A Quick Look at some Immigration Facts

December 8, 2011 at 3:53 am Leave a comment

In many discussions about  ‘boat arrivals’, and particularly in some of the popular media, the people who arrive by boat are cast as invaders who will take over Australia because there seems to be a belief that they are arriving in great numbers. And they are still referred to as ‘illegal’ – which they aren’t, under Australian law. I don’t discount the problem of how best to process them, nor the fact that they might be taking the places of other more deserving refugees in camps in Africa  by jumping the queue etc. Those are very valid issues which I won’t address in this article.

I wanted to get a clearer understanding of the numbers involved, so I decided to do a little searching on the Australian Department of Immigration website (see this link). I discovered the following interesting information by drilling down into the figures:

  • In the year 2009-10, Australia had a net immigration figure of about 215,000.  (‘Net’ because people leave as well as arrive.)
  • Most immigrants (approx. 93%) come through usual immigration processes, but around 13,750 arrive and are given a visa to stay through our Humanitarian Progam.  That’s just under 7% of that total of 215,000.
  • The Humanitarian Program ( which deals with people who are refugees or asylum seekers),  has two major ‘components’ (the Department of Immigration’s word):  On-shore and Off-shore.
  • The Off-shore component is basically made up of people applying whilst in their countries; or those who apply from a third country, or those in refugee camps. Approximately 8,970 people will be given visas through this component, or 4.17% of all immigrants.
  • The On-Shore component is basically derived from two sources, those who arrive by air and then ask for permission to stay, and those who are ‘irregular maritime arrivals’ (Department words again for what we tend to call ‘boat people’). Last year, 2,367 air arrivals were granted visas (1.1% of all immigrants).  2,148 irregular maritime arrivals were granted visas (of 4,597 who applied). That 2,148 represents 0.99% of all immigrants.

I’m sorry to be a kill-joy to all the fear-mongers, but less than 1% is not a vast number. And even if it doubled, or tripled, it’s still not many, especially in a population of 22.7million.

Entry filed under: Politics and Government, Social justice issues. Tags: , , , .

Part-way there on marriage equality “Long time between drinks”

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