This inform provides up-to-date and comparative data on resettlement, humanitarian admission and sponsorship schemes in EMN Member States between 2016 to 2022 and offers a valuable resource for countries launching new programmes in this field.
Conflicts in different world regions have led to an increase in migratory movements to neighbouring countries, with approximately 72% of refugees and forcibly displaced persons in 2021 being hosted in developing countries. This has created an imbalance between developed and developing countries as well as resulting in people seeking alternative places of refuge through risky and irregular routes. Resettlement, humanitarian admission, and sponsorship schemes offer protection and durability to displaced persons while alleviating pressure in countries of first asylum. These schemes also serve as a crucial tool for demonstrating global solidarity with non-EU countries.
The term resettlement means selecting and transferring refugees from the country where they first sought protection to a third country that agrees to accept them as permanent residents. The UNHCR is responsible for identifying and referring refugees for resettlement.
The majority of EMN Member Countries have implemented resettlement programmes between 2016 and 2022. While some countries like Finland, Sweden, and the Netherlands have well-established national programs, most EMN Member Countries have limited experience and rely on the EU Resettlement Programme.
The national resettlement programmes mostly set quotas for the number of refugees they will receive on an annual or multi-annual basis. The Netherlands, for instance, has been implementing a multi-annual policy framework since 1999, taking in 500 resettled refugees each year. In some countries, resettlement quotas are determined in response to pledging exercises with the European Commission. Quotas are also influenced by available capacities for housing and reception services.
About half of the responding EMN Member Countries have carried out humanitarian admission schemes in the period 2016-2022. The primary differences between resettlement and humanitarian admission schemes pertain to the status granted and eligibility pre-conditions. While resettlement requires UNHCR referral and international protection status approval prior to arrival, humanitarian admission schemes allow for persons to be referred by other entities and can grant international protection or national status upon arrival or after a procedure. The majority of reported admission schemes were in response to the EU's evacuation of Afghan nationals and their families following the fall of the Afghan government in 2021. At that time, the EU and its Member States successfully evacuated 22 000 Afghans from the country.
Several countries, such as Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, and Spain have initiated sponsorship programs, with some still in pilot phases. These initiatives allow local community groups to sponsor and provide support for resettling refugees.
The inform “Resettlement, Humanitarian Admission and Sponsorship Schemes” is available here.