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Australians with spare rooms are being encourages to host refugees to help them integrate into society, in a new programme launched by the government in a bid to ease tensions.

In recent months there has been a steep increase in the number of migrants reaching Australia by boat with more than 2,500 so far this year, most claiming they are feeling religious persecution in Iran or Afghanistan.

Controversially, all are locked up while refugee applications are processed. When detainees are released, the transition to 'normal life' can be tough.

Therefore the government has launched a 'homestay' scheme to ease the process, with hosts earning about $130 a week.

Al Jazeera's Andrew Thomas reports from Melbourne.

Source: Aljazeera