Resettlement

What is resettlement? 

Resettlement is the selection and transfer of refugees from the State in which they have sought protection to a third country that has agreed to admit them, as refugees, with permanent resident status.

Whether you may be resettled depends on the availability of resettlement places provided by resettlement countries, admission criteria of the country of resettlement, and your particular needs. With the limited places available for resettlement, it is important for UNHCR Indonesia and the resettlement countries to give priority consideration to those who are the most vulnerable.

Resettlement countries offer only a limited number of resettlement places every year, benefitting less than 1% of the refugee population worldwide. As Indonesia hosts a relatively small number of refugees compared to other countries of asylum, the number of resettlement places provided for refugees in Indonesia is far fewer than anyone would hope. There are simply far more refugees in Indonesia than there are places available for resettlement. Therefore, it is very important to understand that many refugees in Indonesia may never be able to benefit from resettlement.

All resettlement services, information, and documents are free of charge. Please report anyone who offers resettlement services or travel documents in return for money or services in kind. You can send an email with details at [email protected]. Misrepresenting facts (including family links, family composition, and refugee claim) during any resettlement interview may result in the rejection of a resettlement case. Any effort to abuse the process may result in rejection as well as legal action.

If I am from Afghanistan, can UNHCR help me move to another country?

UNHCR welcomes the announcements by several States that they will increase resettlement opportunities for Afghan refugees.  However, the UNHCR resettlement programme will continue to be accessible only to those who meet the strict eligibility criteria and through the already established UNHCR process. Resettlement remains an option only for very few refugees who are the most in need in the country where they are living. For more information about these programs, please consult with Information for Afghan Nationals similarly if you want to know more about family reunification programmes, you might consult with the Help Afghanistan website or its Family Reunification page

Limited opportunities for resettlement

Whether refugees may be resettled depends on the availability of resettlement places provided by resettlement countries, admission criteria of the country of resettlement, and refugees’ particular needs. With the limited places available for resettlement, it is important for UNHCR Indonesia and the resettlement countries to give priority consideration to those who are the most vulnerable. 

UNHCR identifies refugees for resettlement after careful review of their needs and current situation. This process is continuous, and any refugee who meets the strict eligibility criteria can be considered for resettlement and will be contacted accordingly.  

If you already have an active resettlement case and you would like to know about your case status, you may submit your inquiry to: https://enketo.unhcr.org/fmYrpTgM 

Why Resettlement is Limited?

Resettlement countries decide how many refugees to resettle and they have no obligation for resettlement. Also, they are free to limit and can impose criteria. Globally refugees’ resettlement need is far exceeding the available resettlement places. Based on UNHCR Projected Global Resettlement Need for 2022, 1.47 million out of around 25 million refugees are in need of resettlement. Therefore, resettlement opportunities are available for less than 1% of refugees who are in need.

Do I have a right to be resettled?

No refugee has the right to resettlement. Nowhere in the Refugee Convention, or any other international law instrument, does it state that refugees have a right to be resettled. Globally, resettlement has always been an option for a small group of refugees and the needs are much more than available places.

UNHCR may be compelled to consider you ineligible for resettlement if you demand resettlement in an abusive, aggressive, or violent manner, including by camping outside the UNHCR or partner offices, by indulging in violent protest.

How does UNHCR identify/prioritize refugees for resettlement?

Due to limited resettlement places available globally and for Indonesia, UNHCR must prioritize the most vulnerable refugees for resettlement.

UNHCR applies specific universal agreed-upon vulnerability criteria when identifying refugees for resettlement. UNHCR uses these criteria to identify cases in an objective and transparent manner. Each case is considered on its own merit. Information provided through different communication channels is taken into consideration and the situation of each case will be reviewed carefully while assessing eligibility for resettlement. Prolonged stay in Indonesia can be considered as a marker of vulnerability, however, it is not a standalone criterion for resettlement eligibility. Additionally, resettlement countries also have their own criteria and UNHCR needs to take these criteria into account.

Who makes the decision on resettlement?

While UNHCR identifies refugees for resettlement consideration and interviews them to assess their eligibility for resettlement, the final decision to accept a refugee for resettlement rests with resettlement countries and not with UNHCR.

Why do resettlement countries put criteria on nationality, family size, among others?

Resettlement countries offer resettlement places out of their generosity and they are free to impose different criteria. UNHCR continues to advocate to remove these criteria and restrictions and to make resettlement places more inclusive.

I heard that UNHCR prioritizes individuals with a medical condition for resettlement, it is true?

