When victims of war have found temporary asylum and become refugees, what will their life be like? Do the countries they settled in will process them to become their legal citizens? Or will other countries take them? What if their hometown's dispute is not going to be over any time soon?
The growing number of refugees across the world calls for an immediate protection. However, neighbouring countries, to which the refugees seek asylum, cannot merely accept the refugees to permanently live in their country and become legally recognised citizens. Especially for the third world countries, “If we are still struggling to feed our own citizens, how can we feed others?”
Refugees’ main problems is that they are squeezed between their home country that is unsafe and their temporary asylum who doesn’t want them. They don’t have permission to work in foreign countries, so they rely on voluntary supplies to support their daily lives. Until now, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has these durable solutions to promote:
- Voluntary reparation
- Local integration
The solutions are combined and implemented simultaneously in cooperation with countries of origin, host States, third country, humanitarian and development actors and the refugees themselves. A durable concept ideally includes permanent settlement, whether in the country of origin or host country. However, refugees or former refugees are not always able to sustain him/herself in the host country and reintegration possibilities remain limited in the origin country. So, they have to move again.
In terms of resettlement, there is a long… long… way to go, from country selection to the migration itself. Receiving countries usually prioritise women and children or large families, leaving out male singles. Also, manipulation of background and vulnerability, both from the refugee chairmen or the refugees themselves, is also an issue. Some could make up stories, hide violent past or faking rapes in order to be submitted for resettlement. The whole process could take between 18-24 months.
Once the refugees are migrated to the receiving country, they will get immediate orientation and integration to the new country. They will be provided with staff and medical escorts as well. But, after an agreed period, the refugees have to pay back a loan for their flight or transportation tickets which was provided by The International Organization for Migration (IOM). They will also have to start paying the rent and all, like common citizen. This means that within the small period of time, they have to readjust and find a stable income to sustain their lives.
The long process of selection, resettlement and adjustment do not always guarantee that every refugee will succeed. Some of them will end up living under the poverty line, struggling to provide for their needs because their skills may not fit for the host country’s industry or the hardships of getting hired due to their label as a refugee.
Read more about self-reliance and refugee economy here.
You can also help refugees becoming independent by supporting one of our communities, Artbox. It is an organisation started by refugees in Malaysia whose aim is to utilize fellow refugees’ art skills to support their livelihoods. Read more about their story here and check out their latest artwork and activities here.