What is resettlement?

Resettlement involves a voluntary, safe and regulated transfer of people in need of international protection from the country where they are registered (either with UNHCR or with host government authorities) to another country which has agreed to admit them as refugees.

Resettlement is intended as a long-term solution. It may offer a pathway for refugees to eventually become citizens in their new country, although the process can take several years. Refugees who are resettled are given the right to work and study, access to health care and other social services, and the necessary support to participate in local communities, including language classes.

Resettlement is a limited solution available to refugees who meet very specific requirements. The criteria are defined by the receiving (resettlement) country, specific protection needs and particular vulnerabilities. UNHCR monitors individual cases of refugees on an ongoing basis and determines those eligible for resettlement consideration. The final decision on the acceptance of a case lies with the government of a resettlement country.

I am a refugee and I wish to be resettled to Portugal. Can UNHCR in Portugal assist me?

Unfortunately, no. Since the resettlement assessment process is undertaken by UNHCR operations in other countries, UNHCR in Portugal is not able to provide updates or speed up the process. UNHCR in Portugal is not involved in the identification or final selection of refugees for resettlement to Portugal, and therefore has no influence on the resettlement process.

I am a refugee resettled to Portugal. Can my extended family members be resettled to Portugal as well?

The fact that you were resettled to Portugal does not entitle your extended family members to be resettled to Portugal as well. Resettlement countries offer limited quotas (resettlement places), meaning that most refugees cannot be considered for resettlement to another country. UNHCR can only process cases for resettlement submission within existing limits. Refugees must therefore be realistic about the chances of being submitted for Resettlement by UNHCR. UNHCR will prioritize the most urgent cases for referral to a resettlement country. 

Refugees abroad should contact the UNHCR office closest to them if they would like to report any protection concerns or would like information on resettlement.

You can find information on UNHCR and available services in the country where your family members are located here.

Related information

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