Sunday, 13 November 2016
Media release

Refugee resettlement from Regional Process Centres

The Australian Government has reached a further third country resettlement agreement for refugees currently in regional processing centres.

Resettlement arrangements for those found to be refugees in Nauru and Manus Island already exist with Papua New Guinea and Cambodia.

This further agreement is with the United States and it will not under any circumstance be available to any future illegal maritime arrivals (IMAs) to Australia.

The priority under this arrangement will be for resettlement of those who are most vulnerable, namely women, children and families.

US authorities will conduct their own assessment of refugees and decide which people are resettled in the US.

Refugees will need to satisfy standard requirements for admission into the US, including passing health and security checks.

This process will take time and the resettlement will be gradual.

This arrangement is supported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and we will continue to engage with UNHCR on its implementation.

We will continue to support the Governments of Nauru and Papua New Guinea to return people determined not to be owed protection. These people should return to their country of origin.

The Government is acting decisively to resolve Labor's border legacy. It has fallen to the Coalition to stop the boats, close the onshore detention centres and remove children from detention. As a result of these actions, we are now able to address another stark symbol of Labor's failure: those illegal maritime arrivals in regional processing centres on Manus Island and Nauru.

Settlement in Australia will never be an option for those found to refugees in regional processing centres nor for anyone who attempts to travel to Australia illegally by boat in the future.

Australia's border protection policy remains consistent and firm. Operation Sovereign Borders will continue to turnback people smuggling ventures where it is safe to do so and any illegal maritime arrivals to Australia will be sent to regional processing centres.

The Australian Government has reinforced our maritime assets in the waters to Australia's north and increased our surveillance capabilities to ensure that any boats that attempt to come to Australia will be detected and turned back.

Under the Coalition, Australia's borders are now stronger than ever.