The Many Steps to Refugee Resettlement

Serene yellow room with desk, chair, laptop, and notebook

Only a small fraction of refugees are accepted for resettlement (just over 40,000 worldwide in the first half of 2022, according to UNHCR), but getting there takes determination and persistence from the refugees and the collective efforts of UNHCR and partner staff. One Expert wrote poignantly about his chance to share the happy news that comes at the end of this long and arduous journey:

“I have been asked twice to tell several families about upcoming departures to a resettlement country. For some of them, the resettlement process started more than five years ago. Although I was the one to break the news, I had not taken any action on their case. And before conducting these sessions, I couldn’t help but think of all the caseworkers who, over the years, have taken their cases one step further before passing the baton.”

The Expert who shared this story works in Chad. According to our records, some of the cases our Experts in Chad have worked on may have been touched by as many as three other RefugePoint Experts. Such a scenario would mean, for example, that over the years, one Expert may have come to Chad and conducted a Best Interests Assessment (BIA) for a child whose father is missing. A different RefugePoint Expert may have used the BIA to draft a Resettlement Registration Form (RRF, or an application for resettlement) for the child and their mother, which yet another RefugePoint Expert might review for quality assurance before submitting it to a country that eventually decides whether or not to accept the case.

Furthermore, our database only captures the work our Experts complete; we can never know how many individuals working with UNHCR and other partner organizations have helped this child and their mother start a new life.  

“I wish I could have told each of these colleagues from the past how touched these families were when they learned they were flying out in two weeks,” our Expert wrote.

He and many other Experts and humanitarians will play different roles in supporting refugees seeking a new life in a new country. Occasionally, they will hear the outcome of that effort. Most of the time, they just do what they can to move that family one step closer to safety.