The ultimate goal and greatest challenge of the global asylum system is to find durable solutions for those who have been displaced.

There are three durable solutions that have been identified – voluntary repatriation, local integration and resettlement. Each offers a pathway to a permanent outcome where national protection can take over from international protection. The UNHCR plays a key role in assisting states to find these durable solutions. 

1. Voluntary repatriation involves refugees choosing to return home once it is safe to do so. This is the most common solution and the one preferred by most refugees. In 2015, 201,400 refugees returned home, mostly to Afghanistan, Sudan and Somalia.

2. Local integration relies on host countries permitting refugees to become permanent members of the community. This requires a complex set of conditions, including a receptive local community and a viable economic situation, to ensure successful integration into the host community.

3. Resettlement is the final durable solution and involves third countries agreeing to resettle refugees from host countries and provide protection. Resettlement is a way for the international community to share responsibility for providing protection to refugees but it remains severely inadequate. 

In 2015, 33 countries took part, offering 107,000 places for an estimated one million people in need of resettlement. Because of the limited numbers of resettlement places, recognition of refugee status does not necessarily determine a person’s referral to resettlement in a third country. Refugees are also not entitled to choose the country to which they are referred.

The United States resettles the highest number of refugees through this program annually, accepting 82,491 submissions from UNHCR in 2015. It was followed by Canada (22,886), Australia (9,321), Norway (3,806) and the United Kingdom (3,622).

The number of people projected to need resettlement places in 2017 is expected to surpass 1.19 million.

Click here for more information on resettlement in Australia through the Humanitarian Program.



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Last updated November 2016.