Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has yesterday signed an Arrangement with the President of Nauru Baron Waqa regarding unauthorized maritime arrivals, the office of the Minister for Immigration, Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Tony Burke said in a release.
Under the Arrangement, which is similar to the one between Australia and PNG, it will now be possible for asylum seekers to not only be processed in Nauru, if they are found to be in need of protection, they could also be settled there, Burke's office said.
Australia said it is clear that the only way to deal with the challenge of people smuggling is through a comprehensive regional approach.
Australia expects to first resettle family groups and unaccompanied minors in Nauru and the two governments have been working together in identifying appropriate locations for family accommodation.
The Minister reiterated that the people who come by boat without a visa will not be settled in Australia and the new arrangement will allow families and unaccompanied minors to settle and reside in Nauru without gaining citizenship in Australia.
"A cornerstone of this regional approach is to ensure people smugglers do not have a product to sell because people that come by boat without a visa will not be settled in Australia," Burke said.
The Immigration Office has instructed Australian officials to work with officials from Nauru to streamline visa arrangements.