New statistics have been released by Australian immigration authorities on the number of humanitarian visas granted during the 2007-08 financial year.
Over 13,000 people were granted asylum in Australia during 2007-08, according to Immigration Minister Chris Evans.
"The 13,014 humanitarian visas granted in 2007-08 shows our commitment to helping some of the world's most needy people rebuild their lives in Australia," Evans said.
Among the largest group of people granted humanitarian visas in 2007-08 were Burmese refugees. 2,961 visas were granted to the Burmese nationals in 2007-08, and Australia expects that Burmese will be one of the largest group of people to enter Australia under its humanitarian program by the end of 2008-09.
The second largest group to enter Australia under its humanitarian program were Iraqis, with 2215 admitted to Australia in 2007-08.
The following is a list of refugee source countries for Australia's 2007-08 humanitarian program:
- Burma: 2961
- Iraq: 2215
- Afghanistan: 1165
- Sudan: 1158
- Liberia: 410
- Democratic Republic of Congo: 348
- Burundi: 303
- Iran: 302
- Sierra Leone: 267
- Sri Lanka: 243
- Other countries: 1407
35 percent of humantarian visas were granted to people from the Middle-East and southwest Asia. The rest of Asia made up 34 percent of the program for 2007-08 and those from Africa made up 30 percent.
Close to 83 percent of humanitarian visas were granted to people applying from overseas and 1900 initial protection visas were granted within Australia.
13.7 percent were granted to women under the "women at risk" category. According to Evans, this was well beyond the program's target of 10.5 percent for 2007-08.