April 21, 2021

A Look at the Process of Refugee Resettlement

Catholic Community Services is one of two refugee resettlement agencies in Salt Lake City.

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), resettlement is defined as “the careful selection by governments for the purpose of lawful admission of the most vulnerable refugees who can neither return to their home country nor live in safety in neighboring host countries.”

On average, it takes two years for a person to be granted refugee status and resettled. But how exactly does a refugee become resettled in the United States?

The resettlement process begins with the UNHCR. Very few refugees are ever even considered for resettlement. Refugees who will need resettlement are identified by UNHCR based on their vulnerabilities and specific needs. All refugees who are identified for resettlement must fit at least one vulnerability category, some of which include those with medical needs, at risk children, survivors of violence or torture, and at-risk women and girls.

The UNHCR then assesses each case individually. At this point all background information is gathered and submitted to the United States to be considered for resettlement.

After receiving a referral, the U.S. government intelligence agencies and Resettlement Support Centers run background checks and security clearance processes. Following that process, the Department of Homeland Security conducts in person interviews to determine if the applicant qualifies for resettlement. Pre-approved applicants then undergo a medical screening to ensure they do not have any communicable diseases.

Finally, approved applicants are placed with non-governmental organizations. These organizations, such as Catholic Community Services, assist the refugees upon arrival to the States. Refugees are assisted with integration to life in a new culture and provided with support as they strive to reach self-sufficiency.

Catholic Community Services’ Refugee Resettlement and Refugee Foster Care programs have helped resettle thousands of refugees in Utah since being established in the 1970s. In an effort to help clients acclimate to life in the United States, our experienced staff offers a variety of services including case management, job placement, health services, interpretation, transportation, housing, food assistance, and more.

As we continue to celebrate World Refugee Month, join us in aiding refugees settling into life in their new country of residence.




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