Refugee resettlement is the transfer of refugees from the country where they have sought protection to another country that has agreed to admit them, as refugees, with permanent residence status. UNHCR is mandated to undertake resettlement as one of the three durable solutions. Resettlement is unique as it is the only durable solution involving transfer of refugees to a third country.


Assessment of needs and phases of the resettlement process: 

Resettlement is an invaluable protection tool to meet specific needs of refugees in which life, liberty, safety, health or fundamental human rights are at heightened risk. Emergency or urgent resettlement may be necessary to ensure the security of refugees who are threatened with refoulement to their country of origin, or those whose physical safety is seriously threatened in the country in which they have sought refuge. Typically, less than 1% of the 20.4 million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate worldwide are resettled. 

Mapping of Global Resettlement Needs Mapping of Global Resettlement Needs

Mapping of Global Resettlement Needs

Global Resettlement Needs are mapped each year based on the protection assessments of UNHCR national offices. UNHCR presents the global needs to States and NGOs at the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement (ATCR) and advocates for those refugees requiring resettlement based on their protection needs in the country of asylum.

The mapping of resettlement needs and priorities at the global level assists States to target their programmes. Discussions with States are an opportunity for UNHCR to talk over the specific needs that can be met by individual resettlement countries depending upon the nature of their programmes and available services. 

Identification of Refugees in Need of Resettlement Identification of Refugees in Need of Resettlement

Identification of Refugees in Need of Resettlement

UNHCR’s identification processes are based on a range of available tools as well as detailed knowledge and understanding of the refugee population and of their specific needs and vulnerabilities. UNHCR’s national offices identify individual refugees for resettlement through a range of tools and methods including the registration database, networks of protection partners and community engagement and according to categories of vulnerability including, women and girls at risk, survivors of violence and/or torture, children at risk, and refugees with legal and physical protection needs or medical needs.

Ensuring fair and transparent access to the resettlement process is a UNHCR priority. UNHCR’s identification and referral mechanisms concentrate on proactively ensuring access to the resettlement process for those most in need and at risk. An objective, efficient and protection-based identification process is critical to decrease potential for the fraudulent use of the resettlement system, abuse and exploitation as well as perceptions of arbitrariness in resettlement decision making. The identification of refugees in need of resettlement is an integral part of UNHCR’s ongoing protection activities.

State Selection and Adjudication State Selection and Adjudication

State Selection and Adjudication

After resettlement States determine the overall size and composition of their resettlement programmes, UNHCR recommends individuals and groups of refugees it identified according to global needs and priorities, and refers these individuals for resettlement consideration. Resettlement States assess individual case submissions made by UNHCR and decide whether or not to grant resettlement according to their policies, laws and regulations. While some resettlement States interview refugees before making the decision to admit them, often through selection missions in countries of first asylum, other states accept refugees for resettlement based on the written referral (dossier) submitted by UNHCR.

UNHCR supports resettlement States in their decision-making process inter alia through support during selection missions. At the same time, UNHCR continues to extend its services and provides protection to refugees until departure to the resettlement State.

Pre-Departure Services Pre-Departure Services

Pre-Departure Services

Health Assessments and Assistance: IOM conducts health assessments for refugees prior to their departure to ensure that their health needs are addressed, they are fit to travel and to ensure continuity of care for those with existing health conditions.

Pre-Departure Orientation: IOM develops curricula and provides orientation to prepare refugees for resettlement by providing practical information on the country of destination, assists them in setting realistic goals and managing expectations. 

Movement Movement


IOM organizes and supports the transportation and movement of accepted refugees to the resettlement country. This includes transit assistance and in-flight medical and operational escorts as needed.

Reception and Integration Reception and Integration

Reception and Integration

Integration is a complex and gradual process with legal, economic, social and cultural dimensions. Integration requires efforts by all parties concerned, including preparedness on the part of refugees to adapt to the host society without having to forego their own cultural identity, and a corresponding readiness on the part of host communities and public institutions to welcome refugees and to meet the needs of a diverse population.


Resettlement Data

Statistics are core to monitor progress in achieving solutions for refugees over time. See our data page for more information.

Complementary Pathways

Complementary Pathways for admission are safe and regulated avenues for refugees that complement resettlement.


As part of CRISP’s capacity building efforts, targeted and tailored training is available for States and all relevant stakeholders.