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Solutions for Refugees

Can I return home or be resettled?

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I find information about third country resettlement within UNHCR’s mandate?

The UNHCR Resettlement Handbook provides detailed information on UNHCR resettlement policy and practice. Resettlement States have described their policies and programmes in individual Country Chapters. The Resettlement Handbook is a public document and can be found at: https://www.unhcr.org/en-my/publications/legal/3bfe68d32/handbook-voluntary-repatriation-international-protection.html?query=handbook%20voluntary%20repatriation
The resettlement ‘Submission Categories’ are explained in Chapter 6 of the UNHCR Resettlement Handbook. You can read this chapter by clicking on the following link: https://www.unhcr.org/3d464e842.html

When are the Durable Solutions Unit (DSU) enquiry desk days at UNHCR?

The Durable Solutions Unit (DSU) counter is closed permanently. We ask for your patience as UNHCR seeks to develop more effective ways of managing enquiries.

How do I contact the Durable Solutions Unit to discuss about my case?

There is no need to approach the office individually or send letters, faxes or emails. It is, however, very important to keep your contact details – telephone numbers (also please mention whether you use Whatsapp) and email addresses updated with UNHCR, so that the office can arrange an appointment with you whenever required.

If my case has been processed by the Durable Solutions Unit (DSU) and submitted to the United States of America, who do I contact for updates?

The Resettlement Support Center (RSC) works for the Government of the United States of America and helps refugees to complete resettlement applications for consideration by United States officials. You can contact the Resettlement Support Centre by calling +60321415846 or emailing them at KLInquires@rescue.org.

After my registration interview, how long will it take for me to be recognized and resettled?

Individuals who are registered with UNHCR will undergo a refugee status determination process, during which an in-depth assessment of the individual’s international protection needs will be conducted before a decision is made on if the individual is a refugee. Only those individuals determined to be refugees by UNHCR can be considered for resettlement. Processing times for refugee status determination and resettlement, if applicable, differ from case to case.

I have received my refugee card. When will I be called for resettlement interview?

Having a refugee card does not automatically mean that you are eligible for resettlement. Further, the length of stay in Malaysia also does not make a refugee eligible for resettlement. The resettlement ‘Submission Categories’ as explained in Chapter 6 of the UNHCR Resettlement Handbook. You can read this chapter by clicking on the following link: https://www.unhcr.org/3d464e842.html

Ultimately, due to limited resettlement quota, cases will be prioritized for resettlement according to the urgency and severity of the protection and resettlement needs.

I received a letter to inform me that I am currently not eligible for resettlement. What does this mean and what should I do?

This means that UNHCR is unable to refer your case to a resettlement country at the present time. This, however, does not mean a change of your refugee status. You will continue to receive international protection and assistance services from UNHCR.

During the resettlement interview, can I ask to which country my case will be submitted?

Yes you can. UNHCR considers the desires of your family and the criteria of the different resettlement countries. This information will assist UNHCR in choosing an appropriate resettlement country for your family.

Can I request for resettlement to my country of choice?

Although UNHCR will take note of a refugee’s resettlement country preference, the final decision to which country a refugee is submitted remains with UNHCR. When making that decision, UNHCR takes into account any specific needs of refugees as well as their family links.

Can I reject a resettlement country chosen for me? What happens to my case after I reject the offer?

If you choose not to be considered for resettlement to a particular country, you risk being excluded from further resettlement processing. If you decide to withdraw your case from the resettlement country which has interviewed and accepted your case, UNHCR will counsel you on the implications and consequences of the withdrawal. UNHCR may not be able to submit the case again to the country of your choice and it will be the decision of any other resettlement country whether to consider a resettlement submission.

I have completed my resettlement interview. When will I be called for my interview with the resettlement country?

The purpose of the resettlement interview is to assess your case for resettlement. Following the resettlement interview, your case will be reviewed before a decision is taken whether a submission for resettlement should be made. The time needed for this process differs from case to case. If your case is thereafter submitted to the United States of America, the Resettlement Support Centre (RSC) will contact you to inform you of your interview date with RSC. For countries other than the United States of America, UNHCR will contact you to provide information about your interview date with the resettlement country officials.

I have not been contacted by the resettlement country. When will they call me?

The processing times for resettlement remains long and unpredictable. It depends on the resettlement country’s guidelines, priorities and are outside the control of UNHCR.

I received a call from the Durable Solutions Unit (DSU) informing me that my case is ‘on hold’ for resettlement. How can I get more information?

Due to the need to protect confidentiality, UNHCR cannot always explain to each individual why their case is placed on hold. Cases can remain on hold due to a variety of reasons. However, once the reason is fully assessed, clarified and resolved, your resettlement process will resume. Approaching UNHCR or asking about your case frequently will not change this and will not help your case move faster.

My case was submitted to the United States of America for resettlement. I was involved in identity fraud in 2012. I confessed and my case was put on hold. When will I be interviewed and resettled?

Those who had been implicated in identity fraud were interviewed in March and April 2019 by US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officers from the United States. For more information on your case, please contact the Resettlement Supports Centre (RSC) by calling +60321415846 or emailing them at KLInquires@rescue.org.

I have completed my medical screening but have been asked by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to go for another screening. Why?

Resettlement countries require updated medical screening for refugees. Refugees are likely to undergo more than one examination prior to their departure, depending on the policies of the resettlement country.

Why is my resettlement process taking so long?

