen and J Phillips, Seeking asylum: Australia’s humanitarian program, Background note, Parliamentary Library, 2011; DIBP, Australia’s Humanitarian Program 2013–14 (at a glance).

Does Australia increase its intake for specific groups of refugees?

Successive governments have made ad-hoc announcements that specific groups of refugees are to be resettled to Australia. Often these announcements are in response to mounting public pressure for humanitarian intervention. Occasionally these statements may inadvertently give the impression that such intakes will be in addition to Australia’s annual humanitarian intake quota, but that is not always the case. For example, the Coalition Government’s announcement on 3 October 2013 that a ‘further’ 500 Syrian refugees would be resettled in Australia in response to the UNHCR’s call for a coordinated international effort to resettle Syrian refugees was not in addition to but rather, came out of, Australia’s existing annual intake quota under the Humanitarian Programme (that is, the 13,750 places).[32]

On 13 December 2012, the former Labor Government similarly announced that Australia would offer locally engaged Afghan employees at risk of harm due to their employment in support of Australia’s mission in Afghanistan resettlement to Australia.[33] In the 2013–14 financial year, some 800 visa places were subsequently allocated to at-risk locally engaged Afghan employees (LEE) and their families. However, these too were not in addition to but rather, came out of Australia’s existing annual intake quota under the Humanitarian Programme.

Should Australia increase its Humanitarian Program?

The number of permanent visas available under the Migration Program (for skilled and family migrants) has been steadily increasing in recent years to 190,000 visas per annum. In contrast, the number of visas available under the Humanitarian Program has been maintained at a relatively steady number between 12,000 and 13,000 since 2000. The most significant departure from this trend was in 2012–2013 when the former Labor Government, acting on a recommendation of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, increased the Humanitarian Program to 20,000 visas with 12,000 being specifically allocated to the resettlement of overseas refugees. In making this recommendation, the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers considered that there were a number benefits in increasing the Humanitarian Program:

  • it would serve Australian national interests and international engagement
  • it would enhance the scope of cooperation with regional partners
  • it would give greater hope and confidence to asylum seekers in the region that regular migration pathways and international protection arrangements provide a practical, realistic and better alternative to dangerous boat voyages to Australia
  • it would enable Australia to assist in meeting growing humanitarian needs in the region in a fair and timely way
  • it would support Australian strategies to encourage other international resettlement countries to assist in more expansive ways, and
  • it would contribute to the strengthening of regional cooperation on asylum issues.[34]

The Expert Panel was also of the view that if the policy directions recommended in its report (such as regional processing in Nauru and PNG) were effective in reducing the number of maritime asylum seekers arriving, the Humanitarian Program should be progressively further increased to 27,000 places within five years taking into account Australia’s prevailing economic circumstances, the impact of the earlier increase and progress in achieving more effective regional cooperation arrangements.[35]

However, within six months of coming into power in 2013, the current Coalition Government announced that, acting upon an election commitment, it had reduced the number of refugees that would be resettled in 2013–14 from 12,000 to 7,000.[36] This meant the total Humanitarian Program would be reduced to 13,750 visas, bringing it more in line with historical trends. One of the reasons cited for the reduction was the cost associated with the increase, although the Immigration Department has stated that it is not possible to provide an individual costing for resettlement, noting that ‘there is no per head resettlement figure as the cost for resettling each case varies’.[37]

In making the recommendation for the expansion of the Humanitarian Program, the Expert Panel relied upon advice received from the Department of Finance and Deregulation which estimated the cost of the initial increase of 6,250 places to bring the program to 20,000 places to be in the order of $1.4 billion over four years (or $350 million per annum).[38]

Over the last few years, there have been consistent calls for the Humanitarian Program to be increased. Most recently, these have come from members of non-Government political parties, independent MPs, church leaders, advocacy groups, academics and policy makers.[39] In December 2014, in the context of negotiations with cross-benchers to secure passage of the Government’s Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014, the Immigration Minister announced that the Government would increase the number of visas available under Australia’s Humanitarian Program to 16,250 in 2017–18 and to 18,750 in 2018–19.[40] According to the Minister, the increase of 7,500 places will cost ‘more than $100 million to be funded by offsets that I have committed to within my portfolio’.[41]

Does Australia contribute to the number of refugees requiring resettlement?

