UNHCR’s Resettlement Processes Under COVID-19 Restrictions

Monday / 20 September 2021

Due to measures to stop the spread of Covid-19, including travel restrictions, resettlement processing and departures have been negatively impacted globally, including in Malaysia.

  • In response to Movement Control Orders and public health advice provided by the Government of Malaysia, most UNHCR services, including resettlement, are carried out remotely (via telephone or video call) to protect the health of refugees as well as UNHCR personnel.
  • International travel has been heavily impacted by COVID-19, affecting the departure of accepted refugees, including those in Malaysia.
  • While these changes have resulted in remote interviews, resettlement eligibility criteria and processes remain the same.
    1. Resettlement is not a right. Registration and/ or granting of refugee status by UNHCR does not mean an individual will be referred for resettlement.
    2. Resettlement remains a protection tool for highly vulnerable refugees. Identification of potential resettlement cases will continue to be based on individual protection needs.
    3. The submission of a case for resettlement consideration is contingent on many factors, including the severity of individual protection needs, the protection environment, the position of the host country, and the availability of resettlement places.
  • If your case is preliminarily identified for resettlement, the Durable Solutions Unit (DSU) may contact you by telephone if additional information is required to complete a resettlement processing eligibility assessment.

Resettlement Interview

If your case is found to be eligible for resettlement processing, you will be invited to a remote interview. In principle, all interviews take place online or via telephone except for very exceptional circumstances that require an onsite interview at UNHCR, COVID permitting. During this call, you can let the Durable Solutions Unit know if you do not wish to proceed with a remote interview. It will not affect the outcome of UNHCR’s consideration of your case for resettlement processing. However, it may cause delays, as face-to-face interviews can be resumed only when the UNHCR office re-opens.

During the remote resettlement interview, the UNHCR staff member will brief you on the purpose of the call and an overview of the resettlement process. He/ she will also ascertain if you are in a safe space where your privacy and confidentiality is protected. Guidance will be provided if there is a need for you to submit your documentation to UNHCR.

Please do not record your audio or video remote resettlement interview. This would be a breach of confidentiality and will be viewed seriously by UNHCR.

After the Resettlement Interview with UNHCR

After the resettlement interview, your case will be carefully reviewed and a decision will be made on whether it will be submitted to a resettlement country for their consideration.

If you already had a resettlement interview with UNHCR and have questions or wish to update information, e.g. changes in family composition / circumstances, please send an e-mail to mlsludsu@unhcr.org

If your case is submitted for resettlement, either the Durable Solutions Unit or the resettlement country will contact you to provide you with information on your resettlement case.

It is resettlement countries that ultimately decide whether or not to grant resettlement according to their policies and laws.

If you have not been contacted after 6 months from your resettlement interview, please send an e-mail to mlsludsu@unhcr.org. Given the large volume of emails received, UNHCR is not able to individually respond to all queries. Please do not send the same query multiple times to UNHCR. It will further delay processing.

If Your Case Has Been Submitted to the US or Canada

If your case has been submitted to the United States of America, you can check your case status with the Resettlement Support Center (RSC) via e-mail (KL.Inquiries@rescue.org), telephone (+603 2141 5846), fax (+603 2144 8716) or their web portal, CASI.

If your case has been submitted to Canada, you can check your case status using Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s web form.

Pre-Departure Arrangements and Travel to a Resettlement Country

Many countries continue to apply travel restrictions to limit the entry of non-nationals due to the pandemic. As well, additional medical screening measures for entry have been put in place by countries to manage the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak. While a small number of accepted refugees have been able to travel to resettlement countries, there are currently long delays for departure around the world. Resettlement countries remain committed to receiving refugees and it is expected that international travel will gradually resume when the pandemic subsides.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) organizes necessary pre-departure arrangements, including medical screening and cultural orientation, as well as travel arrangements for accepted refugees to the resettlement country . If you have been accepted by a resettlement country, IOM will contact you once the travel instruction is ready. If you have been accepted for resettlement and have a question about your pre-departure arrangements or travel, you can contact IOM Kuala Lumpur at iomkulinq@iom.int or contact +603 923 5540.

Please Inform UNHCR If You Change Your Phone Number or Address

Do not forget to inform UNHCR when you change your mobile phone number or address. It will allow UNHCR to reach you when necessary and to process referrals without further delays.

IMPORTANT: All UNHCR Services are Free of Charge.

Do not trust any person or organization asking you to pay for services and assistance provided by UNHCR or its partners, including for resettlement. If you are asked for money or any other favours, including of a sexual nature, in exchange for UNHCR services, please report it immediately to UNHCR.

UNHCR Kuala Lumpur: mlslufrd@unhcr.org
Inspector General’s Office (IGO): inspector@unhcr.org
All reports/complaints will be treated confidentially. You can also click here to submit an online complaint (fraud and corruption).