Flexible funding of resettlement in 2022

15 June 2023

In 2022, almost half of the $122 million that UNHCR spent on resettlement and complementary pathways was made possible by flexible funding. So-called “third country solutions” are a vital way for vulnerable refugees to resume a normal life in safety and dignity, thanks to countries that offer places for them. Financial support to resettlement showed how earmarked and flexible funding combined together; how both types of funding are essential for our programmes, including core protection ones; but also how there is never enough of any kind of funding.

Resettlement was heavily impacted by the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, but in 2022, thanks in large part to flexible funding, UNHCR was able to submit 116,481 refugees to 25 States for consideration, an 84% increase over 2021. During the year, almost 58,500 refugees departed on resettlement with UNHCR’s help. They included people who had been forced to flee from violence and conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Myanmar and elsewhere. But the potential for resettlement that can take place with UNHCR’s support is far higher. There are almost 1.5 million people needing resettlement, and States are offering an increasing number of places for vulnerable refugees. In 2022, the top countries of resettlement were the United States, Canada, Germany, Sweden, France and Australia.

The largest allocation of flexible funding went to UNHCR’s operation in Pakistan, which was able to raise its target for resettlement submissions from less than 50 in 2021 to 3,500 in 2022, submitting a total of 3,504 refugees as candidates for submission to eight countries: Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. UNHCR also piloted a project with Talent Beyond Boundaries to support skilled refugees who may qualify to migrate under labour mobility schemes, primarily to Australia or Canada. UNHCR also worked with the International Refugee Assistance Project to facilitate family reunifications. 

Other operations receiving large allocations of flexible funding included the Islamic Republic of Iran, El Salvador and Bangladesh where, as a pilot initiative, Rohingya refugees were submitted to Canada, Sweden and the United States for resettlement.