It is not yet known whether Australia’s policy of regional processing and settlement (currently in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Nauru) may ultimately contribute to the number of refugees requiring resettlement, as some commentators have suggested.

According to UNHCR, successful local integration from the refugee perspective requires a preparedness to adapt to the lifestyle of the host country without having to abandon one’s own cultural identity. From the viewpoint of the host country, it requires willingness for communities to be welcoming and responsive to refugees and for public institutions to meet the needs of a diverse population. It also requires opportunities for refugees to become citizens and to enjoy full and equal participation in society.[42]

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, has expressed concerns about the ability of non-Melanesian refugees to successfully integrate into PNG.[43] Academic scholars such as Professor Ben Saul from the University of Sydney have similarly expressed scepticism regarding the viability of settling refugees in PNG. He is of the view that refugees are unlikely to be physically safe in PNG and their basic rights to have access to health care, education, work, social security and an adequate standard of living will not be sufficiently protected. If such rights were to be guaranteed a different problem would inevitably arise—inequality between refugees and PNG citizens.[44]

As the Government of Nauru will only provide refugees with temporary settlement for five years, the Australian Government is currently proposing to settle refugees processed by Nauru in Cambodia.[45] However, there have been similar concerns raised by academics, Cambodian NGOs, and Cambodia’s opposition leader, Sam Rainsy about the viability of the Government’s plan to do so.[46]

If these concerns prove to be well-founded (and there is little prospect of the refugees voluntarily repatriating to their home countries) some of these refugees may end up having to be resettled, presumably with the assistance of the UNHCR. In this context it is relevant to note that in 2012, UNHCR put forward close to 75,000 refugees for resettlement to participating resettlement countries. More than half of these were from Asia and the Pacific region, and Malaysia continued to be the asylum country from where the largest numbers of refugees were submitted for resettlement (some 15,800).[47] The substantial demand for resettlement in the region was largely due to the high proportion of countries that have not signed the 1951 Refugee Convention, the absence of national legal frameworks and procedures for refugee protection, limited local integration opportunities, and the lack of prospects for voluntary return.[48]

Australia may arguably end up being the destination country for some of these regionally settled refugees due to the nexus that already exists between them and Australia—as was the case with the majority of refugees processed in Nauru under the Howard Government. When the Government engaged in regional processing in PNG and Nauru from 2001–2007, some 1,153 people subsequently required resettlement. A number of resettlement countries ultimately agreed to accept these refugees with the assistance of the UNHCR including New Zealand (401), Sweden (21), Canada (16), Denmark (6) and Norway (4). However, the majority—705 refugees (or 61 per cent) ended up being resettled in Australia.[49]

Similarly, the decision by the former Labor Government to intercept a vessel carrying asylum seekers headed for Australia (later transferred to an Australian Customs vessel, the Oceanic Viking and taken to Indonesia), resulted in over 70 refugees requiring resettlement following their refusal to disembark in Indonesia. A number of resettlement countries ultimately agreed to accept these refugees with the assistance of the UNHCR including USA (22), New Zealand (13), Norway (3), and Canada (2). Again, a proportion of these refugees ended up being resettled in Australia (22 or 16 per cent).[50]   

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 visas that will be available under the ‘Humanitarian Program’ (13,750 in 2014–15) the visas are distributed in a way that accommodates ‘spontaneous arrivals’, such as those arriving undocumented by boat or plane. In other words, onshore protection visa grants to refugees who have arrived by boat or plane are deducted from the SHP annual quota (5,000 in 2014–15). However, this does not mean that the number of visas available for refugees to be resettled declines. Rather, the linkage causes a strain on the number of places available to humanitarian entrants under the SHP.

