Getting Started

Resettlement is a vital durable solution for many refugees around the world. It offers protection and a new beginning to tens of thousands of men, women and children, who have suffered persecution. Resettlement is a complex and ongoing process, which does not end when a refugee arrives in the resettlement country. On the contrary, that is just the start of the integration process.

While UNHCR’s Resettlement Handbook articulates policy and procedures for identifying and documenting refugees in need of resettlement, it does not discuss reception and integration of refugees in countries of resettlement. This Handbook has been developed as both a planning and professional development resource for those with responsibility for, or an interest in, planning, promoting, developing, implementing and monitoring programs and strategies to facilitate the integration of resettled refugees. The Handbook has been written with a broad audience in mind, recognising that refugee integration is typically a partnership of government, non-government organisations, refugees and wider communities.

Since the contexts in which refugees resettle are extremely diverse, this should not be considered a ‘how to’ manual. Instead, it is intended to assist those who are developing programs for resettled refugees by sharing a wide range of global practices. The Handbook draws extensively on the experience of countries of resettlement and presents a number of specific ideas and approaches developed in these countries.  Alternative perspectives are presented, along with discussion about their costs and benefits. Readers are encouraged to evaluate the applicability of these approaches to their local environment.  Given that the global refugee population is both diverse and changing, the Handbook does not provide information on specific refugee groups.

The emphasis in the Handbook is on the integration of refugees offered resettlement through a formal program.  However, many of the ideas presented in it may also be useful in planning program responses for the integration of refugees arriving spontaneously.