Australia will accept 45 per cent more refugees this fiscal year as part of a strategy to deter treacherous boat journeys from Southeast Asia.
A higher cap on the number of refugees means they have a greater chance of being accepted in camps in Indonesia and less incentive to pay smugglers.
The government said Thursday the increase from 13,750 to 20,000 refugees for the fiscal year that ends mid-2013 will make Australia the most receptive country to refugees after the United States. It will cost an additional 1.3 billion Australian dollar over four years.
The deterrent strategy also involves deporting unauthorized boat arrivals to detention camps on Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
More than 8,000 asylum seekers have reached Australia by boat so far this year.