Manus and Nauru refugees told they'll be resettled in US, more approvals expected in coming months

Manus and Nauru refugees told they'll be resettled in US, more approvals expected in coming months

Manus and Nauru refugees told they'll be resettled in US, more approvals expected in coming months

Updated 20 September 2017, 19:20 AEST

More than 50 refugees in Australia's offshore detention centres will today be told they have been granted resettlement in the United States.

The first refugees from Australia's offshore detention centres to be resettled in the United States could land in the US within a week.

Key points:

  • The notice given to refugees says further processing and more approvals are expected in the coming months
  • News comes as other refugees on Manus Island are being told to prepare to get out of the detention centre
  • There are about 200 asylum seekers whose refugee claims have been rejected

Fifty-four men, women and children from Manus Island and Nauru have been told they have been accepted into the US Refugee Admissions Program, under a deal struck between Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and former US President Barack Obama.

Refugees on Manus Island have been told they will be flown to Port Moresby on Sunday (September 25) and then to the US two days later.

Sudanese refugee Abdul Aziz Adam said three of his friends had been approved.

"When they told their friends they got their paper they did not even believe that this is really real," he said.

"It is really real and the centre now is holding a small celebration.

"Others were crying because some of their best friends, they are leaving them behind but the majority, they are so, so happy.

"Especially the guys who have received their notes, they are so excited."

Rohingya refugee Jalaluddin Mohammad is one of the men on Manus Island who has been approved.

"I am hopeful now I can go to America. America is one good country. I want to [go to] a safe country," he said.

It is welcome news for Mr Mohammad, who was despairing about the worsening ethnic conflict in Myanmar.

"Our country has now many problems, our families are feeling sad," he said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a video shared on social media that further processing and more approvals were expected in the coming months.

"Vetting and processing by the United States will continue and further decisions by US authorities in respect of others are expected in due course," he said.

The White House has repeatedly confirmed it would honour the arrangement it made with Australia to consider taking in refugees in Nauru and Papua New Guinea who were of special interest to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees due to their high level of vulnerability.

A US official said refugees in this group who had a qualifying relationship to a person in the US also qualified for resettlement, provided all security and medical checks were complete.

To date, it has determined one refugee meets those requirements and that person will also be resettled in the coming weeks.

The deal had angered US President Donald Trump, and Mr Turnbull described the resettlement news as a welcome development.

"It was an arrangement that I entered into with his predecessor Barack Obama. President Trump had, obviously, some reservations about it to say the least," he told Channel Seven.

"But nonetheless, he's honouring that commitment by his predecessor and I want to thank him for doing so."

The news comes as other refugees on Manus Island were being told to get their belongings and get out of the detention centre before it closes at the end of October.

Those men found to be refugees can move to the East Lorengau Transit Centre, which is near the main town on Manus Island.

Iranian refugee and journalist Behrouz Boochani said the 600 men inside did not believe they would be safe if they moved there.

"The refugees, the people in the detention, they don't want to leave the detention and go to East Lorengau," he said.

"[So] we have some good news and in other side very bad news and pressure."

About 200 other asylum seekers have had their refugee claims rejected.

The Australian Government said 100 had accepted voluntary repatriation and would leave soon.

Those that stay and cannot be deported, such as a large cohort of Iranians, are likely to be indefinitely detained in a new centre Australia is building for the PNG Government in Port Moresby