NSW Refugee Health Service
 
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FAQs - Where do refugees settle?

There are 13,750 refugee and humanitarian entrants settled in Australia each year as part of Australia's Refugee and Humanitarian Program. An estimated 4300 of this group settle in NSW each year.  This may increase in future as the Federal Government has committed to increasing the annual intake to 18,750 by 2018.

In September 2015 the Federal Government allocated an additional 12,000 places to those escaping the Syrian conflict. The NSW government expects to settle 6000 of these additional refugees between 2016 and 2018. 
Between 1 January 2006 and 1 January 2016, a total of 44,082 refugees and humanitarian entrants settled in NSW. Up to three quarters initially settle in Greater Western Sydney with smaller but significant numbers settling in other parts of Sydney and in rural and regional areas of NSW including Illawarra, Hunter New England, Mid North Coast and Murrumbidgee.

The table below shows the distribution of refugee and humanitarian entrants by Local Health District boundaries. These figures reflect the area of intended or initial settlement, not necessarily the area that people eventually settle.

Table 1: Humanitarian Arrivals to NSW by Local Health District (LHD) as at 1 Jan 2012 - 1 Aug 2016

Local Health District Arrivals Average per year
South West Sydney 10,374 2305
Western Sydney 4795 1066
Illawarra/Shoalhaven 1288 286
Hunter New England 750 167
Mid North Coast 700 156
South Eastern Sydney 423 94
North Sydney 373 83
Murrumbidgee 300 67
Nepean Blue Mountains 250 56
NSW 19,253 4278


Graph 1: Humanitarian Arrivals to NSW by Local Health District (LHD) as at 1 Jan 2012 - 1 Aug 2016


Source: compiled from Department of Social Services' (DSS) Settlement Reporting Facility.

Where are people coming from?

The table below shows the top fifteen countries of birth of humanitarian entrants in NSW. This does not include asylum seekers.

Table 2: Top fifteen countries of Birth of Humanitarian Entrants settling in NSW, 1 Jan 2006 – 1 Jan 2016

Country of Birth* Total
Iraq 15550
Iran 3933
Afghanistan 3587
Syria 2844
China 1958
Burma 1630
Sri Lanka 1527
Pakistan 1341
Egypt 1245
Sierra Leone 904
Bhutan 567
Lebanon 452
Nepal 426
India 393
Thailand 356
Others 6448
TOTAL 26239

* Please note that country of birth does not necessarily denote country of origin. For example, the table indicates there is a number of people born in Lebanon, but these people are likely to be Syrian children born in Lebanon, not Lebanese nationals.

Source: Department of Social Services' (DSS) Settlement Reporting Facility. To compile your own statistical data on the refugee and humanitarian program by location, gender, age, language, education etc. see the Department of Social Services' Settlement Reporting Facility.

Note: The number of asylum seekers living in the community is not included. Detention statistics are provided periodically by the Department of Border Security which include the number of asylum seekers living in the community who had previously been detained. 

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Page last updated: 23 January, 2019