The United Nations recognizes the International Organization for Migration as an essential contributor in the field of human mobility, protection of migrants, operational activities related to migrants, displaced people and migration-affected communities, including in the areas of resettlement and returns, and in mainstreaming migration in development plans.

Providing essential support to States resettling refugees and other humanitarian entrants is a fundamental purpose of the Organization and among its largest ongoing activities. Article 1 of the IOM Constitution mandates the Organization to “… concern itself with the organized transfer of refugees, displaced persons and other individuals in need of international migration services for whom arrangements may be made between the Organization and the States concerned, including those States undertaking to receive them.” (IOM Constitution)

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) defines resettlement as “the selection and transfer of refugees from a State in which they have sought protection to a third State which has agreed to admit them – as refugees – with permanent residence status". (UNHCR Resettlement Handbook)

Apart from being a tool for protection of and solutions for refugees, resettlement is also a tangible mechanism for burden- and responsibility-sharing and a demonstration of solidarity, allowing States to help share each other’s burdens and reduce the impact of large refugee situations on host countries. (Global Compact on Refugees)

IOM believes that safe and dignified resettlement of refugees and other humanitarian entrants requires a comprehensive, humane and protection-oriented approach - one which recognizes the interdependencies of travel, health and integration as essential components of the resettlement process. This holds true regardless of the type of scheme, the destination country or the profile of the migrants and refugees being assisted.

As part of its global contribution to migration management, IOM fosters refugee integration through comprehensive resettlement activities, which broadly fall under four areas:

  • Case management
  • Health assessments and related assistance
  • Movement management and operations
  • Addressing integration pre-departure and post-arrival


IOM supports refugees and counterparts across the resettlement continuum, from identification to integration, contributing to safe and dignified migration.