The following table illustrates the reduction in SHP visa grants (for humanitarian entrants and immediate family members of resettled refugees) over the last ten years which in some years is commensurate with fluctuating onshore protection visa grants. Refugee category visas granted to resettled refugees have remained relatively steady (noting a dramatic increase in 2012 by the former Labor Government):

Year
Offshore visa SHP visa grants
Onshore protection visa grants
Offshore refugee visa grants (resettled)
2001–2002
4,258
3,885
4,160
2002–2003
7,280
866
4,376
2003–2004
7,668
1,896
4,134
2004–2005
6,585
4,601
5,511
2005–2006
6,836
5,215
6,022
2006–2007
5,275
2,243
6,003
2007–2008
5,026
2,434
6,004
2008–2009
4,586
3,266
6,499
2009–2010
3,244
4,697
6,003
2010–2011
2,981
4,818
5,998
2011–2012
714
7,038
6,004
2012–2013
503
7,504
12,012
2013–2014
4515
2775
6501
2014–2015
5,000 (planned)
2,750 (planned)
6,000 (planned)
Source: Immigration Department Annual Reports (various years).

Can resettled refugees be reunited with family members?

It is widely recognised that family reunification is a critical factor in the successful settlement of a refugee in their country of asylum. Resettled refugees can apply to be reunited with family members in two ways—either through the SHP or through the family stream of the regular Migration Program. In 2014–15 the Government has allocated 5,000 visas under the SHP which will be shared amongst the following groups of people:[51]
  • immediate family members of refugees who have been granted protection visas in Australia[52]
  • family members (such as siblings and parents) of refugees who have been resettled from overseas, and
  • humanitarian entrants (and their immediate family members)—that is, people who are subject to substantial discrimination amounting to gross violation of human rights in their home country.[53]

Though it is not publicly known how many applications currently remain outstanding for family reunification (also known as ‘split family’), in August 2012 there were some 16,300 outstanding split family SHP applications and a significant backlog, with delays in family reunion expected to exceed 20 years. [54] In 2012–13, the former Government, acting on a recommendation of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, removed the right of refugees who had arrived by boat to propose family members under the SHP. This policy shift was considered necessary to (amongst other things) ease the pressure on the SHP backlog and create an incentive for asylum seekers to seek protection earlier and closer to their country of origin.

However, it is not entirely clear whether refugees already in Australia waiting to be reunited with family members abroad will greatly benefit from the additional places being made available under the SHP.[55] At the time of the Federal Budget, the Minister announced that of the 13,750 places made available in the 2014–15 financial year, a minimum of 4,000 places would be provided under the SHP component for families of offshore humanitarian entrants.[56] By August 2014, this number had increased to 5,000 visas.[57] However, though there are 5,000 places available in the SHP, the Minister subsequently allocated a minimum of 4,400 places for Iraqi and Syrian nationals ‘predominantly out of the SHP’.[58]

As mentioned, refugees can also sponsor family members through the family stream of the regular Migration Program, though visa application charges apply and applicants can also experience significant delays in processing times.

When the former Government removed the right of refugees who had arrived by boat to propose family members under the SHP, it simultaneously made available 4,000 additional visas to family members sponsored by refugees under the family stream of the Migration Program. In 2012–13, approximately 1,000 visas were subsequently granted to family members of protection visa holders.[59] Before the current Government announced the removal of the 4,000 places in December 2013, another 1,000 visas were granted to family members of protection visa holders in 2013–14.[60] It is not yet known whether the Government’s decision to remove the 4,000 additional places has had the effect of simply shifting the existing backlog to the family stream of the Migration Program.

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 engages in a national consultation process and prepares a submission on issues the Government should consider in planning the coming year’s refugee program.[61]

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. In 2013–14 more than half of Australia’s offshore refugee quota was filled by the resettlement of refugees and their families from Afghanistan and Myanmar. The following table shows the number of offshore Convention refugees resettled to Australia (by country of birth) in 2013–14:

Country of birth
Numbers of refugee visas granted
Afghanistan
2,531
Myanmar
1,145
Iraq
829
Bhutan
312
Syria
297
Iran
269
Congo (DRC)
241
Eritrea
187
Somalia
185
Ethiopia
129
Others
376
Total
6501
Source: Immigration Department, ‘Australia’s Humanitarian Program 2013–14 (at a glance)’.

