What is resettlement? 

Resettlement is the voluntary transfer of refugees from the country where they are registered to another country that agrees to admit them as refugees and grant them a residence permit.  

Please see UNHCR’s Frequently Asked Questions about Resettlement for more details on resettlement and how it works. 

Who qualifies for resettlement? 

Resettlement may be available to refugees who have a continued need for international protection because their life, liberty, safety, health or fundamental human rights are at risk in their country of refuge. There is detailed information in the UNHCR Resettlement Handbook on how UNHCR identifies refugees in need of resettlement and on the Resettlement Submission Categories

Resettlement is not a right and there is no obligation on States to accept refugees for resettlement. Being recognized as a refugee does not automatically mean that you will be referred for resettlement. 

There is a huge gap between the number of refugees in need of resettlement and the places made available by governments around the world, so resettlement is only available to a small number of the world’s refugees.  

How does resettlement to Ireland work? 

There is a fixed process to determine who will be given a place in the resettlement programme. The Irish government decides how many refugees they will bring to Ireland each year and what countries to resettle from, based on UNHCR’s Projected Global Resettlement Needs. UNHCR examines cases in those countries according to set criteria and then refers refugees most in need of resettlement for admission to Ireland. The Irish authorities decide who will be admitted to Ireland as part of the programme. The UNHCR Office in Ireland is not responsible for deciding who will be resettled.  

Who can be resettled to Ireland? 

The Irish government decides how many refugees will be resettled to Ireland each year and where they will come from. In December 2019, Ireland committed to welcoming up to 2,900 refugees from 2020 to 2023. The arriving refugees  will be Syrian refugees living in Jordan and Lebanon.

Can UNHCR Ireland help me to be resettled to Ireland? 

UNHCR Ireland cannot help you to be resettled to Ireland.  

If you are a refugee outside Ireland, you should contact the UNHCR office that you are registered with to discuss whether resettlement may be considered in your case. Contact details for UNHCR offices around the world can be found on the UNHCR website. You can also find some useful information on UNHCR Help pages

I live in Ireland, but I have family in Lebanon / Jordan who are refugees. Can you help them to be resettled to Ireland?  

UNHCR Ireland does not play any role in selecting refugees for resettlement to Ireland. If you have family in Lebanon or Jordan who are registered as refugees, they can contact UNHCR in the country to ask if they are eligible for resettlement. They should tell UNHCR if they have family in Ireland. Be aware that there are very large numbers of people in need of resettlement, but very few places available for them. We cannot influence the selection process or ask for a particular person or family to be resettled to Ireland.   

Are resettlement and other UNHCR services free of charge? 

Yes, all UNHCR services are free of charge in every country. Do not trust any person or any organisation asking you to pay for the services of UNHCR or its partners, including for resettlement. If you are asked for money or any other form of favours, including of a sexual nature, in exchange of UNHCR services, please report it to UNHCR and/or the nearest police station immediately.  

To complain about fraud committed by non-UNHCR staff, please contact your nearest UNHCR office. 

If you have information about UNHCR staff, or staff of UNHCR partners or contractors, being involved in corruption, exploitation (including sexual exploitation), fraud, or sexual abuse, please report it immediately and directly to UNHCR’s Inspector General’s Office (IGO) at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland using one of the following methods:  

Email: [email protected] 

Complete the Online complaint form 

Confidential fax: +41 22 739 7380 

Post: IGO, UNHCR, 94 Rue de Montbrillant, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland 

Please find information on reporting sexual exploitation or abuse by UN staff here.  

What happens if false information is given to influence the resettlement process? 

Committing fraud in the resettlement process may break the law and may result in the closure of a refugee’s resettlement file and also in criminal prosecution. It is essential that refugees provide complete and accurate information in the refugee and resettlement process. Misrepresenting family composition, or providing false information, is a form of fraud. If fraud is discovered after resettlement it can have serious consequences resulting in a cancellation of residence permission and possible deportation. 

What is community sponsorship? 

Community Sponsorship Ireland (CSI) was established in 2018 to complement State-sponsored resettlement. Refugees are identified and selected in the same way as for traditional resettlement. However, on arrival in Ireland, they are supported by a local community group who will provide housing and other supports for up to 2 years. The government agency responsible for resettlement and community sponsorship is the Irish Refugee Protection Programme (IRPP).  

Unlike some private sponsorship programmes operated by other countries, it is not possible under the CSI programme for sponsors to identify or nominate specific individuals or families to be resettled to Ireland. The Open Community has lots of information on community sponsorship for individuals and groups in Ireland who are interested in forming a community sponsorship group.

Can UNHCR Ireland assist me to move or resettle to another country? 

No, there is no onward resettlement programme to move from Ireland to a third country.

UNHCR in Ireland therefore cannot assist you to resettle to another country. The decision on admission and entry is taken solely by the responsible national authority of the country of destination.  If you want to move to another country, please contact the authorities of that country to find out about their immigration rules and entry options. 

Related information