Australia continues to see suppressed demand for irregular maritime ventures to Australia, due to the continued view held by potential irregular immigrants (PII) that there is a low prospect of permanent resettlement in Australia. Despite this, attempts at irregular maritime migration to Australia and within the region occurred throughout the period, albeit at low levels.
Deteriorating economic, health or security conditions in traditional PII source countries have the potential to drive individuals to take desperate measures to escape such conditions in the future, possibly through irregular migration to Australia. This remains a concern; however, to date, COVID-19 has further suppressed demand for irregular migration as closed borders, strict lockdown measures and restricted international and domestic travel in
PII source countries create a difficult operating environment for people smugglers. Similarly, reduced incomes and employment opportunities for PII in the current environment limit their ability to access irregular migration pathways, as their focus is on more immediate needs.