What resettlement updates can refugees receive from UNHCR?
The IVR Helpline is the ONLY tool for refugees to confirm if they have an active resettlement case and its processing status. Due to the high volume of requests about resettlement, we are unable to respond to e-mails, petitions, or individuals approaching the office asking about resettlement. All refugees inquiring about resettlement will be instructed to call the helpline for an update.
When you call the helpline’s resettlement option, you will likely not speak to helpline attendant directly. Instead, please listen carefully to the automated message which will tell you the most up to date information that we have on your resettlement case.
After entering your case number and details, the automated system pulls your status directly from UNHCR’s refugee database. Your resettlement status as recorded in our database will dictate which automatic message you receive. This also means, that when the database is updated, your status on the helpline will automatically update as well.
What does no active resettlement case message on the Helpline means?
Refugees who have not been identified for resettlement will be informed that they do not have an active resettlement case through an automated message. The vast majority of refugees will receive this message since resettlement is available for less than 1% of refugees.
Refugees that may have been previously interviewed for resettlement but determined not to meet resettlement criteria, or refugees that have been submitted and rejected by the resettlement countries will also be informed that they don’t have an active case through an automatic message. This means that UNHCR is not actively processing your case for resettlement.
“You do not have an active resettlement case. Resettlement is not a right. Resettlement is a solution that is only available to a very small number of refugees. If you have any other concerns, call us back and choose the corresponding option from the main menu. All UNHCR services, including resettlement, are free of charge.”
What message will I receive through the UNHCR Helpline if I have an active resettlement case?
- If you were identified by UNHCR but not yet submitted to the resettlement country:
If UNHCR identifies you and your family as vulnerable, you will have been called for a resettlement interview. If you are in the initial stages of resettlement processing with UNHCR but your case has not yet been transferred to a resettlement country, you will be connected with a helpline attendant who will provide information on the status of your case.
- If your file was submitted to the resettlement country and awaiting decision:
Once UNHCR has finished with our interviews and processing, your case will be submitted to a resettlement country or embassy. The resettlement country will then review your case thoroughly. Many resettlement countries require further interviews to make a decision on your case. The time from case submission to acceptance can be quite lengthy – normally refugees wait over one year for a decision to be made due to the processing capacity of resettlement countries. Please be patient. If your case has been submitted to a resettlement country, but you are waiting for their decision, you will receive the following automated message:
“You have an active resettlement case. Your case has been submitted to X country on X date for resettlement consideration. UNHCR will only contact you if a decision has been made on your case or if additional information is required. Please be patient, resettlement is a very long process.”
- Accepted by the resettlement country pending departure arrangements:
If a resettlement country decides to accept your case, you are now pending departure to the third country. Similarly, this can be a very long process that involves a series of further checks including medicals. If your case has been accepted by the resettlement country, but you are waiting for your departure arrangements, you will receive the following automated message:
“You have an active resettlement case. Your case has been accepted by X country for resettlement. The resettlement country will contact you regarding departure arrangements. UNHCR will only contact you if additional information is required. Please be patient, resettlement is a very long process.”
After a case has been transferred to a resettlement country, UNHCR normally does not have any further updates. Resettlement countries do not provide UNHCR with regular or detailed updates on case processing or any estimated timelines for departure. If you are worried about your case and receive the automatic message that you have an active resettlement case, please understand that your case hasn’t been forgotten – it is simply undergoing lengthy resettlement processing procedures.
What if my case doesn't fall under these categories?
If you haven’t received any of the above messages, it means that your that your case requires a follow up.
As resettlement is a very long and complicated process, sometimes cases have different challenges that need more focus or advocacy from UNHCR to determine the best way forward. If your case doesn’t fall within one of the above categories, you will hear the following message:
The UNHCR resettlement team has received your enquiry and will reach out to update you on the status of your case. Due to a high volume of inquiries, please allow up to 4 weeks for a response. We apologize for the delay and thank you for your patience.