Pacific

Australia close to resettling 12,000 Syrian refugees

Australia is close to resettling the 12,000 refugees from the war in Syria and Iraq it promised to urgently take over a year ago.

Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton said Wednesday all 12,000 have been issued visas and over 10,000 have already been brought from Mideast refugee camps to Australia. The remainder will be resettled in the coming months.

The refugees are in addition to the 13,750 refugees Australia accepts each year.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced in September 2015 that the 12,000 refugees would be resettled as quickly as possible. Abbott was replaced by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull less than a week later.

Peter Shergold, coordinator-general for refugee resettlement in New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, said careful screening would hold up the resettlement process.