EU Resettlement Network

Reception phase

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The reception phase for resettled refugees is the period following their arrival in their country of resettlement. The length of the reception phase is not defined - it often refers to the first few weeks after arrival, but can be used to refer to periods of up to 6 months following arrival.

Arrangements for the reception of resettled refugees differ from country to country. The organisations and agencies involved in reception also differ, and can include civil society organisations, central government agencies and regional, city and municipal authorities. In many contexts, combinations of some or all of these actors work in partnership to deliver appropriate reception conditions for resettled refugees. In each country, the actors involved plan reception arrangements for resettled refugees prior to their arrival, which is a process known as reception planning.

Most resettled refugees will not speak the language of the country they are moving to, so the actors planning reception arrangements will generally provide interpreters upon arrival. Planning for interpretation can be very challenging when the refugee’s first language is not widely spoken in the country of resettlement.

In several European countries, resettled refugees are initially accommodated in central reception facilities or centres. This is referred to as centralised reception. While the majority of these facilities are managed by government authorities or agencies, some are also managed by non-governmental organisations. The length of time that refugees spend in central reception facilities before they move to longer-term accommodation ranges from a few days to several months. In other contexts, resettled refugees move into independent accommodation in a local community directly following their arrival. This is known as direct reception.

Both direct and centralised reception arrangements will include some element of post-arrival orientation for resettled refugees. In central reception facilities, this may include an introduction to the centre and the agencies working there; the services and activities that are available on-site; and the timetable for the refugees stay. Where direct reception is used, orientation provided may include introducing refugees to their new housing and local area, and to the agencies they can contact for support and assistance.

Generally, reception arrangements include procedures for assessing the health of newly arrived refugees to clarify the health information received prior to their arrival; to detect any previously unknown health conditions or requirements; and to make arrangements for further care.