Factsheets

Common questions
  • Debunking Myths
    Are asylum seekers who arrive by boat 'illegal'? Are asylum seekers who arrive by boat 'queue jumpers'? Is Australia being 'flooded' with asylum seekers'? This factsheet answers common questions and debunks myths about refugees and asylum seekers.
     
  • Refugees from Syria
    This factsheet describes the nature of the refugee crisis in Syria. It explains the international distribution of Syrian refugees and the responses of both Australian and overseas governments. 
     
  • The 2018 Global Compacts on Refugees and Migrants
    In 2018 world leaders will adopt two landmark documents – a Global Compact on Refugees, and a Global Compact on Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration. This factsheet explains what the Global Compacts are expected to entail and the process leading to their adoption.
     
  • The cost of Australia's asylum policy
    This factsheet provides a guide to sources on the financial cost of Australia’s asylum policy, as well as information regarding the economic contribution of refugees.


Refugees and asylum seekers in Australia
  • Refugee status determination in Australia
    Refugee status determination is the process by which a person (asylum seeker) may be recognized as a refugee. This factsheet discusses the policies and processes for RSD in Australia.
    Last updated: 3 June 2016
     
  • ‘Fast tracking’ refugee status determination
    This factsheet examines the 'fast track' process for refugee status determination in Australia and draws comparisons with the United Kingdom’s Detained Fast Track process.
     
  • Temporary Protection Visas and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas
    This factsheet describes Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs) and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas (SHEVs). The factsheet explains the difference between temporary and permanent visas, Australia’s policy on TPVs, the impacts on refugees and whether TPVs are consistent with international law. It also looks at how other countries use TPVs and whether they are effective at deterring asylum seekers. The factsheet also includes a list of further reading.
     
  • Immigration detention
    This factsheet examines immigration detention, including whether Australia’s policy on immigration detention is consistent with international law, the rationale for detention, and alternatives to detention. 
      
  • Legal assistance for asylum seekers
    This factsheet describes the legal assistance available to people seeking asylum in Australia. It explains the forms of legal assistance available, the implications of limited legal assistance entitlements, and how Australia compares with other countries in providing access to legal assistance.
       
  • Complementary protection
    This factsheet explains the concept of complementary protection and its operation in Australia.
      
  • Can Australia deport refugees and cancel visas on ‘character grounds’?
    This factsheet explains whether refugees can be deported or removed from Australia. The factsheet sets out the provisions for deportation and cancellation of visas on ‘character grounds’. It explains whether this is consistent with international law, and examines what other countries, such as New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States do.


Protection at Sea
  • ‘Turning back boats’
    This factsheet describes the policy of ‘turning back boats’ under both Operation Relex and Operation Sovereign Borders. It discusses their operational challenges, examines whether these policies are consistent with international law and whether other countries turn back boats. 
     
  • Paying people smugglers
    This factsheet examines the potential legal implications of the an alleged payment in June 2015 from Australian government officials to Indonesian smugglers to turn back 65 Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi and Burmese asylum seekers who were attempting to reach New Zealand by boat.  


Offshore Processing
  • Offshore processing: an overview
    This factsheet provides an overview of Australia’s ‘offshore’ or ‘third country’ processing policies, whereby asylum seekers seeking to enter Australia by boat without a visa are sent to the Republic of Nauru (Nauru) or Manus Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to have their claims for refugee status processed. This factsheet serves an introduction to the Kaldor Centre’s series of publications on offshore processing.
      
  • Australia’s responsibility for asylum seekers and refugees in Nauru and Papua New Guinea
    This factsheet sets out Australia’s responsibilities under international law towards asylum seekers and refugees that have been transferred from Australia to Nauru and Papua New Guinea (PNG). It starts with a general introduction to offshore processing, and explains what the concept of ‘State responsibility’ means under international law. It also explains the concept of ‘sovereignty’, and what sovereignty has to do with Australia’s legal obligations to asylum seekers and refugees offshore.
     
  • Refugee status determination in Nauru 
    This factsheet describes current arrangements for refugee processing and protection in the Republic of Nauru (Nauru). It introduces Nauru and the offshore processing regime that has been in place there since August 2012, and sets out the arrangements for refugee status determination (RSD), including the relevant legislation, early observations about Nauruan capacity to perform RSD, how RSD is performed in practice, and the search for durable solutions for people found to be refugees in Nauru. The factsheet also sets out more general information about Nauru’s human rights obligations under international and domestic law, key facts and figures, and key dates in relation to refugee processing since 2012.
     
  • Refugee status determination on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea 
    This factsheet describes current arrangements for refugee processing and protection on Manus Island in the Independent State of Papua New Guinea (PNG). It introduces Manus Island and the offshore processing regime that has been in place there since August 2012, and sets out the arrangements for refugee status determination (RSD) in PNG, including the relevant legislation, early observations about PNG capacity to perform RSD, how RSD is performed in practice, and the search for durable solutions for people found to be refugees in PNG. The factsheet also sets out more general information about PNG, including information PNG's human rights obligations under international and domestic law, key facts and figures, and key dates in relation to refugee processing since 2012.
     
  • Australia's obligations with respect to asylum seeker children who may be sent to Nauru 
    This factsheet sets out Australia’s responsibilities under international law with respect to asylum seeker children who may be sent to Nauru to have their protection claims processed. It should be read together with the factsheet on Australia’s responsibility under international law for asylum seekers and refugees in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
      


Refugees in our region
  • Regional cooperation
    This factsheet describes regional cooperation in the refugee protection context. The factsheet discusses why it is important, and what a proper regional cooperation framework would look like. 
     
  • The Cambodia agreement
    This factsheet describes the agreement between Australia and Cambodia for the relocation of refugees from Nauru to Cambodia, outlines the agreement’s main features, answers some key questions about its application, describes progress on its implementation to date, and sets out some of the international reactions to its announcement. It supplements the general factsheet on refugee protection in Cambodia, and the in focus briefs on the implementation of the Cambodia agreement, and Cambodia’s treatment of Montagnard asylum seekers from Vietnam.
     
  • Australia-United States Resettlement Arrangement
    A brief explainer on the willingness of the United States to consider resettling refugees held on Nauru and Manus Island as well as those who have been transferred back to Australia for medical treatment.


Other topics
  • European asylum law
    This factsheet provides a brief overview of the key components of European asylum law, including the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and European human rights law.