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1000 Days of Strong and Secure Borders

Operation "Sovereign Borders" has been a primary focus of the government to deal with 'people smuggling'.

On April 23, days after announcing changes to Subclass 457 Visa and Citizenship, Minister for Immigration Peter Dutton released the following statistics for comparison.

Under Labor, Australia saw:

  • 50,000 illegal maritime arrivals;
  • More than 800 people smuggling boats;
  • More than 8,000 children in detention; and 
  • More than 1,200 deaths at sea

You can read the full statement here:

Humanitarian Programme

The Department of Immigration has also updated their fact sheets and statistics in relation to Australia's Humanitarian Programme.

The Humanitarian Programme has two important functions:

  • the onshore protection/asylum component fulfils Australia's international obligations by offering protection to people already in Australia who are found to be refugees according to the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees
  • the offshore resettlement component expresses Australia's commitment to refugee protection by going beyond these obligations and offering resettlement to people overseas for whom this is the most appropriate option.

Onshore protection

The onshore component of the Humanitarian Programme aims to provide options for people who wish to apply for protection (or asylum) after arrival in Australia.

More information on the onshore component of the programme is available on the Department's website.
See: Onshore – Protection

Offshore resettlement

The offshore resettlement component comprises two categories of permanent visas. These are:

  • Refugee-for people who are subject to persecution in their home country, who are typically outside their home country, and are in need of resettlement. The majority of applicants who are considered under this category are identified and referred by UNHCR to Australia for resettlement. The Refugee category includes the Refugee, In-country Special Humanitarian, Emergency Rescue and Woman at Risk visa subclasses.
  • Special Humanitarian Programme (SHP)-for people outside their home country who are subject to substantial discrimination amounting to gross violation of human rights in their home country, and immediate family of persons who have been granted protection in Australia. Applications for entry under the SHP must be supported by a proposer who is an Australian citizen, permanent resident or eligible New Zealand citizen, or an organisation that is based in Australia.
    See: Proposing an applicant

Humanitarian Programme figures

Humanitarian Programme grants by category 2010–11 to 2014–15
Refugee 5984 5988 11 985 6499 6002
Special Humanitarian Programme 2966 714 503 4507 5007
Onshore1 4828 7043 7510 2753 2747
13 778 13 745 19 998 13 759

13 756


In 2016–17, the Programme is 13,750 places comprising:

• a minimum of 11,000 places for people offshore (including 1200 places for vulnerable women and children) focused on the priority regions of Middle East, Asia and Africa and resettling among others, Syrians, Iraqis, Myanmarese, Afghans and Congolese

• the balance of places for people onshore who have arrived in Australia lawfully. In 2017–18, there will be a minimum of 16,250 places, and the Programme will increase to 18,750 places in 2018–19

• The 2018–19 offshore component of the Programme is expected to represent Australia’s largest intake in 30 years 

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