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 2017, 667,400 refugees returned home, mostly to Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Syria, and Afghanistan.
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, 35 countries took part, offering 102,800 places for an estimated 1.2 million people in need of resettlement. This is was a significant drop from 2016 due to the large decrease in the admissions quota by the US government. 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 still resettles the highest number of refugees through this program annually, dropping from accepting 96,900 submissions from UNHCR in 2016 to only 33,400 in 2017. It was followed by Canada (26,600), Australia (15,100), the United Kingdom (6,200) and Sweden(3,400).
The number of people projected to need resettlement places in 2017 is expected to surpass 1.4 million.
Click here for more information on resettlement in Australia through the Humanitarian Program.
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Last updated 10 July 2018.