Immigration Minister Tony Burke
Immigration Minister Tony Burke

Entire refugee families will soon be sent to Nauru

THE Federal Government will start sending entire families to Nauru within two weeks, as the number of asylum seekers sent to Manus Island under the new Papua New Guinea deal hit 280 on Tuesday night.

Immigration Minister Tony Burke told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday the government had chosen the "correct way forward" under current immigration policies.

He said families could be transferred to the offshore detention centre at Nauru as early as two weeks away.

Mr Burke's comments came as the Immigration Department confirmed on Wednesday the seventh group of 40 asylum-seekers subject to the PNG deal had been transferred to the Pacific nation.

A charter flight with 38 Iranian and two Iraqi single men left Christmas Island at 11pm on Tuesday, landing on Manus Island early Wednesday morning.

Checks have also begun on a group 50 new arrivals by boat, which were intercepted by Border Protection officials' north-north-west of Christmas Island on Tuesday.

Those arrivals will also be moved to Manus Island under the PNG deal once initial checks have completed.