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European Commission - Fact Sheet

Establishing an EU Resettlement Framework: Frequently asked questions

Brussels, 13 July 2016

Why is the Commission proposing an EU Resettlement Framework?

The aim of the proposal is to establish a common European policy on resettlement by providing for a permanent framework with a unified procedure for resettlement across the EU. The EU Resettlement Framework will channel EU financial support towards a structured framework based on a common approach and procedures and away from the current ad hoc multilateral and national resettlement initiatives. While the Member States will remain the ones deciding on how many people will be resettled each year, by coordinating national efforts and acting as a whole, the EU will have a greater impact and will be able to contribute collectively and with one single voice to global resettlement efforts.

Resettlement is an integral part of the larger objective to establish a robust and effective European approach for sustainable migration management. Providing safe and legal pathways to the EU for persons in need of international protection will contribute to reducing irregular migration and help breaking the business model of smuggling networks. It is also a concrete demonstration of international solidarity and responsibility sharing with those countries to which or within which a large number of persons in need of international protection has been displaced.

What common EU rules does the proposal foresee?

The proposal provides common EU rules for:

  • The admission of third country nationals through resettlement;

  • The procedures governing all stages of the resettlement process;

  • The types of status to be accorded to resettled persons by Member States;

  • The decision making procedures for the implementation of the framework;

  • The financial support for the Member States' resettlement efforts within the EU resettlement framework.

How will the new scheme be implemented?

The new EU resettlement framework will be implemented through an annual EU resettlement plan and operationalised by one or more targeted EU resettlement schemes.

The annual EU resettlement plan, adopted by the Council on a proposal from the Commission, determines the maximum total number of persons to be resettled based on the participation and contributions made by the Member States to the total number of persons to be resettled. The annual plan should also indicate the overall geographical priorities for resettlement. Given that resettlement will be supported by the EU budget, the proposal foresees that the Commission presents its proposal for the annual EU resettlement plan together with its proposal on the draft EU annual budget. The Council should be able to react quickly and adopt an implementing act within two months.

As soon as possible after the adoption of the annual EU resettlement plan by the Council, the Commission establishes each year one or more targeted EU resettlement schemes to operationalise the EU resettlement plan.

For each targeted EU resettlement scheme, the Commission will set the precise number out of the total number of persons to be resettled from a concrete third country or geographical region and details about the participation of the Member States consistent with the annual EU resettlement plan. The scheme will also include a description of the target group(s) of persons to be resettled and specify a geographical area covering one or more third countries from which resettlement will take place. The starting date and duration of each targeted EU resettlement scheme will also be specified as well as which resettlement procedure will apply. An ordinary procedure should be seen as the norm, unless an expedited procedure is warranted on humanitarian grounds or in case of urgent legal or physical protection needs.

Does the proposal contain a distribution key?

No, the maximum total number of persons to be resettled to the EU every year within the EU resettlement framework will be set by the Council in the annual EU resettlement plan. The Member States remain the ones deciding on how many people they will resettle each year. When discussing the annual resettlement plan or targeted EU resettlement schemes, the Commission and the Council should take into account the discussions within the High-Level Resettlement Committee, composed of representatives of the EU Institutions and Member States. The Associated States, the EU Asylum Agency, UNHCR and IOM can also be invited to join the Committee.

How will the annual EU resettlement plan and the targeted EU resettlement schemes be adopted?

The Council adopts annual EU resettlement plans through an implementing act on the basis of a proposal from the Commission. The Commission adopts targeted EU resettlement schemes through Commission implementing acts.

How will the resettlement procedure work step-by-step?

The EU Resettlement Framework will allow for two types of standard resettlement procedures: an ordinary or an expedited resettlement procedure. Both procedures will consist of the following four stages: identification, registration, assessment and decision.

Member States are responsible for identifying the persons to be resettled. The identification can be made either through a referral by the UNHCR, or where applicable, the new EU Asylum Agency (currently EASO) or relevant international bodies, or by the Member States themselves. After registering the third-country nationals and stateless persons for whom they intend to conduct the resettlement procedure, Member States will assess whether these persons meet the eligibility criteria and whether they are not excluded in accordance with exclusion grounds. Under the ordinary procedure, in the case of a positive decision Member States will grant to the persons to be resettled a refugee status or a subsidiary protection status. Under the expedite procedure, after the admission to the resettling Member State, the person to be resettled will apply for international protection, and follow the asylum procedure as stipulated by the EU asylum law. Member States will make all arrangements necessary for the departure of the third-country nationals and, with a view to facilitating a rapid, smooth, and effective integration into the host society, offer a pre-departure orientation programme.

Who can qualify for resettlement and how will persons eligible for resettlement be identified?

The possibility for resettlement under the new EU Resettlement Framework is foreseen for third-country nationals and stateless persons who are in need of international protection and have been displaced to a third country or within their own country due to a well-founded fear of persecution or due to substantial grounds for believing that they would face a real risk of suffering serious harm.

Persons falling within at least one of the following vulnerability categories are eligible: women and girls at risk, children and adolescents at risk, including unaccompanied children, survivors of violence and/or torture, including on the basis of gender, persons with medical needs or disabilities, persons with legal and/or physical protection needs, and persons with socio-economic vulnerability. Persons with family links to third-country nationals or stateless persons or EU citizens legally residing in a Member State or who are dependent on them are also eligible.

What are the grounds for exclusion from resettlement under the EU Resettlement Framework?

Persons who have irregularly entered, irregularly stayed in, or attempted to irregularly enter the territory of a Member States during the last five years prior to resettlement will be excluded from participation in the EU Resettlement Framework.

