News National PM announces one-off refugee resettlement deal with US

PM announces one-off refugee resettlement deal with US

malcolm turnbull
Donald Trump's 'post-truth politics' may be having an influence in Australia. Photo: AAP
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The United States and Australia have agreed to a one-off refugee resettlement deal for people on Manus Island and Nauru.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed the agreement this morning, saying it has been preceded by “months and months of planning”.

Speaking in Canberra alongside Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, Mr Turnbull said the agreement was a one off.

As of October 31, there were a total of 872 people in the processing centre on Manus Island and 390 people in Nauru’s centre.

Mr Turnbull said the deal would only apply to those currently on the islands.

“It is a one-off agreement — it will not be repeated,” he said.

“It is only available to those currently in the regional processing centres.”

No timeline has been given for the process and Mr Turnbull said it would not be rushed.

“There will be American officials from Homeland Security coming to Australia to begin the process in the next few days,” he said.

“We’re not setting timelines.”

Mr Dutton also confirmed that the Australian Government was in the final stages of negotiation with Nauru for a 20-year visa.

The visa will apply to people who refuse the settlement offer in the US.

peter dutton
Dutton confirms negotiations with Nauru on 20-year visas. Photo: Getty

“We still rely on regional processing, which is why Nauru will remain in its current status forever,” he said.

“Let that be a very clear message to all people that you will not step foot on Australian soil.”

Mr Turnbull would not be drawn on the number of refugees that would be resettled as part of the arrangement, but he said that the priority is “very much on the most vulnerable” — in particular, families on Nauru.

He said the agreement would be administered with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees and people found not to be refugees will not be accommodated by the agreement.

According to the Immigration Department, 675 refugees on Manus Island had been given positive Refugee Status Initial Assessment Notifications, as well as 941 on Nauru.

Mr Dutton said that people who “aren’t owed protection need to return back to their country of origin”.

“It is important to point out 650 people have already done that,” he said.