August 23, 2021

When Will Afghan Refugees Be Resettled in Utah?

As the world turns its attention to the humanitarian and refugee crisis in Afghanistan, it's important to understand the process each individual goes through before being granted refugee status and moving forward towards resettlement. 

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.

Knowing the timeline of the resettlement process, the best way to show your support to Afghan refugees currently is by donating. When clients are resettled, their need is great. You can play a part in making sure that they have what they need to begin their new chapter in the United States well. 

Whether you'd like to donate monetarily, through in-kind donations of furniture or household items, or through our Amazon Wishlist, there are plenty of ways to offer your support in this time as we await the arrival of Afghan refugees in Utah. Visit the links below to learn more.


Donate Online

In-Kind Donations

Amazon Wishlist