While you’re sitting in the office, booking trips for your clients, spending time with family and even getting your lunch, there’ll be at least four Australians arrested overseas, according to new figures.

The  2016/17 Consular State of Play released by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) earlier this month, revealed that some 1,641 Australian passport holders were arrested during the 12 months while travelling internationally, a six percent increase on the prior period.

Some say it’s a relatively low figure compared to the number of outbound Australian travellers per year, others find it surprisingly high.

According to the government report, of those who sought consular assistance for their legal issues, around nine percent (285) were taken into custody in the US and around two in five of them were arrested over immigration problems.


Last year, also saw the number of Aussies behind bars in the UAE and Chinaclimb by four and 10 percent respectively, while arrests in Thailand and the Philippines dropped by seven and nine percent.

For every Aussie arrested last year, there was one who passed away while travelling, with some 1,615 deaths reported, up nine percent on the previous 12 months.

Illnesses were the main cause of death overseas, making up 446 cases, followed by natural causes (340), accidents (211), suicide (68) and murder (49).


In an online statement Australia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, said these figure emphasised the need for Australians to be as prepared as possible by taking out the right travel insurance.

“Appropriate insurance is essential – if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.”

Julie Bishop, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“Travellers need to choose the right insurance for their trip. Many travellers mistakenly believe their insurance provides appropriate cover.”

“Uninsured travellers who are hospitalised overseas or need medical evacuation can face crippling medical bills. Medicare and the Government will not cover those expenses.”

READ: It may be several years until travel insurance is compulsory for travel to Thailand

What are your thoughts on the stats?