What is Resettlement?

Resettlement is a solution that involves the selection and transfer of vulnerable refugees from a country of asylum to another country which has agreed to admit them – as refugees – with protection, assistance, and permanent residence status.

Resettlement is not a right, and a refugee cannot apply to be resettled. Refugees are not considered for resettlement on the basis of how long they have been in Somalia.

Each year, resettlement countries decide how they will allocate resettlement places among the millions of refugees throughout the world. UNHCR can only consider cases within these limits.  Unfortunately, Somalia does not have allocated resettlement places and can therefore only resettle a very small number of cases who have the most urgent and emergency protection needs and vulnerabilities.

If your case is selected for resettlement consideration, UNHCR will contact you.

Can I choose which country I would like to be resettled to?

No. Resettlement is not a right and because resettlement places are limited and selection criteria depend on the resettlement countries, you cannot choose which country you would like to be resettled to.

What happens if I am identified for resettlement?

You will be informed of this by UNHCR and will be invited for an interview.

Should I stop working or studying when my case is considered for resettlement?

No, you should continue with your normal activities as there is no guarantee that you will be resettled. Also, the process itself can be lengthy and take months or years.

I was told that if I paid money to someone, I would be resettled. Is this true?

All services provided by UNHCR and partners are free of cost. You should not pay money for any services, including resettlement.

What will I be asked in a resettlement interview?

During the resettlement interview, you will be asked a variety of questions on your situation to help UNHCR to have a detailed understanding of the circumstances of your case. Please bring any relevant identity, travel, or other documents which you may have. Please note, that the fact that you were interviewed does not guarantee that you will be resettled.

UNHCR conducts the interview individually with each adult refugee applicants in the case. The interview is conducted in the language preferred by the refugee applicant and also, he/she can express preference for interpreter or gender of interpreter and language of interpretation.

What happens if I have been interviewed for resettlement and there is a change in my family, such as marriage, birth or death?

You should inform UNHCR about changes as soon as possible.

Who makes the final decision on my case for resettlement?

While UNHCR identifies refugees for resettlement consideration and interviews them to assess their eligibility for resettlement, the final decision to accept a refugee for resettlement rests with resettlement countries and not with UNHCR.

How long does it take between the resettlement interview and departure?

The entire resettlement process is complex and takes a long time. Different cases are also processed at different timelines depending on many factors. Refugees whose cases have been submitted for resettlement should be patient while the case is being processed. It may be one to two years, or sometimes longer, for a final decision and departure to the resettlement country. Since Somalia does not currently have allocated resettlement places, only cases with the most urgent protection needs and vulnerabilities can be resettled.

What happens if my case is rejected for resettlement?

If your case is rejected by a resettlement country, you will be informed, and your resettlement case will be closed. This, however, does not mean a change of your refugee status. You will continue to receive international protection and assistance services from UNHCR and its partners.

Can I withdraw my application after it is submitted for resettlement?

Yes. Once you withdraw your case, UNHCR will close your resettlement case and you will no longer be processed for resettlement.

If I am resettled can my family members join me afterwards?

UNHCR cannot guarantee the resettlement of your family members who may not have been included in your original resettlement case. It depends upon the resettlement countries’ laws and decision whether they may join you afterwards. For this reason, it is very important that you inform UNHCR about all family members, including those who are with you in Somalia and those who remain in your country of origin, during your resettlement interview.

Will I be able to work in the resettlement country?

Yes. Resettlement is based on the expectation that you will have a permanent legal status in the resettlement country and will be able to enjoy rights like those enjoyed by nationals.

Is the resettlement process and/or UNHCR’s services free of charge?

Yes. All services provided by UNHCR and partners are free of cost. You should not pay money for any services, including resettlement.

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