EU Resettlement Network

FOCUS ON SYRIA

For additional information on the crisis in Syria, including situation reports, news articles and other resources, please click here. There are also numerous multimedia resources available here.

Click here to access the map on European Responses to the Syrian refugee crisis. 

Click here to access the map on Syrian refugees in the Middle East and North Africa

THE CONTEXT

As the conflict in Syria deepens and the violence worsens, UNHCR expects that growing numbers of civilians will continue to seek safety and assistance across international borders. Likewise, as the number of displaced people grows, surpassing two million outside of Syria, so does the strain on the capacities of communities in the region. UNHCR has encouraged the international community to show solidarity with countries hosting Syrian refugees in the region by offering resettlement opportunities, humanitarian admission places, and family reunification or other forms of admission for Syrian refugees. These interventions are critical for the most vulnerable refugees who are in urgent need of safety and protection.

WHAT ARE RESETTLEMENT AND HUMANITARIAN ADMISSION?

Resettlement involves the selection and transfer of refugees from a State in which they have sought protection to a third State which has agreed to admit them as refugees with permanent residence status.  

Humanitarian admission is a similar, but expedited, process providing protection in a third country for refugees in greatest need in the region. Residence under humanitarian admission may be either permanent or temporary depending upon State legislation.

WHAT ARE UNHCR’S RESETTLEMENT AND HUMANITARIAN ADMISSION GOALS?

UNHCR initially proposed that countries admit up to 30,000 Syrian refugees on resettlement, humanitarian admission, or other programmes by the end of 2014, with a focus on protecting the most vulnerable. This goal has since been reached and exceeded. However, in light of the growing needs of the Syrian refugee population, this goal represents only the first benchmark in securing solutions for this group. UNHCR anticipates that, in the coming years, there will be increasing numbers of vulnerable Syrian refugees who will be in need of resettlement, relocation, or other forms of humanitarian admission. Therefore, UNHCR has called upon States to make multi-annual commitments towards a goal of providing resettlement and other forms of admission for an additional 100,000 Syrian refugees in 2015 and 2016. With the goal of 30,000 having been reached, focus must now be on securing pledges for this additional figure by the end of 2016. States are encouraged to offer places for Syrian refugees in addition to their current resettlement quotas to ensure that resettlement opportunities also continue to be available for refugees from the rest of the world. 

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM RESETTLEMENT AND HUMANITARIAN ADMISSION?

UNHCR is working closely with resettlement and humanitarian admission countries to prioritize the most vulnerable, including women and girls at risk, survivors of violence and/or torture, refugees with medical needs or disabilities, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex refugees at risk, vulnerable older adults, and refugees in need of family reunification.  Refugees who face serious threats to their physical security, particularly due to political opinion or belonging to an ethnic or religious minority group, may also be prioritized. Vulnerable refugees are identified through registration data and community outreach by UNHCR and its partners. UNHCR is enhancing its capacity to identify vulnerable refugees and to streamline procedures for referral. As the programmes continue to grow, additional personnel, equipment, and resources are needed.

FROM WHICH COUNTRIES WILL UNHCR CARRY OUT RESETTLEMENT AND HUMANITARIAN ADMISSION?

The programmes are implemented in countries neighbouring Syria and in the wider region hosting the largest numbers of refugees who have fled the conflict, including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, as well as other countries in the region, as needed.

WHICH COUNTRIES ARE PARTICIPATING IN THE RESETTLEMENT AND HUMANITARIAN ADMISSION PROGRAMMES OF SYRIAN REFUGEES SO FAR?

