Coronavirus: Temporary suspension of resettlement and HAP admissions

IOM and UNHCR inform about the current situation

In a recent press release, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) inform about the temporary suspension of resettlement travel for especially vulnerable refugees. This also applies to the admission of people through the German Humanitarian Admission Programs (HAP). The suspension was confirmed by a spokesman of the German Federal Ministry of the Interior.

The reason for the temporary entry stop is the global health crisis caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Furthermore, on March 17th, the European Union (EU) decided to restrict entries of non-EU citizens to the EU for 30 days. This restiction has a direct impact on the situation of especially vulnerable refugees who have already been prepared for relocation or who are still waiting for it. According to UNHCR, there is a worldwide need for 1.44 million resettlement places in 2020. Germany was planning to participate in the 2020 resettlement program by providing up to 5,500 places.

According to IOM and UNHCR, the suspension will only last as long as it is absolutely essential. Please find more detailed information in the original press release.

Hamburg’s Archbishop Stefan Heße and Caritas President Dr. Peter Neher regret the suspension of the humanitarian admission procedures for refugees due to the corona crisis. Neher urges the German government to fulfill its international responsibility and support countries of first asylum in this exceptional situation.  Especially in overcrowded refugee camps, the provision of health care is extremely difficult, says Neher. He also welcomed the efforts to continue the evacuation of underage refugees from the Greek islands.

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Photo: UNHCR/Jehad Nga