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 who 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.[62] In 2013–14, the Government granted 1,052 Woman at Risk visas. The top five countries of birth for women granted these visas were Afghanistan, Iraq, Myanmar, Congo (DRC), and Eritrea.[63]

Year
Woman at risk visa grants
2001–02
478
2002–03
504
2003–04
393
2004–05
841
2005–06
995
2006–07
980
2007–08
819
2008–09
788
2009–10
806
2010–11
759
2011–12
821
2012–13
1673
2013–14
1052
2014–15
1000 (planned)
Source: Immigration Department Annual Reports (various years).

How many refugees does Australia resettle from Indonesia?

The majority of 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 estimates that Indonesia hosts approximately 9,500 asylum seekers and refugees as at 31 August 2014.[64] More than half of all the asylum seekers registered by UNHCR in Indonesia were from Afghanistan. The remainder were from countries such as Iran, Somalia, Iraq, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.[65] Indonesia is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and the US State Department reports that the government prohibited refugees from working and accessing public elementary education.[66] 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.

Australia resettled only 560 UNHCR referred refugees from Indonesia during the period 2001 to February 2010.[67] The following table provides a yearly break-down of the number of refugee visa grants since 2001:

Years (calendar and financial)
Visa grants
2001
2
2002
39
2003
100
2004
103
2005
48
2006
13
2007
87
2008
45
2009
95
2010–11
480
2011–12
181
2012–13
605
2013–14
600
2014–15
450 (planned)
Source for calendar years 2001–2009: Departmental advice provided to the Parliamentary Library in 2010; source for financial years 2010–2015: Answers to questions at Budget Estimates hearings;[68] transcript of interview with the Immigration Minister.[69]

Though resettlement of UNHCR referred refugees from Indonesia has substantially increased from 2010–11, the Government has recently announced that it will only resettle 450 refugees annually from Indonesia in future and no one who has registered with UNHCR on or after 1 July 2014.[70] According to the UNHCR, in 2013 a total of 898 refugees were resettled from Indonesia to Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, and the US. [71]

According to UNHCR statistics, as at 31 August 2014, more than 3,000 new asylum seekers had registered with UNHCR in Indonesia, representing a decrease of 44 per cent from the same period last year. The average processing time from registration to interview for refugee status determination ranged from eight to 19 months.[72]

How many refugees does Australia resettle from Malaysia?

Malaysia is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention but according to the UNHCR, as at 31 August 2014, there were close to 150,000 asylum seekers, refugees and other persons of concern to the UNHCR residing in Malaysia, the vast majority of whom were from Myanmar (137,000).[73] According to UNHCR, as at 31 August 2014, 8,197 persons had been submitted for resettlement and 5,666 persons had been accepted for resettlement.[74]

In 2009–10, Australia granted 340 visas to refugees awaiting resettlement in Malaysia. All were to refugees from Myanmar.[75] Australia granted 490 refugee visas to refugees awaiting resettlement with UNHCR assistance in 2010–11. Of these, the vast majority (438) were from Myanmar.[76] 

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 and for Australia to accept 4,000 additional refugees from Malaysia (1,000 over four consecutive years commencing 2011–12).[77] However, when the High Court ruled invalid the Minister’s declaration of Malaysia as a country to which asylum seekers could be sent, the former Labor Government was forced to put the Arrangement on hold.[78] Nonetheless, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard pledged that the Government would continue to honour the commitment to resettle 4,000 refugees from Malaysia. However, the additional 4,000 places were to be drawn from the existing quota.[79]

Thus, in 2011–12 Australia granted 1,350 visas to refugees awaiting resettlement in Malaysia, and another 1,350 in 2012–13.[80] The Department expected that it would resettle around 1,000 people in Malaysia in 2013–14 but final figures confirming actual grants for the last financial year have not yet been made publicly available.



