Immigration Detention in Australia: A quick guide to the statistics – Parlinfo

Extract from an article by Janet Phillips,  Social Policy

This guide provides current statistics on immigration detainees in Australia (onshore) since 1989-90. It updates the appendices of a more detailed Parliamentary Library research paper, Immigration detention in Australia (2013). The research paper includes an overview of the historical and political context surrounding mandatory

immigration detention (introduced by the Keating Government in 1992) and details of Australian Government immigration detention policy responses between 1976 and 2013. For an update on immigration detention policy since 2013 see the Parliamentary Library research paper, A comparison of Coalition and Labor government asylum policies in Australia since 2001 (2017).

For statistics on the number of asylum seekers who have been accommodated (offshore) at regional processing centres in Nauru and PNG see the Parliamentary Library publications, Australia’s offshore processing of asylum seekers in Nauru and PNG: a quick guide to statistics and resources (2016); and The ‘Pacific Solution’ revisited: a statistical guide to the asylum seeker caseloads on Nauru and Manus Island (2012) for details on the asylum cohorts processed offshore during the Howard Government.

Statistics in this guide include:

  • Table 1: Immigration detainees by year since 1989—the numbers of detainees held both in closed immigration detention facilities (including Christmas Island) and in community detention during the financial year. Detainees may be held for short periods in a single financial year or may be detained for longer periods over multiple financial years.
  • Table 2: Unaccompanied minors in immigration detention—an ‘unaccompanied minor’ (UAM) in this context is usually a person under the age of 18 years (without a parent or relative 21 years or older) who originally arrived unauthorised by boat seeking asylum. UAMs are mostly detained under community placements or in ‘alternative places of detention’ where appropriate services and support are available.
  • Table 3: Community detention—for those where a ‘residence determination’ has been made by the Minister enabling them to reside at a specified place in the community, not in an immigration detention centre. Families and UAMs are often detained under these arrangements.
  • Table 4: Bridging visa (BVE) grants—since November 2011, eligible unauthorised maritime arrivals (referred to in departmental statistics as IMAs) have been released from immigration detention on a Bridging visa E (BVE). These are temporary visas that allow the visa holder to reside in the community while they wait for their immigration status to be resolved.

SOURCE: Phillips, Janet. “Immigration detention in Australia: a quick guide to the statistics.” Parliamentary Library, Research Paper Series, 2016-17, 21 March 2017

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