Resettlement FAQ

Welcome to the Resettlement Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Here, you can find more detailed information on the resettlement process, including specific resettlement-related scenarios.

Obtaining general and case specific information on resettlement

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.

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.

Eligibility for resettlement/ Resettlement processes

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. Registration or granting of refugee status by UNHCR does not mean an individual will be referred for resettlement.

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

Having a refugee card does not automatically mean you are eligible for resettlement. Further, the length of stay in Malaysia does not make a refugee eligible for resettlement. The resettlement ‘Submission Categories’ are explained in Chapter 6 of the UNHCR Resettlement Handbook.  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 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 on 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 or the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will contact you on behalf of the resettlement country to provide information about your interview date with the resettlement country officials.

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.

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 may resume. Approaching UNHCR or asking about your case frequently will not change this and will not help your case move faster.

Why is my resettlement process taking so long?

Resettlement is a time-consuming process for all the persons concerned. Processing times vary from country to country, due to different immigration laws, priorities and resources, and are as such very hard to predict. Issues such as birth, marriage, pregnancy, divorce and custody, registration, deaths have to be properly assessed and resolved before resettlement can happen.

On the country of resettlement

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 as 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 your case again, to the country of your choice.

Specific resettlement-related scenarios

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 +603 2141 5846 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.

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 could 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.