[1].         Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (adopted 28 July 1951, entered into force 22 April 1954) 189 UNTS 137; Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (adopted 31 January 1967, entered into force 4 October 1967) 606 UNTS 267, Refworld website, accessed 25 March 2014.

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

[3].         UNHCR, Handbook and Guidelines on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status under the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, December 2011, accessed 27 August 2014.

[4].         UNHCR, UNHCR Master Glossary of Terms, UNHCR website, June 2006, accessed 25 March 2014.  

[5].         United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), ‘Frequently asked questions about resettlement’, UNHCR website, accessed 25 March 2014.

[6].         UNHCR, UNHCR Resettlement Handbook, UNHCR website, chapter 6, accessed 25 August 2014.

[7].         Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), ‘Country Chapters (Australia)’, in UNHCR Resettlement Handbook, op. cit.

[8].         DIBP, ‘Australia’s Offshore Humanitarian Program: 2013–14’, DIBP website, accessed 19 January 2015; DIBP, ‘Country Chapters (Australia)’, in UNHCR Resettlement Handbook, July 2011, accessed 1 December 2014. Priority processing arrangements exist for example for Emergency Rescue visa applications, of which there are very few.

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

[10].      In assessing this factor the Department 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. 

[11].      Migration Regulations 1994, Schedule 2, Subclass 200, criterion 200.223. 

[12].      DIBP, PAM3–Migration Regulations: Assessing offshore humanitarian (Class XB) visa applications, LegendCom database, accessed 20 August 2014. 

[13].      J McAdam and F Chong, Refugees: Why seeking asylum is legal and Australia’s policies are not, University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, 2014, p. 155.

[14].      These include:  Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Uruguay, and United States of America: UNHCR, ‘Frequently asked questions about resettlement’, op. cit.

[15].      UNHCR, ‘UNHCR Projected Global Resettlement Needs 2014’, UNHCR website, accessed 20 August 2014.

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

[17].      UNHCR, ‘Resettlement’, UNHCR website, accessed 15 January 2015. 

[18].      The application form for a Refugee subclass 200 visa states that the requirements for the visa are that the applicant is living outside their home country; and subject to persecution in their home country; and in need of resettlement: DIBP, Application for an Offshore Humanitarian visa (Form 842), accessed 8 September 2014.

[19].      UNHCR, ‘Urban refugees’, UNHCR website, accessed 25 March 2014.

[20].      J McAdam and F Chong, Refugees: Why seeking asylum is legal and Australia’s policies are not, University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, 2014, p. 68.

[21].      Ibid., p. 68.

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

[23].      Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, Canberra, August 2012, p. 14, accessed 25 August 2014.

[24].      For example, as at mid-2013 UNHCR estimated there to be 17 000 asylum seekers residing in Canada: UNHCR, ‘UNHCR Canada: Statistical snapshot’, UNHCR website, viewed 10 June 2014.  

[25].       Migration Act 1958, accessed 28 January 2015.

[26].      See Legislative Instrument IMMI 14/117, registered on 23 December 2014, Comlaw website, accessed 15 January 2015.

[27].      S Morrison, Stopping the boats to help Iraqis and Syrians, media release, 17 August 2014, accessed 15 January 2015.

[28].      The Government placed a limit on the number of protection visas that could be granted in the last financial year (2013–14) but this was subsequently found to be invalid by the High Court in Plaintiff M150 of 2013 v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection [2014] HCA 25 (20 June 2014) and Plaintiff S297-2013 v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection [2014] HCA 24 (20 June 2014), accessed 8 September 2014.

[29].      I McPhee (then Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs), 'Ministerial Statement: Special Humanitarian Program’, House of Representatives, Debates, 18 November 1981, p. 3072, accessed 4 December 2014.

[30].      DIBP, PAM3: GenGuide D–Humanitarian visas–visa application and related procedures, LegendCom database, accessed 12 August 2014.

[31].      For example, family members of refugees who arrived in Australia by plane, or arrived by boat prior to 13 August 2012, or were granted one of the five offshore refugee visas.

