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Dutton defends pace of Syrian processing

AAP logoAAP 10/10/2016

Twenty-two potential Syrian refugees rejected for terrorist links could have slipped through the net if processing had been rushed, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says.

Mr Dutton said these people were caught during screening and were not close to being allowed into Australia.

Australia agreed last year to take in 12,000 people who had fled fighting in Syria.

The government has faced criticism from Labor and refugee groups about the slow pace of processing.

Mr Dutton said there was a process, with applicants providing documents and making their claims for refugee status.

In parallel, biometric tests are conducted and sent off to partners, particularly the US for security checks.

Applications remain in abeyance until results come back.

"These people weren't close to coming to Australia. But again had we rushed the program as Labor was proposing, these people may well have got through, may well have slipped through the net," he told Sky News.

The Australian newspaper reported on Saturday that security checks of those seeking to come to Australia had revealed 22 applicants with potential security concerns.

Those concerns relate to links or suspected links to terror groups including Islamic State.

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