Complementary Pathways

Expanding complementary pathways to protection is already gaining traction across Europe and in the last years a number of states have been implementing humanitarian admission, humanitarian corridors and private sponsorship programmes.

Therefore, expanding safe and legal avenues for refugees to reach Europe is key to ensure and enhance access to international protection. Such pathways should be in addition to and complement resettlement as a tool of solidarity and responsibility sharing with those countries hosting the majority of refugees.

In the framework of the European Resettlement Network, IOM, UNHCR and ICMC with co-funding from the EU have looked at the following complementary pathways and their potential for Europe: humanitarian admission programmes, private sponsorship programmes and student scholarships.

The unprecedented scope and complex nature of current global displacement has added renewed urgency to the debate surrounding safe, regular and sustainable access to safety for those fleeing persecution, war and conflict.

With a modest number of resettlement places available in Europe and with few other safe and legal pathways to Europe, refugees in need of protection are often embarking on perilous journeys over land and sea, which many do not survive. They are also compelled to use the services of criminal groups, including smugglers and potentially fall prey to human traffickers.

States have committed in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants to “consider the expansion of existing humanitarian admission programmes, possible temporary evacuation programmes, flexible arrangements to assist family reunification, private sponsorship for individual refugees and opportunities for […] education, such as scholarships and student visas”.