Fact Check One Nation
Fact Checking our way through Pauline Hanson's One nation policies

Illegal Immigration policy

Statement: Illegal migrants whether they arrive by boat or air have not adhered to our immigration criteria and are choosing where they want to live, by gaining entry illegally and claiming refugee status.”

  • It is not illegal to seek asylum as a refugee.  Australia is a signatory to the UNHCR Refugee Convention and became a signatory through its own independent choice.  Countries that have ratified the Convention are obliged to protect refugees that are on their territory in accordance with the terms of the Convention.  Article 33 provides that no Contracting State shall expel or return (‘refouler’) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.  This is known as the principle of “non-refoulment”, which is widely accepted as part of customary international law.  This means that even States that are not party to the Refugee Convention must respect the principle of non-refoulment.  The right to seek and enjoy asylum is also a fundamental right stated in the 1984 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Australia was involved in the drafting of.


  • Furthermore, the status of a person as a refugee is a criterion to apply for various permanent and temporary visa classes.  Non-citizens outside Australia seeking permanent entry to Australia on refugee or humanitarian grounds must apply for a visa of the appropriate class.  For example, s36(2) of the Migration Act provides for the grant of a protection visa to a non-citizen to whom the Minister is satisfied that Australia has protection obligations because the person is a refugee.  Asylum seekers who arrive unauthorized can apply for temporary protection visas or safe haven visas if allowed by the Minister to remain in Australia.


  • In 2011, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection conducted a study on the contributions first and second generation refugees make to society.  The study involved analysing data on the ABS Census and DIAC’s Settlement Database, consideration of earlier Australian research on second generation of particular migrant groups, and conducting interviews with 649 humanitarian families and in-depth discussions with 70 key people and organisations who provide services, employment and education to humanitarian entrants.  We summarize of the report, titled, “Economic, social and civic contributions of first and second generation humanitarian entrants.” below:
  • (Tackling the Ageing Population) Humanitarian entrants tend to be substantially younger than the national Australian population.  This means that for the bulk of entrants, they are more likely to remain in Australia, spend their entire working life in Australia and raise families in Australia.  This counters the pressures of Australia’s ageing population by adding to the supply of the working age population.
  • (Revival of Regional Areas) The study observed a shift in the trend of humanitarian entrants settling in cities and major urban areas to settling in non-metropolitan and regional areas.  This has helped to address regional labour force shortages, particularly for unskilled or low-skilled jobs.
  • (Meeting Labour Shortage) The study also found that generally humanitarian entrants struggled with employment as a result of certain barriers in their first few years of settlement (eg language barrier, lack of sufficient documentation on arrival, physical and mental health problems resulting from exposure to violence and persecution).  However, as time elapses, the findings showed that the first generation arrivals that completed their education in Australia and second generations tended to have a higher level of labour force participation than the Australia-born.
  • (Entrepreneurial Qualities) The report also showed that, consistent with other studies, humanitarian entrants displayed  greater entrepreneurial qualities than other migrant groups, with a higher than average proportion engaging in small and medium business enterprises.  In addition, humanitarian entrants meet many of the labour shortages in low skill, low status and low paid occupations.
  • (Potential Bilateral Trade Development) Humanitarian entrants were also found to develop and maintain economic links with their origin countries, particularly through sending remittances and transferring technology, skills and knowledge.  A number of other studies have shown that migrant tend to have a positive impact on bilateral trade between Australia and their countries of origin, and the report suggests that bilateral development also holds true for these entrants.
  • (Volunteering) Many refugees volunteer as a pathway to gain employment, building confidence, learning about and participating in their new communities.  Such volunteering work tends to be directed towards assisting new settlers by way of providing transport, housing, child care, interpreting and other practical assistance.
  • (Other Social Contributions)  The study also found that most humanitarian integrated well into their new communities and thus engage and make major contributions across a spectrum of the Australian life, such as arts, sports, science, research, business and community.  Significantly, a survey conducted showed that a number of former refugees had since gone on to take on key community roles such as local councillors, mediators and school support workers.

For a more detailed summary of findings, see: http://www.border.gov.au/ReportsandPublications/Documents/research/economic-social-civic-contributions-booklet2011.pdf#search=first%20and%20second%20generation%20humanitarian


To read the original report, see: http://www.border.gov.au/ReportsandPublications/Documents/research/economic-social-civic-contributions-about-the-research2011.pdf