Four boatloads of asylum seekers in just 48 hours have stretched Australian detention centres to beyond capacity, forcing the Australian Immigration Minister into emergency talks.

With the Christmas Island detention centre reportedly holding a record number of asylum seekers, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has flown to East Timor to discuss opening a new processing centre.

Asylum seeker arrivals into Australia have spiked in recent times, fuelled by the Government’s decision to limit the number of Australia visas for refugees and freeze Sri Lankan and Afghan asylum claims earlier this year.

Mr Bowen yesterday admitted Australia immigration authorities were experiencing "significant strains".

"I've announced some short-term measures to deal with that. I'll be announcing some longer-term measures in the not-too-distant future to deal with those pressures," he told The Australian newspaper