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Resettlement is a process that enables refugees to relocate to another country with a legal status ensuring international protection and ultimately permanent residence. It is a unique opportunity, offering individuals and families a meaningful chance to rebuild their lives in an environment where their rights are protected from day one, and where access to naturalization and citizenship promise an end to years of displacement.

Depending on the operational context, resettlement may be primarily implemented as a response to individual protection needs, or as a mechanism to achieve broader strategic protection and durable solutions goals for particular groups or populations.

As well as being a tool for protection and solutions, resettlement is also a practical way for countries to demonstrate solidarity with host communities who assume the greatest share of responsibility for protecting refugees.

Global resettlement needs continue to exceed the opportunities available each year. As such, UNHCR relies on robust internal processes, data management and cooperation with local partners to identify those refugees most at risk in an equitable, consistent and timely manner, based on protection needs. This involves a careful consideration of a refugee’s circumstances in the country where they sought protection, including their access to a secure legal status, freedom of movement and the labour market, as well as to services such as education, healthcare, police, justice, civil documentation, and family reunification.

Over the last decade, numerous policy, strategy and technical developments within UNHCR have led to changes in the way we identify and process cases for resettlement. The present Handbook updates and consolidates resettlement guidance in alignment with these developments, which span child protection, accountability to refugees, data protection, anti-fraud and integrity, diverse case processing modalities, and the use of proGres.

This Handbook is a comprehensive repository for resettlement standards, procedures and best practice, and will be updated over time to ensure it continues to reflect UNHCR policy and practice in the years ahead. The Resettlement Handbook is complemented by other RCPS guidance products, notably the Integration Handbook for Resettled Refugees as well as UNHCR guidance and resources on family reunification, labour mobility and education pathways for admission to third countries.