The world population is currently undergoing unprecedented levels of forced displacement.

In 2019, the UNHCR counted 70.8 million people worldwide who had been forced from their homes by conflict and persecution. Among them are nearly 25.9 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.

There are also millions of stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights, such as education and health care. 85 per cent of displaced people remain in long-term refugee situations hosted in countries that are usually close to the countries from which they fled.

Only a small amount – 55,680 in 2018 – are permanently resettled in a third country.

An inclusive definition recognises that people may have refugee backgrounds without meeting the legal definition of a refugee, which relates to the intergenerational circumstances of Australian-born students whose parents/carers fled persecution.

Foundation House defines ‘refugee background’ to include:

  • People found to be refugees (as legally defined).
  • Asylum seeking people who arrive in Australia and subsequently apply for protection as refugees.
  • People who have suffered persecution in their country of nationality or usual residence.
  • Refugees’ immediate family members, including children.