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Having posted a few times on Australia’s policies towards asylum seekers I decided to drill down into the actual statistics of who arrives in Australia, by what means, and what are the gender, age, nationality and success rates for visa applications. I’ve presented the data below as a series of graphs for the year 2012-13 but the data exist for the four years before that as well. The data source is the report: Asylum Trends – Australia: 2012-13 Annual Publication. Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Australia.
In 2012-13, the Australian government claims that 8,308 people arrived in Australia by air seeking asylum. These people came from a wide range of countries, 34% from North Africa and the Middle East, 31% from South and Central Asia, and 15% from North-East Asia. In the same year, the Australian government claims that 18,119 people arrived in Australian waters by boat seeking asylum. These people mostly came from South and Central Asia, and the Middle East.
The pattern by age is markedly similar with a slight increase in the proportion of arrivals under 30 years of age by boat (66%) compared to by air (59%).
Conversely, a stark difference is encountered in the gender of the people arriving by boat (85% male) compared to by air (61% male).
Similarly a stark difference exists between the rate of approval of protection visa for asylum seekers arriving by boat (88%) compared to by air (48%). The largest group of air arrivals is from China (14%) and of those only 26% are assessed as being in need of asylum. These data support the commonly stated maxim that people determined and desperate enough to risk their lives approaching Australia by boat must have legitimate reasons to do so. Conversely, those who can afford to arrive by air are not necessarily in need of asylum.
Not surprisingly, the Australian government only managed to assess 5,206 asylum seekers in 2012/13 who arrived by boat (a woeful 29% of the total that arrived that year). I added the total number of assessments, for asylum seekers arrived by boat, listed since 2008 (15,623) and compared this with the number of asylum seekers who had arrived in that period (35,933). This means that only 57% of asylum seekers claims have been assessed leaving a frighteningly large 20,310 not yet assessed, presumably now suffering in our concentration camp style ‘detention centres’.
I should also point out that the number of years taken to reach a decision about an asylum seeker is not presented in the report which is an interesting omission by the department of secrecy. Similarly the rate of approval by Australian government is 67.5% and it’s only after appeal and assessment by an independent body that the approvals rate reaches 88%. No mention is made or the time taken to perform this convoluted process, the living conditions or mental health of the refugees during that time.
The report has much richer data available for airborne arrivals compared to maritime arrivals. I should also note that the trends shown here vary sometimes greatly from year to year as do the total number of arrivals. Since Morrison became the minister for immigration, the number of seaborne arrivals mysteriously jumped from 7,373 to 18,119 which seems suspicious considering the need of the government to support it’s cruel policies. I can’t comment on the veracity of the data presented in the report, especially considering that it’s provided by the same department as Minster Scott Morrison who regularly deliberately misrepresents facts to the Australian public. However, I still think that it’s an interesting resource and it’s better to be armed with data than simply wave one’s arms around!