Q&A on Travelling Abroad
1. What is resettlement?
Resettlement involves the selection and transfer of refugees from a country in which they have sought protection to a third country which has agreed to admit them. Resettlement is only reserved to those who have a particular protection concern or needs that cannot be met in the country or refuge.
2. Who can get resettlement and what are the requirements?
In order to be eligible for resettlement and to have your case submitted for resettlment to a third country, you must meet certain requirements related to your status in the country of refuge. These requirements are based on global standards agreed upon by resettlement countries and according to which each refugee is assessed.
Resettlement places are limited, and are determined by third countries that are willing to accept refugees who have protection or immediate needs that cannot be addressed in Lebanon. Therefore, UNHCR must identify those who are most vulnerable and present a number of cases that match the offers from the thrid countries. This number is very small compared to the overall refugee population in Lebanon of more than 1.1 million refugees, which include both Syrian refugees and refugees from other countries. 3,326 refugees were resettled in 2013, and 6,285 were resettled from all origin in 2014.
Resettlement is one of the durable solutions. The preferred option remains the return to your country of origin when the conditions will allow for a safe return in dignity, which will allow you to resume a normal life with access to public services and protection from the your country. UNHCR is under no obligation to submit your case for resettlement.
3. How do UNHCR identify refugees?
UNHCR identifies vulnerable refugees eligible for resettlement through a series of face to face interviews starting from the time the refugees approach UNHCR.
There are also other ways for UNHCR to determine if there has been a change to your circumstances that may make you eligible for resettlement. These ways include ongoing visits to places where refugees live, reports from UNHCR partner organizations and updates that you provide whenever you approach UNHCR.
Refugees cannot apply by themselves or submit an application for UNHCR to consider them for resettlement. This is because if the refugee self-identify himself/herself for resettlement the credibility of his/her case may be questionable. In addition, self-identification could be unfair against refugees who cannot express their protection needs in writing or who have difficulty in accessing UNHCR offices.
4. Who makes the decision to resettle refugees?
Resettlement is determined on a case by case basis, based on the global criteria described in Question 2. UNHCR is involved in the selection of vulnerable refugees who meet these critiera for submission to a third country. The final decision to accept a refugee for resettlement to another country is made by the receiving country and not by UNHCR.
After a number of interviews by UNHCR specialists whereby the details of your situation are recorded and assessed to determine if you are eligible for resettlement, UNHCR will submit your case to a third country. The third country, and not UNHCR, is responsible to decide if you will be resettled.
UNHCR is under no obbligation to submit your case to a particular third country.
All these procedures are free of charge. You do not have to pay for your case to be considered for resettlement.
5. I heard that UNHCR is currently resettling refugees abroad by boat or bus, is it true?
UNHCR is NOT involved in transporting refugees by boat or bus to destinations outside Lebanon, including Turkey, Europe or anywhere else.
This information is NOT coming from UNHCR and must be considered false.
If you meet the resettlement requirements, UNHCR will call you directly on the phone and request you to approach the office for further assessment of your situation.
6. Why there are many fraudulent messages about resettlement circulating on social and public media?
There are many false claims about travel abroad, including Turkey, Europe or anywhere else, put out by unscrupulous people. Some of them are pretending to be UNHCR. Recent messages circulating among refugees across Lebanon and other countries in the region, often under the form of a Whatsapp, SMS, on Facebook or on public media suggest that the resettlement process consists of filling a form and getting on ships or buses organized by UNHCR. This is misleading and false. Resettlement involves a number of procedures as described above.
Unfortunately there are criminal enterprises taking advantage of this situation and exploiting refugees who are desperate to seek safety. You do not have to pay for your case to be considered for resettlement.
UNHCR asks refugees to be mindful about such criminal networks and associated risks.
7. I was interviewed by UNHCR but I am still waiting for UNHCR to call me, why is it taking so much time?
If you already had an interview with resettlement staff to assess your eligibility, UNHCR will contact you as soon as the assessment of your case is completed to inform you if you are eligible for resettlement or not.
You will not be contacted if you have not undergone an interview with resettlement staff.
Refugees cannot apply by themselves or submit an application for UNHCR to consider them for resettlement. See Question 2 to see how refugees are identified by UNHCR and partners.
8. Do I have to pay to be resettled?
No. All UNHCR and humanitarian agencies’ services and activities, including resettlement, are free of charge. If anyone offers UNHCR resettlement assistance of any kind in exchange for money or other benefits, this person may be breaking the law. If you come across someone attempting to do so, please contact UNHCR immediately!
UNHCR will not assist any person who has been involved in any fraudulent activities with resettlement to another country.
Providing false information or submitting false/forged documents without explaining they are false/forged may disqualify you from resettlement.
UNHCR Hotlines Lebanon
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