Refugee Resettlement Programme

The Refugee Resettlement Programme seeks to provide movement assistance to refugees accepted for third country resettlement. The transportation of migrants and the related processing activities are central to IOM’s operational functions.

IOM Kenya is the resettlement hub for Africa. The mission provides coordination and assistance for resettlement activities in Sub-Saharan Africa. The IOM office in Nairobi functions as an interface between IOM field missions and resettlement partners including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and various Governments which receive refugees, family reunification cases and other migrants.

In instances where refugees cannot return to their home countries, or when integration into the host country is not considered feasible, refugees may be eligible for resettlement to a third country. IOM Nairobi facilitates resettlement from Kenya, Burundi, Somalia, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea, to a number of countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and over 10 European countries, under Government sponsored resettlement projects

The largest resettlement programme managed by IOM Kenya is the United States Refugee Admissions Programme (USRAP). The USRAP is administered by the Government of the United States through Resettlement Support Centres (RSC) in different parts of the world.

From time to time, IOM is requested to facilitate the movement of refugees from one refugee camp to another.

The Resettlement Procedure

IOM provides health assessments, follow-up medical treatment, pre-departure orientation, in country transportation, international flights and escorts (as needed). This is done in close coordination with the relevant health, immigration, and embassy representatives of each resettlement country.

Each resettlement country has specific health checks that refugees must complete before they are resettled. To ensure that migrants are fit to travel, pre-departure health assessments are conducted. Escorts are provided for refugees who are not familiar with travel and medical escorts are provided for refugees who may require support or observation during travel. 

Movement assistance is also provided for:

  1. Stranded Migrants: IOM works with Governments and international agencies to support humanitarian emergency assistance to migrants who find themselves in tenuous situations.  IOM assesses the migrant’s health and provides medical care and a medical escort if necessary.  Basic provisions are also provided during transportation.
  2. Migrants travelling to re-unite with their families: IOM provides movement assistance, pre-departure orientation and pre-departure health assessments for migrants who have been approved to join their families or relatives abroad. To facilitate their movement, migrants may undergo health assessment as per the requirement of the receiving country, pre-departure orientation and finally depart to the country of destination. An important feature in family reunification is the preparation of migrants for their move to a new country through pre-departure health assessments as may be required by the host country. Most migrants travelling to re-unite with their families consit of refugees or asylum seekers who were already resettled before from East Africa. To facilitate their travel, IOM works closely with the Department of Immigration who issues exit permits. Although not a must under family reunification, cultural orientation may be provided as required by the host country, to better prepare the migrant into settling in their new community.
  3. Self-Paying Migrants: Self paying migrants (students, migrant visa holders, sponsored cases,etc) often choose IOM to arrange their travel as IOM has special fares with the airlines.


In Figures

  • 2016: 28,947 individuals resettled from Kenya.


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