Exclusion also applies to third-country nationals and stateless persons whom a Member State has, during the last five years prior to resettlement, refused to resettle.

Persons will also be excluded from resettlement on the basis of the security criteria set out in the Regulation, notably persons for whom there are reasonable grounds for considering that they: have committed a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity; a serious crime; are a danger to the community, public policy or security.

What are the criteria for determining the priority countries or regions of resettlement?

The EU will seek partnerships with key third countries of origin and transit through a coherent and tailored engagement where the EU and its Member States act in a coordinated manner, as announced in the Commission Communication on Establishing a new Partnership Framework with third countries under the European Agenda on Migration.

For each targeted resettlement scheme, the Commission will list a specific geographical area covering one or more third countries from which resettlement will take place, taking into account the annual EU resettlement plan. When doing so, the Commission will take into account:

  • The number of persons in need of international protection displaced to or within a third country and migratory flows of such persons to the Member States;

  • Complementarity with financial and technical assistance provided to third countries to which or within which persons in need of international protection have been displaced;

  • The EU's overall relations with third countries;

  • Ongoing resettlement efforts worldwide.

What is the difference between the ordinary and the expedited procedure?

The EU Resettlement Framework will allow for two types of standard resettlement procedures: an ordinary or an expedited resettlement procedure.

The ordinary resettlement procedure reflects the resettlement standards and practices usually followed by Member States. It includes a full assessment of qualification for international protection in the third country and foresees that Member States grant refugee status or subsidiary protection status to the resettled person. The procedure should be conducted as soon as possible and within eight months after Member States have registered the third-country nationals or stateless persons concerned. For complex cases, this period may be extended by four months.

The expedited resettlement procedure reflects the approach agreed in the Standard Operating Procedures for the resettlement of Syrians from Turkey under the EU-Turkey Statement. This procedure is foreseen in cases where there are specific humanitarian grounds or urgent legal or physical protection needs. The resettlement procedure should be conducted within four months of the registration. For complex cases, the period may be extended by two months. The assessment of the international protection needs under the expedited resettlement procedure will be limited to an assessment of the eligibility for subsidiary protection without assessing a qualification for a refugee status.

The same level of security checks should be conducted for both types of procedure.

How can the EU Resettlement Framework contribute to increasing resettlement to Europe?

The proposal provides for a more stable collective framework for resettlement in the EU by reducing divergences among the national resettlement practices and procedures. A common stable and reliable resettlement framework, supported through EU funding, will help to gradually scale up Member States' resettlement efforts.

Will all EU Member States participate in the Resettlement Framework?

The participation of Member States will be decided by the Council for each annual EU resettlement plan together with the contribution of each Member State to the maximum overall number. The UK and Ireland may take part in the implementation of the Regulation if they choose to do so, in accordance with the relevant Protocols attached to the Treaties. Denmark is not taking part in the adoption of this Regulation and is not bound by it or subject to its application. The Associated States will be invited to participate.

Are applications for asylum lodged before or after the departure of the resettled person?

Persons eligible for resettlement do not apply for asylum as part of the resettlement procedure. In case of a positive outcome of the resettlement procedure under the ordinary procedure, they will be granted an international protection status (either refugee or subsidiary protection status) as part of the resettlement procedure prior to their admission to the territory of the resettling Member State.

Persons admitted via the expedited resettlement procedure, for whom no full refugee qualification assessment has been made, will be able to apply for international protection upon their admission to the resettling Member State. The resettling Member State will be responsible for the examination of such applications.

What about the family members of resettled refugees?

Member States must ensure that the family unity of persons being resettled is maintained. This means that close family members will be resettled together.

How will the EU resettlement schemes be financed?

The EU resettlement schemes will be funded through the EU's Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). Member States taking part in this fund will be entitled to a lump sum of €10,000 for each person they resettle under this scheme, regardless of which resettlement procedure is followed. When the Commission proposes a Council implementing act establishing the annual Union resettlement plan, it will also adopt a proposal on the draft Union annual budget including the resources for the implementation of the annual Union resettlement plan for that year.

Will the proposed Framework replace the EU-wide approach from 20 July 2015, the 1:1 scheme and the voluntary humanitarian admission scheme with Turkey?

The proposal builds on the current EU resettlement initiatives, as well as the ongoing national resettlement schemes. It sets out a more structured and common approach to resettlement for the future.

Can Member States still have their national resettlement schemes?

Yes. Member States may still adopt or implement national resettlement schemes, but these schemes should not jeopardise the attainment of the EU objectives set out in this proposal. For example, through their national schemes Member States will be able to contribute an additional number of resettlement places to the EU resettlement schemes, going beyond their agreed contribution.

Can the national resettlement schemes still be financed by EU funding?

EU funding will only be provided to Member States when resettling through the EU Resettlement Framework. Resettlements under national resettlement schemes outside of this framework will not be supported financially from the EU budget.

For more information

Press release: Enhancing legal channels: Commission proposes to create common EU Resettlement Framework

Regulation establishing a Union Resettlement Framework and amending Regulation (EU) No 516/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council

Press release: Completing the reform of the Common European Asylum System: Towards an efficient, fair and humane asylum policy

Frequently asked questions: Reforming the Common European Asylum System

FACTSHEET - Asylum procedures: reforming the Common European Asylum System

FACTHSEET - Qualification: Reforming the Common European Asylum System

FACTSHEET - Reception Conditions: reforming the Common European Asylum System

MEMO/16/2437

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