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Peter Dutton: Nauru, Manus Refugees To Be Moved 'In The Next Couple Of Months'

But the US will 'make the ultimate decision'.

21/02/2017 7:25 PM AEDT | Updated 21/02/2017 8:11 PM AEDT

Refugees on Manus Island and Nauru are expected to be moved to the United States "in the next couple of months", according to Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton.

Appearing on Sky News' The Bolt Report, Dutton confirmed Australia's refugee resettlement deal with the United States is underway, although the US government will have the final say as to when refugees are moved.

"I think we'll have movement in the not too distant future but it's an issue for the US," Dutton said before The Bolt Report presenter Andrew Bolt pressed him to clarify.

"Well, in the next couple of months. I think as Australia puts quite rightly in the modern age, we decide who comes to our country and we're very serious about that because the US wants to exert the same sovereignty.

"They'll look at the individual cases, they'll make the ultimate decision but it's working well and we've got a very good relationship with the people from state and homeland security and I'm confident that we can get people off Manus and Nauru as quickly as possible."

Dutton also addressed Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop's trip to Washington D.C., saying that the refugee swap would not be discussed in her meetings with the US Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, because the agreement has already been accepted by President Trump.

"I don't think Julie will need to discuss the arrangement in great detail because already President Trump has accepted the transition of the arrangement from the Obama Administration into his own," he said.

"We've got officials up on Manus at the moment, we've had officials from the US on Nauru in recent weeks, so we're going through the individual cases with them."

The comments come after Attorney-General George Brandis confirmed on the ABC's Q&A that the deal will continue under President Trump, with 'extreme vetting' of asylum seekers already underway.

He also alleged that "extreme vetting" was always a part of the refugee deal, formed between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Obama administration.

"It was confirmed with the Trump Administration. Famously we now know that the Prime Minister had a difficult telephone conversation with President Trump and the outcome of that telephone conversation was that President Trump committed to the deal. That is what is important," Brandis told the Q&A audience on Monday night.

"It was always part of the arrangements that the American authorities... would conduct their own investigating. That hasn't changed.

"I can't tell you as a matter of days or weeks how long it will take, but that process has commenced and is now under way."

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