Resettlement is a time consuming process for all the persons concerned and the processing time varies from country to country, due to different immigration laws, priorities and resources. It is very hard to predict how long it will take from the time a resettlement interview with UNHCR has been completed to the time of departure. Issues such as birth, marriage, pregnancy, divorce and custody, registration, deaths have to be properly assessed and resolved before resettlement can happen.

My family is still waiting for a durable solution. Can I proceed with my resettlement process? What will happen to my family? Will UNHCR help to reunite my family in the resettlement country?

UNHCR promotes family reunification and restoring supportive relationships and will not split families. It is important that you inform UNHCR about any unregistered family members. Counselling will be provided to the family about the implications and consequences.

If I am married to a non-refugee, can my spouse and children get a UNHCR card and be resettled with me?

Resettlement of a refugee who marries a non-refugee is not being prioritized by UNHCR. If you are married to a non-refugee, you may be entitled to a residency status or potentially citizenship in your spouse’s country. Marriage to a non-refugee spouse will be carefully assessed by UNHCR, to determine the options for that person and the situation of the entire family, before considering them for resettlement. If your spouse is a citizen of Malaysia, the Durable Solutions Unit will refer your case to the Protection Unit, which may review your and your children’s prospects of citizenship.

I am in a polygamous marriage. Can my wives be resettled with me?

Polygamy is unlawful in nearly all resettlement countries and therefore refugees cannot be resettled, if they are intending to continue a polygamous marriage. Each family will be counselled individually by UNHCR about their resettlement prospects and the family will need to consider the best arrangements for the spouses and their children.

I have been rejected by a resettlement country. What will happen next?

Your case will not be automatically resubmitted to another resettlement country. UNHCR, however, will complete a re-assessment on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration any specific needs of your family. Due to the different criteria of the various resettlement countries, you should not assume, if you are denied by one country, that you will be accepted by another.

I have been offered both a sponsorship programme and a resettlement opportunity through UNHCR. If I choose the sponsorship programme, can I give my resettlement space to my other family members or community members?

The resettlement submission of an individual or a family is based on an assessment that there is a need for resettlement. UNHCR will not promote for resettlement a family which has access to another durable solution.

Where do I find information about voluntary repatriation to my home country within UNHCR’s mandate?

The UNHCR Handbook Voluntary Repatriation provides detailed information on UNHCR voluntary repatriation policy and practice. The Handbook is a public document and can be found at: https://www.unhcr.org/en-my/publications/legal/3bfe68d32/handbook-voluntary-repatriation-international-protection.html?query=handbook%20voluntary%20repatriation

I am registered with UNHCR and would like to return to my home country. How can UNHCR assist?

If you would like to return to your home country, you can inform UNHCR of your interest to return by:

(i) Approaching the UNHCR Office anytime from 8am – 12 pm, Mondays to Friday

(ii) Informing the UNHCR officer during any of your appointments with UNHCR

(iii) Calling the Durable Solutions Unit at 03-21184800 -> Press “2”

(iv) Approaching your embassy (Note: This is only if you are comfortable doing so)

OR

(v) Approaching the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Upon receiving information on your intention to return, UNHCR will contact you at a later date regarding your appointment for Voluntary Repatriation counselling. During the counselling session, you will be counselled on the option of being assessed under the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) Programme. The AVRR Programme is administered by IOM, under which your exit can be facilitated. If you still decide to return to your home country following the counselling session, UNHCR will provide you a Voluntary Repatriation Form (VRF) to facilitate your exit from Malaysia. The entire process may take between 1 to 3 months. This depends on whether all required documents are available, as well as on logistical arrangements. You will have to bear the exit permit penalty and the cost of the special pass of RM100 per applicant.

Can UNHCR issue me a Voluntary Repatriation Form (VRF) on the same day I inform the Office of my intention to return to my home country?

Due to the above mentioned processes and timeframes, UNHCR will be unable to issue a Voluntary Repatriation Form (VRF) on the same day we receive information on your intention to return. Please do not purchase your flight ticket before you attend your Voluntary Repatration counselling session as it might go to waste. You will be advised on the Immigration procedures to exit Malaysia, including the timing of which you should purchase your flight ticket, during the counselling session.

My application for refugee status was rejected and I would now like to return to my home country. Can UNHCR assist?

You may approach IOM for counselling. Applicants will need to cover the costs for their exit permit application and penalty as well as for a special pass. UNHCR will not be able to provide a Voluntary Repatriation Form (VRF).

I have attended the voluntary repatriation counselling session with the Durable Solutions Unit. Can I contact the Durable Solutions Unit thereafter to request for updates on my return arrangements?

There is no need to contact the Durable Solutions Unit by coming to the Office, or sending letters, faxes or emails. The staff at the Durable Solutions Unit will contact you if there is a need to resolve any pending issues in order to further assess and/ or assist with your return. It is therefore very important to keep your contact details – any telephone numbers (please also mention whether you use Whatsapp) and email addresses – updated with UNHCR, so that the staff can contact you whenever required.

I cannot return to my own country as it is unsafe, but can UNHCR send me to a neighbouring country of my country of origin?

Voluntary Repatriation means the return to one’s country of origin voluntarily and under conditions of safety and dignity. UNHCR does not arrange, assist or facilitate travel to a neighbouring country.

My life is very difficult in Malaysia. I would like to go to another country. Can UNHCR issue me a Voluntary Repatriation Form (VRF)?

A Voluntary Repatriation Form (VRF) is issued ONLY if an individual indicates intention to return to the country of origin.

Would UNHCR be able to assist if I am in danger of being forcibly returned to my country of origin?

UNHCR will advocate for the individual to prevent deportation to country of origin, especially if there are reasons to be believe that the individual’s life is at risk if returned.