6/20/2024
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Record high OECD country permits for refugees: Work, study, family reunification on the rise


Monday May 13, 2024



Solange (left), a Cameroonian refugee living in France, is reunited with her daughter Fabienne (right) in Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport in 2021 after three years of separation. © UNHCR/Josselin Brémaud

Nairobi (HOL)  — A recent study has shown a significant rise in the number of study, work, and family reunification permits issued to refugees in OECD countries. The “Safe Pathways for Refugees” report, co-produced by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), revealed a 38% increase in 2022 compared to the previous year.

In 2022, approximately 215,000 permits were issued to individuals displaced by conflicts and crises in 37 OECD countries and Brazil. This marks a substantial increase from 156,000 in 2021 and 127,000 in 2020, exceeding pre-pandemic figures and setting a new record since 2017.

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Ruven Menikdiwela, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, highlighted the urgent need for collaborative efforts.
 "With the continuous rise in global displacement, countries must collaborate to offer protection and enable refugees to integrate and contribute to their new communities effectively,Menikdiwela said.

The data focuses on refugees from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and Venezuela. Over 50% of all permits issued in 2022 were for family reunification, emphasizing the ongoing commitment to upholding family unity as a fundamental human right, according to Menikdiwela.

The report also details governmental and partner efforts to improve refugees' access to safe and lawful pathways. These measures are part of a broader initiative, the "Roadmap 2030,which targets the admission of 2.1 million refugees through various pathways by 2030. Currently, this plan has achieved 35% of its goal, significantly propelled by the progress made in 2022.

Additionally, at the Global Refugee Forum in December 2023, various countries and stakeholders pledged to expand these pathways, including efforts to enhance family reunification services, the issuance of refugee travel documents, and sponsorship programs.

However, challenges persist, including high relocation costs, strict documentation requirements, and the non-recognition of foreign qualifications. The UNHCR is advocating for improvements in these areas to facilitate easier transitions for refugees.

The agency is also pushing for better data collection practices to more accurately understand refugees' movement patterns and inform policy-making that supports their inclusion in regular migration streams.

With over 100 million people forcibly displaced worldwide, the "Safe Pathways for Refugeesreport highlights both the strides made and the significant efforts required to integrate refugees effectively into global societies.



 





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