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The immigration department chief has confirmed Australia is not negotiating with any other countries to find refugee resettlement places for people on Nauru and Manus Island who miss out on going to the United States.
Asked what happens to the refugees who miss out on America, department secretary Michael Pezzullo said there was scope for them to stay in Papua New Guinea, on Nauru or go to Cambodia.
Mr Pezzullo rubbished suggestions the US may take no refugees under the resettlement deal with Australia.
"I don't agree it could be zero," Mr Pezzullo told a Senate inquiry hearing in Canberra late last night.
He said the agreement was for in the ballpark of 1250.
Ambassador for People Smuggling Andrew Goledzinowski last week told the Senate inquiry the number was "as likely to be 2000 as zero".
The deal was struck with the Obama administration and will reluctantly be honoured by new US President Donald Trump.
He said there were no other resettlement negotiations with other countries under way at present.
Mr Pezzullo wouldn't be drawn on past negotiations that haven't come to fruition.
There had been some speculation Australia has been in talks with Malaysia and the Philippines previously.
The hearing was told there are teams of US Homeland Security officials on Nauru doing fingerprinting and security interviews who will then go on to Manus Island in April and May. Medical screening would follow.
Department official Rachel Noble said America had not set any parameters around the country-of-origin of refugees that it will accept, despite a 90-day travel ban to the US by citizens of six Muslim countries - Yemen, Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia and Sudan.
The department took on notice a question about whether refugees, asylum seekers and detention centre staff have been exposed to cadmium poisoning from a slime dump on the island.