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 permanent residents.  

Resettlement is not a right and not all refugees will be resettled.  There are currently over 35 million refugees in the world, including over two million who are considered to be in acute need of resettlement.  Each year, resettlement countries provide resettlement opportunities for less than 1% of the global refugee population. There are many more refugees in Indonesia than there are resettlement places.  As a result, not all refugees in Indonesia will be resettled.  

Whether you will be submitted for resettlement consideration depends on the availability of resettlement places provided by resettlement countries, admission criteria of the country of resettlement, and your particular needs. UNHCR understands that almost all refugees in Indonesia are vulnerable.  However, because there are a limited number of resettlement spaces available, UNHCR Indonesia and resettlement countries must prioritize those who are the most vulnerable. 

UNHCR receives many queries around the resettlement process. Answers to most of those queries are provided below. Please consult this page before contacting UNHCR as most of the information which you may wish to know can be found here.   

Do I have a right to be resettled?

No. You do not have a right to be resettled and many refugees in Indonesia and around the world will not be resettled. UNHCR understands that this is frustrating and disappointing. Remaining active while you are in Indonesia by continuing your education, learning new skills, engaging with the community, and using your interests and abilities in a positive way will better position you for a sustainable solution in the future, whether that be through complementary pathways, returning to your home country if you desire, or another solution that you are able to pursue.   

How does UNHCR identify and prioritize refugees for resettlement?

Resettlement was established to provide a solution for the most vulnerable refugees around the world. UNHCR and Resettlement States have agreed on very broad vulnerability criteria as an initial tool to identify eligible refugees in an objective and transparent manner. In addition to those broad criteria, individual States may have other criteria that they request UNHCR to apply when identifying cases. Finally, UNHCR must also consider the limited number of places available. While many refugees around the world, and in Indonesia, are vulnerable and meet the broad resettlement criteria, the limited number of resettlement places available means that UNHCR must prioritize those who are the MOST vulnerable for resettlement consideration. 

When identifying and prioritizing cases for submission, UNHCR considers all the information available about you and your family to determine whether your submission should be prioritized within the limited number of resettlement spaces provided to Indonesia each year. The most important consideration is the extent of your specific vulnerabilities in Indonesia. We must also assess your case against any additional criteria set by resettlement countries when determining whether and where you can be submitted.  

You cannot identify yourself for resettlement. If UNHCR assesses that you should be prioritized for resettlement consideration, we will contact you. 

Do I need to undergo Refugee Status Determination (RSD) to 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. There is also no distinction in the assistance provided by UNHCR to refugees and asylum-seekers.   

Resettlement is a solution available for refugees. As such, only those who have undergone RSD and who have been recognized as a refugee can be resettled. However, your asylum seeker status does not prevent you from being identified for resettlement. If any asylum-seeker is found to be in need of resettlement, or if an asylum seeker finds an opportunity on a complementary pathway that requires refugee status, UNHCR will conduct refugee status determination for you on a priority so your solution can be pursued.     

Asylum-seekers should NOT approach UNHCR asking for RSD in order to be considered for resettlement. If we consider that you are in need of resettlement, we will contact you to undergo an RSD.  

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. 

Why do resettlement countries set criteria on nationality, family size, registration date in Indonesia, etc?

Resettlement countries are not required to offer resettlement places. They voluntarily provide resettlement quotas each year.  Some countries place restrictions on who can be resettled in those countries as a result of government policies, housing availability, and other considerations. While UNHCR continually advocates for the most inclusive criteria possible, resettlement States have every right to set criteria on who they will admit into their country 

Can my behavior in Indonesia affect my chances for resettlement?

Yes. Because there are so many refugees in need of resettlement and so few spaces, refugees who are violent or who act in violation of Indonesian law are unlikely to be prioritized for consideration by resettlement States. Overnighting outside UNHCR and partner offices, blocking entrances to UNHCR offices and the reception center, and behaving in an abusive, aggressive, or violent manner may render you ineligible for resettlement.

I was informed that I would be resettled if I came to Indonesia. Why am I not being submitted?

