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UNHCR to refer at least 850 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru for US resettlement

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The United Nations refugee agency will refer at least 850 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru for US resettlement, in one of the first signs of how the deal is progressing.

The deal to resettle the refugees was first announced last year while Barack Obama was president.

But for months there has been speculation about the refugee deal, after US President Donald Trump labelled it a "bad deal" during an infamous phone call with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

UNHCR regional spokeswoman Catherine Stubberfield said the deal was progressing well between Australia and the US.

"And moving towards much-needed, long-term solutions for refugees in Nauru and Papua New Guinea," she said.

'Life is hard without our dad'

But the news has brought little comfort for one Rohingya family.

The Ahmed family are now all residing in Australia, except for their father, Nayser, who remains on Manus Island.

Mr Ahmed's daughter, who cannot be named on condition of her visa application, travelled to Canberra on Monday to appeal to politicians to reunite her family.

"I want to talk to people about my family's situation and to show the people that our life is very hard without our dad," his daughter said.

For four years, the family has been separated after their father missed the boat they were on.

By the time he had organised another boat chartered by a people smuggler to bring him to Australia, the policy had changed under former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd and he was immediately sent to Manus Island.

One big mess: Manus Island MP

There are currently 837 men living on Manus and the atmosphere is tense, according to Manus Island MP Ronny Knight.

Mr Knight questioned whether the deal would go ahead, and also what would happen to the remaining 350 people who have not yet been referred by the UNHCR.

"That's the big question isn't it, no-one knows and the Australian Government or the PNG Government are not being forthcoming with it," he said.

"It's one big mess and they need to be more forthcoming with it," he said.

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said the Government's position had not changed, and that no-one living on Manus Island or Nauru would be resettled.

However, Mr Ahmed's daughter said she hoped their resolve would change after her trip this week.

"I think that this is the last option to ask the politicians, because they are the ones who decide," she said.

Australian Broadcasting Corporation