Despite the prominence of the topic of migrant smuggling in public and political debates in Australia, comprehensive and accurate data on this issue is not readily available. In short, the number of persons smuggled to Australia is not known – or at least not publicly documented. 

Until 2005, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) provided information pertaining to the number and circumstances of unauthorised arrivals by air and boat each year. Relevant publications setting out this information have, however, either been discontinued or not updated, and several ‘Fact Sheets’ and other data collections have since been removed, classified, or have not been updated for many years. Up until late 2013, the Australian Government reported on the arrival of individual migrant smuggling vessels, including the number of crew and smuggled migrants. These reports, along with most other details on individual migrant smuggling ventures to Australia have been suppressed or discontinued following the change of Government in September 2013. A limited amount of information on unauthorised arrivals into Australia can be found in other government sources, but many of these are not updated regularly and are often not comprehensive.

Due to the lack of current, official, open-source information available post-2005, any outline and analysis of the current levels of migrant smuggling to Australia remains speculative. The data shown on this website attempts to identify the number of unauthorised boat and air arrivals into Australia over the last decade using a combination of sources. These figures may be indicative of the levels of migrant smuggling into this country, but it must be noted that these figures do not represent the actual number of smuggled migrants. This is because some unauthorised arrivals by boat may have occurred without the involvement of migrant smugglers and instances of migrant smuggling by air are very infrequently detected.