An Australian minister says his government will find a country to resettle hundreds of asylum seekers held on poor Pacific islands.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton on Tuesday declined to identify countries with which Australia is negotiating to accept almost 1,300 asylum seekers from Africa, the Middle East and Asia who now live at Australia's expense in camps at Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

The Australian newspaper reported last week that the United States and Canada could be among the countries that will accept Australia's asylum seekers.

Few refugees have accepted offers to resettle in Papua New Guinea and Cambodia because most hope that Australia will eventually take them in.

Australia refuses to resettle any refuge who has arrived by boat since it announced the tough policy in 2013.