No. Some people believe that people seeking asylum who come to Australia by boat or air are “queue jumpers,” and are taking the place of people who have registered with UNHCR or those who are waiting in refugee camps.
The UN resettlement system does not operate in this way. A queue implies that resettlement is an orderly process and by waiting for a period of time, a person will reach the front of the queue. The UN resettlement system prioritises asylum seekers for resettlement according to considered needs and situations of vulnerability, rather than waiting time.
In 2019, there were 26 million refugees worldwide. 26 countries admitted 107,800 refugees for resettlement despite UNHCR assessing 1.4 million refugees were in need of this lifeline. During that year, Australia resettled 18,200 refugees from overseas.
In 2020, the global places made available by states to UNHCR was 57,600. COVID-19 has impacted the ability of states to fill those spaces.
The Refugee Council of Australia says that if a global queue did actually exist, people joining the back of the queue might wait more than 180 years for resettlement.