[32].      S Morrison, 500 more Syrian refugees to be settled in Australia, media release, 3 October 2013, accessed 15 January 2015; S Morrison and M Binskin (Vice–Chief of the Defence Force), Press Conference, Sydney, transcript, 4 October 2013, accessed 15 January 2015.

[33].      C Bowen (Minister for Immigration and Citizenship) and S Smith (Minister for Defence), Visa policy for at-risk Afghan employees, media release, 13 December 2012, accessed 25 August 2014.

[34].      Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, op. cit., p. 39.

[35].      Ibid.

[36].      S Morrison, Honouring our promise to provide more resettlement places to offshore humanitarian applicants, media release, 6 March 2014, accessed 15 January 2015. Note that the Government has again reduced the number of refugees it will resettle in 2014–15 from 7,000 to 6,000 but increased the number of SHP places from 4,000 places to 5,000 places: S Morrison, Stopping the boats to help Iraqis and Syrians, media release, op. cit.

[37].      Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Answers to Questions on Notice, Immigration and Border Protection portfolio, Supplementary Estimates 2012–15 October 2012, Question SE12/0446, accessed 1 December 2014.

[38].      Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, op. cit., p.143. In the broader context it is perhaps relevant to note the Department of Finance and Deregulation also estimated the cost of establishing the regional processing centre on Nauru to be in the order of between $1.2–$1.4 billion over four years.

[39].      Such as members within the Australian Labor Party; members of the Nationals’ Federal Council; the Australian Greens; Independent MP Nick Xenophon; Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies; and a diverse group of 35 high-level policymakers and experts. See further: Australia21 et al, ‘Beyond the boats: Building an asylum and refugee policy for the long term’, November 2014, accessed 18 December 2014.

[40].      S Morrison, Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014, transcript, 3 December 2014, accessed 15 January 2015; Legislative Instrument IMMI 14/117, registered on 23 December 2014, Comlaw website, accessed 15 January 2015.

[41].      S Morrison, Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014, transcript, 3 December 2014, accessed 15 January 2015.

[42].      UNHCR, Refugee Resettlement—An International Handbook to Guide Reception and Integration, September 2002, accessed 27 August 2014.  

[43].      A Guterres (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), Letter to C Bowen (former Minister for Immigration and Citizenship), 9 October 2012, accessed 27 August 2014. See also: D Glazebrook, ‘Papua New Guinea’s refugee track record and its obligations under the 2013 Regional resettlement arrangement with Australia’, Australian National University, Discussion Paper 3 of 2014, accessed 18 September 2014.

[44].      B Saul, Rudd’s PNG plan unlikely to comply with international law, The Conversation, 20 July 2013, accessed 18 September 2014.

[45].      Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Government of Australia, relating to the Settlement of Refugees in Cambodia, 26 September 2014, UNHCR Refworld website, accessed 18 January 2015.

[46].      Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, Fact sheet: Cambodia and refugee protection, 15 August 2014, accessed 27 August 2014; C Uhlmann, ‘Refugee resettlement concerns outlined by Cambodia's opposition leader’, The 7.30 Report, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), 26 August 2014, accessed 27 August 2014.

[47].      UNHCR, UNHCR Projected Global Resettlement Needs, 2014, accessed 27 August 2014.

[48].      Ibid.

[49].      Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, op. cit., p. 131.

[50].      Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, Answers to Questions on Notice, Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio, Supplementary Budget Estimates 2010–11, 19 October 2012, Question 40, accessed 27 August 2014; Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, Official committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 76, accessed 27 August 2014; Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, Official committee Hansard, 23 May 2011, p. 160, accessed 27 August 2014.

[51].      Under the SHP, declared immediate family members might include the refugee’s spouse or de facto partner (including same sex partner), dependent children, parents or siblings.

[52].      Family members of boat arrivals who arrived on or after 13 August 2012 are currently ineligible to apply.

[53].      S Morrison, Stopping the boats to help Iraqis and Syrians, op. cit.

[54].      Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, op. cit., pp. 40–41, 135.

