Resettlement

Resettlement is a vital protection tool and only one of the three durable solutions available for refugees. It is a lifeline for those in need of international protection who are unable to return to their country of origin for fear of continued persecution and are also not able to stay in the first country of asylum due to a lack of local integration opportunities.

Resettlement is a key symbol of international solidarity and responsibility sharing with those developing regions hosting 84% of refugees.

In 2019, 18 states in the European region resettled and admitted 30,264 refugees. This is a record figure for this region since IOM resettlement activities started more than 65 years ago.

To prepare refugees for resettlement, as well as States and receiving communities to welcome them, IOM works closely with governments, UNHCR, non‑governmental organizations and other partners.

In this context, IOM aims to constantly enhance the quality of its resettlement activities. This is done as part of the Organization’s principled and people‑centred programming and in the interest of assisting the people as best we can. Upon request by receiving states, IOM supports the resettlement and admission of vulnerable refugees by:


  • IOM can provide logistical support to the resettlement states’ authorities, thereby facilitating their selection missions as well as the visa processing and travel document procedures in the countries from where refugees are resettled.


  • IOM’s pre‑departure health activities as well as health assistance during the travel ensure that refugees’ health needs are addressed prior to departure, that they are fit to travel, and that appropriate arrangements can be made for reception and continuity of care, when needed.


  • Pre‑departure orientation sessions are paramount to address integration aspects at the earliest possible stage of a refugee’s resettlement journey. They aim to help refugees develop practical skills and attitudes that contribute to their early integration in the receiving community.


  • IOM can also provide post‑arrival integration support to resettled refugees. There is a wide range of possible supporting activities that aim to facilitate resettled refugees’ early integration and empower them to better navigate their new society. Examples include post‑arrival orientation sessions, the provision of direct support, or the facilitation of enhanced engagement with the receiving community.


  • To assist refugees in need of resettlement, IOM provides comprehensive movement assistance that includes in‑country and international transportation. While most refugees travel by scheduled commercial air service, certain operations need tailor‑made arrangements and the use of charter flights.

    Depending on the complexity of the route and the needs of the refugees, operational and/or medical escorts can be provided to support the beneficiaries during their travel. IOM’s well‑versed movement procedures, professional staff and its partnerships help to ensure smooth journeys, regardless of the departure and destination location.

Global resettlement needs far surpass the places available. The Global Compact on Refugees aims to expand refugees’ access to third‑country solutions. It supports the establishment of new and the enlargement of existing resettlement programmes and sets out concrete measures to this end. One of these concrete measures is UNHCR’s Three Year Strategy (2019‑2021), which foresees the resettlement of one million refugees to 50 countries by the end of 2028.

This video highlights IOM’s role in essential aspects of resettlement, as outlined above.