Fact sheet

What is Operation Sovereign Borders?

Established by the Australian Government, Operation Sovereign Borders is a military-led border security operation aimed at combating maritime people smuggling and protecting Australia’s borders.

Australia remains committed to ending the criminal activity of people smuggling and preventing vulnerable people from risking their lives trying to reach Australia in unsafe boats.

It has been almost three years since the last people smuggling boat made it to Australia. All people smuggling boats that have attempted to reach Australia have been intercepted and returned to their country of departure.

What are Australia’s border protection policies?

Australia has put in place tough border protection measures to undermine and combat maritime people smuggling, prevent loss of life at sea and protect Australia’s borders.

Do the rules apply to everyone?

Yes. Anyone who attempts to travel illegally by boat to Australia will be turned back to their country of departure. The rules apply to everyone: families, children, unaccompanied children, educated and skilled - there are no exceptions.

Don’t trust people smugglers, they tell lies…

We know that people smugglers continue to tell lies to desperate people looking to make Australia home. People smugglers are nothing more than criminals who will take your money and put your life in danger.

People smugglers will tell you that it’s easy to get to Australia, or that the policies are softening. Do not believe them! You cannot make Australia home without a valid visa. The Australian Government has not and will not change its strong position.

Don’t believe it when people smugglers say that the laws don’t apply to you or that the law will change soon. The laws apply to you, there are no exceptions.

Anyone who tries to come to Australia illegally by boat will not be settled in Australia. Do not waste your money. Do not believe the lies of people smugglers.

How can I make Australia home?

People who are considering resettlement in Australia should remember that there is a legal way to come to Australia. If you try to come to Australia illegally you will never make Australia home.

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has an offshore resettlement programme, as part of the Australian Government’s Refugee and Humanitarian Programme. This programme involves resettlement of people needing humanitarian assistance to Australia who do not have any other durable solution available to them.

For those not eligible for the offshore resettlement programme, and wanting to come to Australia to work, you will need to apply for a working visa.

For more information on legal migration methods please visit the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.