Global resettlement in 2020

In June 2020, UNHCR published its annual 'Projected Global Resettlement Needs' document, noting:

  • An estimated 1.44m refugees around the world are in need of resettlement in 2020 - an increase of around 1% from 2019, but 20% more than 2018.
  • Projected resettlement needs have increased significantly in both the Africa and Americas region since 2019 (by 6 and 22%, respectively).
  • Syrians are the refugee population with the highest global resettlement needs, albeit decreasing as a percentage of overall global needs.
  • UNHCR's resettlement priorities for 2020 are countries in which a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) is being rolled out, the Central Mediterranean situation, and resettlement out of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
  • UNHCR will additionally advocate for resettlement states to make flexible, unallocated quotas available for use for urgent and emergency resettlement cases.

Work to expand and improve global refugee resettlement continues to take place in the framework of the UNHCR-led Three-year Strategy on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways (2019-21)


On 1 July 2020, to mark the start of the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the International Rescue Committee published an analysis of the Projected Global Resettlement Needs publication from the perspective of EU resettlement. Key highlights from '10 things to know about global displacement and EU refugee resettlement' are:

  • Despite increases in resettlement to the EU in recent years, the percentage of global resettlement needs met by EU Member States has never exceeded 2%.
  • EU Member States are not resettling from the situations/refugee groups with the highest resettlement needs. While EU programmes have resettled large umbers of Syrian refugees, the group representing the largest proportion of global needs in recent years, other high needs refugees (Afghans) and refugee-hosting countries (Egypt, Uganda) are being left behind.
  • Just nine EU Member States are resettling evacuees from Libya via the Emergency Transit Mechanism in Niger, despite the Central Mediterranean situation being a key priority for both UNHCR and EU resettlement.
  • Member State participation in resettlement is inconsistent. In the past 5 years, only 10 Member States have received resettled refugees every year.
  • The UK has received 18-26% of all refugees resettled to the EU since 2015, and the UK departure from the EU at end 2020 will leave a significant gap in EU resettlement.