Australia controversial policy of sending to Papua New Guinea all asylum-seekers who tried to reach the country by sea began in 2001.

Then-Prime Minister John Howard hailed his "Pacific Solution".

But the programme was axed after the 2007 election – a move later blamed for triggering a surge in migrants making the treacherous journey by sea.

More than 1,200 people drowned trying to get to Australia.

In 2012, then-PM Julia Gillard, who was born in Barry, South Wales, announced the government would resume offshore processing.

The plan was overseen from 2013 by her successor Tony Abbott, who is now a trade adviser to Boris Johnson's Government.

Mr Abbott, 63, recently met Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Instead of being admitted to Australia while their claims were assessed, migrants were intercepted at sea and sent to offshore camps on Papua New Guinea's Manus Island and the tiny Pacific republic of Nauru.

Australia paid the hosts to take them.

Ex-PM Tony Abbott met with Priti Patel recently

The would-be asylum-seekers, many of whom were from some of Asia's poorest countries, were told they would never be allowed into Australia – even as genuine refugees.

Defending the policy, the Australian government said the risk of being sent to a camp in the South Pacific was a powerful deterrent stopping migrants attempting the perilous voyage on rickety fishing boats from Indonesia.

But campaigners repeatedly claimed conditions in the camps were cruel and inhumane, with allegations of violence and mistreatment.

Australia agreed in 2016 to close the detention centres after striking a resettlement deal with then US President Barack Obama.

America would take 1,250 of the migrants.

In return, Canberra would accept an unspecified number of Central American refugees from the US.

The Manus centre closed in October 2017.

Last month, it was reported a group of nearly 200 refugees on Nauru who had medical transfers or resettlement requests approved since 2019 still remained on the island.