To date, numerous countries have pledged to receive refugees on resettlement, humanitarian admission and other programmes, with 208,330 places now made available. An unprecedented majority of these pledges comes from European States (26). The following countries have pledged to receive refugees on resettlement, humanitarian admission or other programmes:

COUNTRY

Confirmed/Official Pledges (Persons) Since 2013

AUSTRALIA

5,800 Resettlement and Special Humanitarian Programme*

AUSTRIA

1,900 Humanitarian Admission

BELARUS 20 Resettlement

BELGIUM

475 Resettlement

BRAZIL 8,450 Humanitarian Visas*
BULGARIA 90 Resettlement

CANADA

48,089 Resettlement

CZECH REPUBLIC 70 Resettlement
CROATIA 150 Resettlement

DENMARK

390 Resettlement

FINLAND

1,900 Resettlement

FRANCE

2,980 Humanitarian Admission/Resettlement

4,122 Humanitarian Visas

1,000 Academic Scholarships

GERMANY

 

 

20,717 Humanitarian Admission

22,216 Individual Sponsorship

186 Academic Scholarships

HUNGARY

50 Resettlement

50 Academic Scholarships

ICELAND 75 Resettlement

IRELAND

724 Resettlement/Humanitarian Admission

ITALY

2,095 Resettlement

Private Sponsorship 192

JAPAN 150 Academic Scholarships

LIECHTENSTEIN

25 Resettlement

LUXEMBOURG

318 Resettlement

THE NETHERLANDS

500 Resettlement

NEW ZEALAND 850 Resettlement

NORWAY

POLAND

PORTUGAL

9,000 Resettlement

900 Resettlement

170 Resettlement

70 Academic Scholarships
 
ROMANIA 80 Resettlement

SPAIN

1,709 Resettlement

SWEDEN

2,700 Resettlement

SWITZERLAND

2,000 Resettlement

4,700 Humanitarian Visas*

 

UNITED KINGDOM

20,000 Vulnerable Persons Relocation scheme

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

URUGUAY

43,297 (Submitted for Resettlement)

120 Resettlement

TOTAL PLEDGES

 208,330

In addition, Australia has agreed to resettle an additional 12,000 refugees who are fleeing the conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq. The proportion of these places to be allocated to Syrian refugees has not yet been determined. The 12,000 additional places will be delivered over multiple years. A breakdown of visas granted for this group will be provided once these places are delivered.
 
Canada has committed to finalise a number of privately sponsored refugees by early 2017, with numbers to be clarified in the coming months. 
 
And the United Kingdom has recently announced a programme for the resettlement of up to 3,000 individuals from the MENA region. The new scheme is additional to the UK’s Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme and will be specifically tailored to support refugee children at risk and their families. The figure has not been included in the table above because, in accordance with UNHCR’s advice, the programme is not exclusively for Syrian nationals. 
 

WHAT OTHER STEPS HAVE COUNTRIES TAKEN IN ADDITION TO PARTICIPATING IN THE RESETTLEMENT AND HUMANITARIAN ASMISSION PROGRAMMES?

To pave the way for further State commitments and support, a Core Group on Syrian Resettlement, comprised of resettlement States and chaired by Sweden, has been established and held its inaugural meeting on 12 December 2013 in Geneva.

UNHCR is coordinating a Resettlement Working Group with the host countries neighbouring Syria and in the wider region to regularly exchange information and feedback on the implementation of the resettlement and humanitarian admission programmes for Syrian refugees.

Countries have also offered other forms of admission, such as simplified and expedited family reunion and the extension of student or employment-related visas, which are very welcome. UNHCR hopes that other States will follow suit through flexible application of family reunification criteria and procedures, as well as dispensing with certain visa requirements and facilitating entry of Syrians for work, study, family, or humanitarian purposes under national programmes.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

As Network members, there is much that can be done to advocate and encourage local communities, local, regional and national representatives, as well as appropriate institutions and organisations to facilitate increased resettlement opportunities and humanitarian admission for the most vulnerable Syrian refugees.

For this purpose, please do not hesitate to utilise the information outlined above in your advocacy efforts, which will be updated on a regular basis. 

For additional information on the crisis in Syria, including situation reports, news articles and other resources, please click here. There are also numerous multimedia resources available here. 

Photo 1: © UNHCR/July 2013

Photo 2: © IOM/2013

Photo 3: © UNHCR/E. Dorfman/2013