COVID-19, Suspension of resettlement travel by IOM and UNHCR
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Suspension of resettlement travel by IOM and UNHCR

Austin Campbell

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UNHCR and IOM in COVID-19

Canada had decided to return all irregular migrants to the United States in the wake of the pandemic. The suspension of resettlement has been announced, and it is bound to affect Canada’s refugee intake. Countries across the globe have resorted to many drastic measures in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and have imposed numerous international travel restrictions.

Countries are tightening their borders at the moment to prevent infections, and Canada is simply following the norm at this point. However, permanent residents, Canadians, and their immediate family members will still be able to return to the country. Moreover, the country has also granted permission to study and work permit holders to return to Canada.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), along with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), has decided to take steps that will suspend resettlement journeys for refugees at the moment. The organizations fear that the refugees could risk exposure to the virus unless resettlement travel is suspended.

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Role of Resettlement:

The UNHCR helped with the resettlement of around 63,600 refugees last year, many of whom came from Syria. Resettlement is the process of transferring refugees to a state that promises them permanent settlement from a state that has given them asylum status. Canada is one of the countries that offer resettlement solutions via the UNHCR programme.

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The UN Refugee Agency asserted that resettlement has proved to be an important lifeline for vulnerable refugees. Both the IOM and UNHCR plan to keep working in the refugee-hosting countries so that the processing of cases can continue. However, a large number of countries have suspended refugee intake as well as resettlement arrivals for now, as specified by the UNHCR. At the moment, the UNHCR and IOM are appealing to countries to allow refugees at risk to enter the country under extreme circumstances.

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