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Migration and Home Affairs

Resettlement and other pathways to protection

Resettlement means the admission of non-EU nationals in need of international protection from a non-EU country to which they have been displaced to an EU country where they are granted protection. It is a safe and legal alternative to irregular journeys and a demonstration of European solidarity with non-EU countries hosting large numbers of persons fleeing war or persecution. Resettlement is based on referrals by the UNHCR.

Resettlement schemes

Since 2015, three successful EU-sponsored resettlement schemes, involving a significant number of EU countries, have helped almost 75,000 of the most vulnerable people in need of international protection find shelter in the EU.

Resettlement is an important element of the EU-Turkey Statement. Since March 2016, almost 37,000 Syrians have been resettled to EU countries.

To move from ad hoc resettlement schemes to schemes that operate on the basis of a stable framework, the Commission proposed a regulation in 2016 establishing a Union Resettlement Framework to provide safe and legal pathways to international protection as part of the overhaul of the EU asylum system. The adoption of the regulation is pending.

In addition to resettlement, the EU promotes humanitarian admission schemes as well as other complementary pathways to protection linked to education and work. Moreover, the EU promotes community sponsorship schemes to give civil society organisations, communities and groups of individuals a stronger, more structured role in the reception and integration of refugees arriving through the above-mentioned legal pathways.

The European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) supports EU countries in the implementation of their resettlement programmes including through the Resettlement and Humanitarian Admission Network, which was created in January 2020.

16 EU Member States pledged more than 29 000 places for resettlement and humanitarian admission for 2023, including continued and expanded support to Afghans in need of protection. You can find the detailed overview here.

Related meetings

High-level Forum on legal pathways to protection (online), 29 November 2022, 15.30-18.00 CET

Commissioner Johansson convened the high-level Forum on legal pathways to protection to exchange with Member States, international partners, international organisations and other high-level participants on resettlement and humanitarian admission efforts. The discussion focused on complementary pathways linked to work for people in need of international protection. The event was streamed here.

On 9 July 2021, Commissioner Johansson convened a High-level Resettlement Forum with Representatives of the European Union, the United States of America, the Government of Canada, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and civil society representatives with a view to stepping up resettlement and complementary pathways through joint leadership. Read the statement.

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