Advocating for Resettlement

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Welcome to Europe! A comprehensive guide to resettlement


This publication is an outcome of the joint IOM, UNHCR and ICMC project ‘Linking In EU resettlement – Linking the resettlement phases and connecting (local) resettlement practitioners’, co-funded by the European Commission via the European Refugee Fund.

This new edition of Welcome to Europe covers all aspects of global resettlement needs, processes, policy and partnerships, focusing on the ongoing growth and development of resettlement in Europe, as follows:

Chapter 1 – Resettlement and international protection

Chapter 2 – Global resettlement

Chapter 3 – Refugee situations in focus

Chapter 4 – The resettlement process: from identification to departure

Chapter 5 – Resettlement in Europe – rising slowly but surely

Chapter 7 – European resettlement programmes

Chapter 8 – Building a new life in the community: approaches to reception and integration in Europe

‘Welcome to Europe!’ underscores the life-saving role of resettlement, and contributes to the promotion of resettlement in Europe as one component of a comprehensive and durable approach to protecting refugees. To submit your contributions and reflections on the publication, please contact Sophie Ngo-Diep at or start a discussion in the Community of Practice.

Refugee Resettlement from Pakistan: Findings from Afghan Refugee Camps in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP)

This report surveys Afghan refugee resettlement from Pakistan for the Know Reset Project in order to better understand the processes and practices of the refugee populations’ resettlement in EU member states. This involved interviews with various agencies working with refugees as well as with individual refugees. The collected source material explains how the Afghan refugee community, living in different localities in Pakistan, are informed about resettlement policies, and how refugees are identified and selected and what Afghan refugee groups, if any, are given priorities in the resettlement processes. The report also examines the role played by local, national and international agencies, such as UNHCR, Pakistan-based NGOs, including SACH (Struggle for Change), Sharp (Society for Human Rights and Prisoners Aid), the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and the International Organization of Migration (IOM). More specifically we examined these organizations as they identified, registered and selected refugees for resettlement. The report also considers how information about resettlement is disseminated to Afghan refugees in “refugee villages”, camps or places; how the refugees are subsequently identified and chosen for resettlement; and how they are assisted in submitting applications and obtaining security clearance from the Pakistan Interior and Foreign Affairs departments. We then asked how submissions are then forwarded to the individual EU countries for resettlement and what selection and scrutiny measures, if any, are adopted by the resettlement countries. Finally, the report looks at the responses and reactions of the Pakistani government in the resettlement of Afghan refugees in Europe and beyond. The findings not only add to the empirical knowledge of resettlement in Pakistan, but offer data to improve the efficiency of resettlement schemes in individual EU member states.

Refugee resettlement: the view from Kenya. Findings from field research in Nairobi and Kakuma refugee camp.

This report presents the findings of field research in Kenya under the KNOW RESET project. It is the outcome of field research in Nairobi and Kakuma refugee camp which sought to map Kenya’s refugee resettlement landscape, with a particular focus on resettlement to European countries. The report presents Kenya’s resettlement landscape, the role of European countries within this landscape and how European resettlement policies and practices are experienced on the ground from the perspectives of UNHCR and its implementing partners. In addition, the report explores refugees’ experiences and narratives around resettlement. The report makes recommendations to UNHCR and European countries around how European resettlement policies could be improved to ease the burden on Kenya as country of first asylum, to increase the efficiency of European resettlement processes in Kenya and to render the resettlement process a smoother and less anxiety-producing experience for refugees.

Let me tell you my story. Words and drawings by Colombian refugee children in Ecuador

"I lived in a big house, a very big one. I liked being there and had many friends and two brothers. Some crocodiles came and destroyed my big house. The crocodiles then left and me and my family went to a small house."

The words of Antonio, a seven-year-old boy, reflect in simple terms the impact of the Colombian conflict on children. Through their words and drawings in “Let me tell you my story”, we see from a raw children’s perspective the violence and displacement experienced by those fleeing Colombia, as well as their new beginnings as refugees in Ecuador. Far from their familiar surroundings, the children also tell of the difficulties they face as strangers in a new country, adapting to a new environment, a new life.

Ecuador hosts the largest number of refugees in Latin America, with 55,480 recognized refugees as of December 2012. Twenty-three percent of refugees in Ecuador are children and adolescents. For them, school represents one of the main means of integration into their new environment. For them, integration, in school and in their neighborhood, is an essential link to their new life.

New Land, New Life - The inspiring stories of five refugees

New Land, New Life, tells the inspiring firsthand stories of five refugees from the Horn of Africa who've settled in Australia and made a new life in a new land for themselves.

New Land, New Life was funded by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship under the Diversity and Social Cohesion Program.

The story of a refugee

Filmon Ande is in 2007 uit Eritrea gevlucht. Hij onsnapte met zijn familie aan de dood in de Sahara en woont nu met behulp van de EU in België. Het EP wil meer vluchtelingen zoals Filmon helpen.

Filmon Ande fled Eritrea in 2007. He escaped death in the Sahara desert with his family and lives know in Belgium with the help of the EU. the European Parliament wants to help and support more refugees such as Filmon.

Leaving Libya - A Review of UNHCR’s Emergency Operation in Tunisia and Egypt 2011-2012

UNHCR’s 2011 emergency operation in North Africa, which followed the outbreak of civil war in Libya, addressed one of the largest mixed migration crises that the organization has ever encountered. The unanticipated emergency generated a massive influx of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Tunisia and Egypt, two countries which themselves had only recently experienced major political upheavals. As a result of these considerations, little contingency planning had taken place.

In the first few weeks of the emergency, the majority of the new arrivals were third-country nationals, that is, citizens of neither Libya nor the countries to which they moved. Altogether, more than 120 nationalities were represented in the exodus, not to mention hundreds of thousands of Libyans who enjoyed de facto temporary protection on Egyptian and Tunisian soil, as well as access to public services.

To read more, click here.

Syria: a regional crisis

Nearly two years of civil war in Syria has produced a regional humanitarian disaster. More than two and a half million Syrians have been uprooted from their homes, including more than 600,000 who have fled to neighboring countries, and an estimated four million Syrians are in dire need of assistance. In November 2012, an International Rescue Committee delegation of board members and senior staff travelled to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq to evaluate conditions of displaced and conflict-affected Syrians and advocate for increased and more targeted humanitarian aid as the crisis evolves and intensifies.

Refugee resettlement: 2012 and beyond

For many years now, irregular migration and asylum seeking have dominated refugee-related discourse within and between governments. On those relatively rare occasions when discussion about refugees strays beyond this focus, it has almost always been to the issue of integration, especially as developed countries confront the necessity of responding to their increasingly diverse populace. Meanwhile, other areas of refugee-related activity have been largely ignored. It is true that work continues in these areas and lives are influenced but one cannot help but wonder whether the lack of attention might at worst, be having a deleterious impact on the effectiveness of this work or at best, not allowing its potential to be fulfilled.
One such area is resettlement. It is regrettable that this is the case as resettlement is not only about giving vulnerable refugees the chance of a new life, it has a variety of other uses that have a far wider application than simply assisting those resettled.