Resettlement

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. 

Please be aware that 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. UNHCR and the Irish government agree on an annual basis what the resettlement quota will be and what countries to resettle from based on 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 ultimately decide who will be admitted to Ireland as part of the programme. The UNHCR Office in Ireland is not responsible for the selection of persons for resettlement.  

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 for the first two years will mostly be Syrian refugees living in Jordan and Lebanon, plus a small group of 150 Eritrean refugees living in Ethiopia. 

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 / Ethiopia who are refugees. Can you help them to be resettled to Ireland? 

UNHCR Ireland does not play any role in the selection of refugees for resettlement to Ireland. However, if you have family in Lebanon, Jordan or Ethiopia who are registered as refugees, we may be able to refer their cases to UNHCR in those countries to highlight that there is a family link to Ireland and to check if they are eligible for resettlement. This enquiry will not affect their eligibility for resettlement, however if they are considered eligible on the basis of the standard identification criteria, they may be referred to Ireland for resettlement. 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.  

For data protection reasons, we cannot share the outcome of any resettlement queries with you. If your family members are eligible for resettlement, they will be contacted by UNHCR directly in their country of residence. Resettlement processes can take many months.  

If you wish to make such a referral, please share the details of your family members, as outlined below, by email to [email protected]:  

  • Name(s): 
  • Relationship to you: 
  • UNHCR Registration number: 
  • Size of family: 
  • Location: 
  • Contact number: 

We will not share their details with UNHCR in their country of refuge immediately – we will only share their details if the Irish authorities decide to select refugees for resettlement from that country. Sharing this information with UNHCR in no way influences their eligibility for resettlement to Ireland or any other country. 

I have family who are refugees in a country other than Lebanon / Jordan / Ethiopia. Can you help them to be resettled to Ireland? 

The Irish government decides which countries it will resettle refugees from. At present, Ireland is primarily resettling refugees affected by the Syrian conflict from Lebanon and Jordan, and a small group of 150 Eritrean refugees living in Ethiopia. UNHCR Ireland cannot refer individual cases for resettlement from other countries.  

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 

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. All CSI cases are referred through the standard UNHCR resettlement referral process. You can find further information about Community Sponsorship Ireland here: http://www.integration.ie/en/isec/pages/community_sponsorship_ireland       

Can UNHCR help me to resettle from Ireland to another country?  

No, UNHCR Ireland cannot help you to resettle from Ireland to another country.  

If you would like to know about other immigration options for entering or living in Ireland, see the Department of Justice & Equality’s immigration website for more information.  


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