If family members, friends, smugglers, or others told you that you would automatically be resettled if you come to Indonesia, they were incorrect. As UNHCR has continually communicated, resettlement is not a right and not all refugees in Indonesia will be resettled. 

UNHCR understands that this information is very frustrating for refugees and asylum seekers who traveled to Indonesia with an understanding that they would be able to access a resettlement country. However, this is the reality. 

Does UNHCR prioritize individuals with a medical condition for resettlement?

Not necessarily. UNHCR prioritizes heightened vulnerability when considering cases for resettlement. Health is one marker of vulnerability, but there are many other types of extreme vulnerabilities and protection needs that merit resettlement consideration. Resettlement countries provide specific criteria for a case to be considered for resettlement under a medical needs category. They also limit the number of cases with a serious medical condition that can be submitted each year. As a result, very few refugees with a medical condition will be referred for resettlement.  

Will I be resettled if I am receiving cash assistance?

Not necessarily. The fact that you are receiving cash assistance does not mean that UNHCR considers you to be eligible for resettlement. Heightened socio-economic needs are assessed as part of a refugee’s overall vulnerability when determining eligibility for resettlement. 

I have been in Indonesia for many years and have not been resettled while refugees who arrived after me have benefited from 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, the fact that you have been in Indonesia for a long time does not alone qualify you for resettlement. Resettlement opportunities are limited and will not be available for all refugees in Indonesia. 

I heard that single men are not eligible to be resettled from Indonesia. Is this true?

No, this is not correct. Single men who are assessed to have heightened vulnerabilities and protection needs are also considered for resettlement. As with all cases, we must prioritize the most vulnerable according to the number of resettlement spaces available.  

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

Yes. Refugees may also travel safely to and obtain a solution in a third country through complementary pathways. Information on complementary pathways is available on the the HELP website.  

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

You should be able to remain in Indonesia until a solution is available – whether that be in a third country or in your country of origin. Remaining active while you are in Indonesia by continuing your education, learning new skills, engaging with the community, and using your interests and abilities in a constructive way will empower you, will ensure your time in Indonesia is as positive as possible, and will better position you for a sustainable solution in the future.  

If UNHCR considers me for resettlement interview, 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 quotas available in the resettlement countries.   

UNHCR informed me that my case has been submitted to a resettlement country.  When will I receive a decision? 

Each resettlement country has its own decision-making process, and each case is different. Some refugees get a decision in six months while others wait for years. Therefore, it is difficult to give an accurate timeframe.  You will be informed once a decision has been made on your case. We will not be able to provide any updates until then. 

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 re-submitted 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 will I 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 identifying individuals and organizations that can help you settle, housing, language courses, and cultural orientations. On average, departure takes place within six months of acceptance.  However, each case is different and the length of time required to finalize a case of departure varies.  

Is it true that I must receive certain vaccines to be able to depart to a third country? 

Currently, there are no vaccine requirements for refugees who are departing on resettlement to a third country. Your resettlement case will not be impacted by the fact that you have or have not received vaccinations.   

However, medical professionals from around the world have repeatedly stressed that vaccines authorized by the World Health Organization (WHO) have been thoroughly tested and found safe and effective in preventing severe COVID-19. Not receiving the vaccine may make you more vulnerable to severe illness.  

I have been informed that I am currently not eligible for resettlement. What does this mean and what should I do? 

If you are not eligible for resettlement, UNHCR is unable to refer your case to a resettlement country. However, this does not mean that you are no longer a refugee. You will continue to receive international protection and assistance services from UNHCR. 

I am under resettlement processing and have a change in my family structure (marriage, divorce, death, birth of new baby, etc.)  What should I do? 

If you have a change in your family, please inform UNHCR immediately so we can make any necessary changes to your resettlement submission. Failure to inform us quickly may result in delays in your case. 

I am in a polygamous marriage. Can my wives be resettled with me? 

Polygamy is unlawful in nearly all resettlement countries and therefore refugees cannot be resettled if they are intending to continue a polygamous marriage. Each family will be counselled individually by UNHCR about their resettlement prospects and the family will need to consider the best arrangements for the spouses and their children.