[55].      In 2012–13 only 503 SHP visas were granted (due largely to the large numbers of protection visas granted onshore) but in 2014–15, it is expected that 5,000 SHP visas will be granted.

[56].      S Morrison, 20,000 places for those most in need of protection, media release, 13 May 2014, accessed 15 January 2015.

[57].      ‘There will be 6 000 places for refugees referred by the UNHCR, including 1,000 places for women at risk and their dependants and 5,000 for people proposed by their close family in Australia under the SHP’: S Morrison, Stopping the boats to help Iraqis and Syrians, op. cit.

[58].      S Morrison, Stopping the boats to help Iraqis and Syrians, op. cit.

[59].      DIAC, Annual report 2012–13, DIAC, Canberra, 2013, p. 42, accessed 15 January 2015.

[60].      DIBP, Annual report 2013–14, DIBP, Canberra, 2014, p. 58, accessed 15 January 2015.

[61].      For further information and previous years’ submissions see: Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), ‘Annual intake submission and consultations’, RCOA website, accessed 20 August 2014.

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

[63].      DIBP, ‘Australia’s Humanitarian Program 2013–14 (at a glance)’, DIBP website, accessed 15 January 2015. 

[64].      UNHCR, ‘Indonesia Factsheet’, September 2014, UNHCR website, accessed 15 January 2015. 

[65].      Ibid.  

[66].      US Department of State, ‘2013 Human Rights Report: Indonesia’, p. 18, accessed 15 January 2015.

[67].      Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Answers to Questions on Notice, Immigration and Border Protection portfolio, Additional Estimates, 2009–10, Question 118, 9 February 2010, accessed 15 January 2015.Note that out of this caseload, five people were granted Partner (subclass 100) visas.

[68].      Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Answers to Questions on Notice, Immigration and Citizenship portfolio, Supplementary Estimates, 2011–12, 17 October 2011, Question 214, accessed 11 December 2014; Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Answers to Questions on Notice, Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio, Supplementary Estimates, 2012–13, 15 October 2011, Question 290, accessed 11 December 2014; Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Answers to Questions on Notice, Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio, Supplementary Estimates, 2013–14, 19 November 2013, Question 369, accessed 11 December 2014.

[69].      C Uhlman, ‘Interview with Scott Morrison’, ABC AM Programme, transcript, Australian Broadcasting Corporation  (ABC), 19 November 2014, accessed 15 January 2015.

[70].      S Morrison, Changes to resettlement another blow to people smugglers, media release, 18 November 2014, accessed 15 January 2015.

[71].      UNHCR, ‘Indonesia Factsheet’, op. cit.    

[72].      Ibid.  

[73].      UNHCR, ‘Malaysia Factsheet’, September 2014, UNHCR website, accessed 15 January 2015.

[74].      Ibid.

[75].      Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Answers to Questions on Notice, Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio, Budget Estimates, 2011–12, 24 May 2012, Question 209, accessed 11 December 2014. 

[76].      Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Supplementary Estimates, 2011-2012, Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio, Official Committee Hansard, 17 October 2011, p. 52, viewed 15 January 2015. Note that eight of these people were born in Malaysia to Burmese refugees.

[77].      ‘Arrangement between the Government of Australia and the Government of Malaysia on transfer and resettlement’, DIBP website, accessed 15 January 2015. See also ‘Operational guidelines to support transfers and resettlement’, DIBP website, accessed 15 January 2015.

[78].      Plaintiff M70/2011 v Minister for Immigration and Citizenship; Plaintiff M106 of 2011 v Minister for Immigration and Citizenship [2011] HCA 32, Austlii website, accessed 11 December 2014.

[79].      J Gillard, Transcript of joint press conference, Canberra, 13 October 2011, accessed 15 January 2015.

[80].      Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Answers to Questions on Notice, Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio, Supplementary Estimates, 2012–13, 15 October 2011, Question 290, accessed 11 December 2014; Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Answers to Questions on Notice, Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio, Supplementary Estimates, 2013–14, 19 November 2013, Question 369, accessed 11 December 2014.

 

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