The federal government says reports that people smugglers are now offering to fly asylum seekers to Australia shows its policies to deter boat journeys are working.

Fairfax Media says asylum seekers in Indonesia are being told they can fly to Australia on fake tourist visas to sidestep Labor's tough policy of denying settlement to those arriving by boat.

"They're desperately trying to find another way of getting people to settle in Australia because they've realised everybody who's arrived by boat since that announcement was made is awaiting to be sent to another country," Immigration Minister Tony Burke told reporters in Sydney on Sunday.

"This is just another desperate measure from people smugglers realising that the game's up."

Mr Burke denied flying was a loophole available to asylum seekers trying to reach Australia.

"If they could have gotten away with this they would have tried it years ago," he said.

"The fact that they haven't been able to is testament to the security of airports."

Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison also sought to downplay the report.

"We have very strong controls on who can get on planes and who can get into the country," he told ABC television.

"That's why people get on boats and pay people smugglers many times over what they would pay to get on an airplane to come to Australia."


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