Asylum hopes raised as US officials return to Nauru

US immigration officials have returned to Nauru to notify dozens of asylum-seekers they will be resettled in America, inform others they have been rejected, and conduct interviews with those who may be part of subsequent intakes.

Under an agreement struck with the Obama administration, the US agreed to take 1250 asylum-seekers from Australia’s offshore processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island, subject to the Trump administration’s “extreme vetting”. Of those 1250, 54 have been resettled in the US.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s office would not comment on how many refugees were likely to be part of the next intake, or when their resettlement would take place, saying the issue was a “matter for the US”.

The US Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration had not responded to a request for comment by deadline. It said earlier this month that more refugees were expected to be resettled “in coming months”.

Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said he understood that as many as 90 asylum-seekers might have been notified they were to be part of the next intake.

He said about 200 of the 800 asylum-seekers on Nauru had not been interviewed by US authorities by Saturday, and he expected most of those would have appointments during the current visit.

“The next steps are not clear,” he said. “No one has been told when the next plane might go, and some have been told their medical examinations have expired and they will now have to have another examination.”