Not all refugees with a medical condition will be referred for resettlement. There are specific criteria for a case to be considered for resettlement under a medical needs category. It should also be noted that resettlement countries also have criteria for medical cases, and they take only a small number of cases with a medical condition. UNHCR reviews a medical condition along with other protection needs when assessing resettlement eligibility.

I have been in Indonesia for more than 8 years, but I do not have resettlement. However, some refugees who arrived in 2016/2017 already got resettlement. Why?

UNHCR Indonesia prioritizes refugees for resettlement based on vulnerability and protection needs. Length of stay in Indonesia can be one of the considerations when assessing resettlement eligibility, however, this alone will not be sufficient to be eligible for resettlement. Since resettlement opportunity is limited, it may not be available for all refugees in Indonesia.

Indonesia is NOT a transit country for resettlement, and refugees may need to be prepared for longer stay until appropriate solutions are identified. If you have been told by anyone that you would automatically be resettled from Indonesia before you came here, you were misled.

Will I definitely get resettled?

No. Because resettlement is not a right and this depends on the availability of resettlement places. You may be considered for resettlement if you meet the eligibility criteria for resettlement.

I heard that single men are not prioritized for resettlement from Indonesia, is this true?

No, this is not correct. Single men are also considered for resettlement who meet the vulnerability criteria.

I have been in Indonesia for years and haven’t had my interview for refugee status yet. Does this mean I cannot be resettled?

As per Presidential Regulation 2016, there is no distinction made in Indonesia between refugees and asylum-seekers in terms of their treatment by the Government. PoCs regardless of their status have equal access to UNHCR assistance. If you are identified for resettlement or pursue other third-country solution option that requires refugee status your will be interviewed for RSD.

If resettlement is limited, are there other ways for me to travel to a third country?

Besidesresettlement there are other third-country solution options available. Below are some options refugees in Indonesia are benefiting from:

  1. Private Sponsorship/Community Sponsorship
  2. Family Reunification
  3. Scholarship
  4. Employment opportunities/labor mobility

Each of these options has its own eligibility criteria and this may sometimes change depending on the immigration policy of a particular state. Therefore, you are advised to check the eligibility criteria and other requirements before pursuing any option. Detailed information on other third-country options is available on specific countries’ websites and will be made available on Community or Private Sponsorship.

What should I do if I cannot be resettled or travel to a third country?

You can acquire vocational skills, learn languages and keep yourself busy in creative activities to make yourself more empowered. These skills would be helpful for your future life if you are identified for resettlement or you pursue other solution options.

If I am qualified for resentment can I choose which country I am submitted to?

No. UNHCR considers all relevant factors before deciding on the resettlement country to which you will be submitted, including your family situation, family links in third countries, and the resettlement quotas available in the resettlement countries. 

If UNHCR submits my case to a country how long will it take to get a decision?

Each resettlement country has its own decision-making process and each case is different. Some refugees get a decision in 6 months while others wait for years. Therefore, it is difficult to give a timeframe.

What does UNHCR do to expedite the resettlement process of refugees who are waiting for a decision from the resettlement country for several years?

Resettlement countries have their own decision-making process and the timeframe to make a decision differs from case to case. UNHCR cannot influence the decision-making process of resettlement countries. However, UNHCR follows up with resettlement countries on a regular basis regarding the update on refugees submitted for resettlement, and advocates to speed up the process whenever possible.

Will UNHCR submit my case if I am rejected by one resettlement country?

Re-submission is not automatic, and every case is assessed on a case-by-case basis. UNHCR will decide whether your case will be resubmitted according to UNHCR criteria and the available quotas of resettlement countries. Only a small number of cases can be re-submitted to another country.

If my case is accepted by the resettlement country, how long do I need to wait until departure?

Your travel date will depend on the results of medical examinations and security background checks by the resettlement country. The resettlement country will also need to prepare for your arrival including sponsors, housing, language courses, and cultural orientations. On average, departure is within six months from the acceptance, but it can depend on the case.

I heard that receiving certain vaccines will hinder me to depart for resettlement to a third country.

Currently, there has been no vaccine requirement for refugees to depart for resettlement to a third country. All vaccines authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO) have been thoroughly tested and found safe and effective in preventing severe COVID-19. Receiving any vaccine kind will not impact your resettlement chances, however, not receiving the vaccine could make you vulnerable to severe illness. UNHCR and partners have been paying tremendous efforts to provide vaccines to refugees and asylum seekers. Therefore, we encourage you to receive vaccines available in the country of residence.


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