Complementary Pathways

Complementary Pathways are safe and regulated opportunities for refugees to enter and stay in a third country where their international protection needs are met. These pathways allow refugees to travel from their country of asylum to a new country that grants them temporary or permanent residence, leading, in most cases, to a more permanent solution for refugees.

It is essential to understand that complementary pathways differ from UNHCR managed resettlement programs. Unlike resettlement, UNHCR does not identify or refer refugees for complementary pathways. Refugees can apply for complementary pathways opportunities independently with the relevant countries or partners. However, admission for complementary pathways is based on existing immigration laws, an applicant’s skills, or links in the third country. The Governments of the receiving countries often establish competitive criteria for acceptance to complementary pathways; they are the sole decision maker on who enters and stays on their territories.

UNHCR cannot influence third countries’ decisions on admission to complementary pathways opportunities and cannot request updates on applications on behalf of refugees. Refugees must apply to complementary pathways directly and follow up on their application independently with the Governments.

Complementary Pathways include:

Some success stories of refugees who have successfully accessed complementary pathways are available for you to read here.