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Hot Topics 77: Refugees

Hot Topics 77: Refugees

Hot Topics Cover Image Refugees

Australia is a signatory to the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. This issue looks at who is defined as a 'refugee', their legal status, and Australia's obligations under international law. Included are statistics, and sections on Australian laws and policies, case law and children in immigration detention.

This issue was written by the Refugees Council of Australia (RCoA) in 2011 and the 2012 Hot Topics Live! event provided additional information.

Since publication there have been significant changes in Federal Government policy, however this publication still provides an overview of the issue.

The Refugee Council have provided a detailed analysis of the recommendations by the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, August 2012 and have a range of information on latest developments on their website.

About the Author

The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) is the national umbrella body for refugees and the organisations and individuals who support them. We have over 150 organisational members and more than 550 individual members. RCOA promotes the adoption of flexible, humane and practical policies towards refugees and asylum seekers both within Australia and internationally through conducting research, advocacy, policy analysis and community education. This project was coordinated by RCOA Communications Manager, Sophie Peer.

Find out more about Hot Topics.


Chapter one

What is a refugee?

Definitions - refugees - asylum seekers - internally displaced persons.

Chapter two

Australia's refugee program

Brief history of Australia's refugee program.

Chapter three

Australia's humanitarian system

Offshore component - onshore component - visa subclasses - becoming an Australian - pathways to citizenship for refugee and humanitarian entrants. 

Chapter four

Refugee and humanitarian progam statistics

Australia's role in refugee protection - refugee and humanitarian visa applications - refugee and humanitarian visa grants by sub-class - top 10 countries of origin - onshore entrants.

Chapter five

Australian laws

Migration Act - mandatory detention.


Hot Topics 77: Refugees. Hot Topics is intended as an introductory guide only and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information, the Legal Information Access Centre does not assume responsibility for any errors or omissions.

© Library Council of New South Wales 2011. Copyright in Hot Topics is owned by the Library Council of New South Wales. Material contained herein may be copied for the non-commercial purpose of study or research, subject to the provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).