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What is resettlement?
Resettlement involves the selection and transfer of refugees from a country of asylum (Iraq) to another country that has agreed to admit them – as refugees – with protection, assistance, and permanent residence status. This status provides a resettled refugee and their family or dependents with access to rights like those enjoyed by nationals. Resettlement also carries with it the opportunity to become a naturalized citizen of the resettlement country.
Resettlement is not a right. Resettlement countries offer a very limited number of places each year, and few refugees meet the strict criteria for UNHCR submission. Fewer than 1% of refugees are resettled each year worldwide.
You cannot apply for resettlement. If your case is selected for resettlement consideration, UNHCR will contact you.
UNHCR identifies the most in need. Each case is considered based on needs and is not linked to legal status as a refugee or asylum-seeker or the date of registration with UNHCR. Information provided at the time of registration is considered when assessing eligibility. Being recognized as a refugee (via RSD) does not mean that you will be automatically referred for resettlement.
A resettlement country takes the final decision to accept a refugee, not UNHCR. UNHCR only identifies and interviews refugees for resettlement consideration according to a resettlement country’s strict criteria. A case is then ‘submitted’ by UNHCR to a resettlement country, which makes the final decision.
Like all humanitarian assistance, resettlement through UNHCR is free of charge. Nobody can ask you for money for resettlement or for any stage of the resettlement process.
Asylum Seeker and Refugee Status
- Asylum seekers and refugees enjoy equal access to UNHCR support, assistance and protection services. This also applies to access to Government-issued forms of legal stay and services.
- A valid UNHCR certificate confirms that you need international protection and assistance as a refugee or asylum-seeker. Whether your refugee certificate indicates that you are an asylum-seeker or a refugee, you will receive all available UNHCR services and support.
- Asylum-seekers and refugees registered by UNHCR in Iraq are protected under the Iraqi Constitution and relevant laws and regulations, including the Political Refugee Act 1971. They must also meet the obligations proscribed by those laws. Violations of Iraqi law may subject you to court proceedings, detention, deportation, and related consequences.
- Refugee Status Determination is the legal or administrative process by which governments or UNHCR determine whether a person seeking international protection is considered a refugee under international, regional, or national law.
- UNHCR only conducts refugee status determination if and when the circumstances of a case require a formal determination of refugee status to be made by UNHCR. The need to do so is determined on an individual basis.