Many refugees are unable to go home because of continued conflict, persecution or war. Many also have specific needs and vulnerabilities that cannot be addressed in the country where they have sought protection. Aimed at addressing such circumstances, refugee resettlement is the transfer of refugees from an asylum country to another state that has agreed to admit them and ultimately grant them permanent residence. As such, resettlement is an essential tool to meet the international protection needs of particularly vulnerable refugees.

Upon request by Finland, Iceland and Sweden, and in close cooperation with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), IOM supports the resettlement and admission of vulnerable refugees by:

  • Facilitating selection missions: IOM provides logistical support to Finnish, Icelandic and Swedish authorities when they visit countries of first asylum in order to interview and select refugees for resettlement.
  • Pre-migration health activities and health assistance during the travel ensure that refugees’ health needs are addressed prior to departure, that they are fit to travel, and that appropriate arrangements can be made for reception and continuity of care, when needed.
  • Carrying out pre‑departure orientation/cultural orientation sessions, which aim to support refugees’ early integration in the receiving community. Read more here.
  • Implementing movement management and travel operations: To assist refugees in need of resettlement, IOM provides comprehensive movement assistance that includes in‑country and international transportation. While most refugees travel by scheduled commercial air service, certain operations need tailor‑made arrangements and the use of charter flights.
    Depending on the complexity of the route and the needs of the refugees, operational and/or medical escorts can be provided to support the beneficiaries during their travel. IOM’s well‑versed movement procedures, professional staff and its partnerships help to ensure smooth journeys, regardless of the departure and destination location.

IOM’s resettlement programs to Finland, Iceland and Sweden are managed by IOM Finland and implemented in cooperation with IOM missions in refugees’ departure/transit countries.  Resettlement operations are also closely coordinated with the respective donors, such as the Finnish Immigration Service, the Ministry of Social Affairs of Iceland, and the Swedish Migration Agency.

EU Relocation

Relocation within the European Union enables those who requested asylum in one EU Member State to travel to another EU Member State, where their asylum application will be further processed. Relocation should not be confused with resettlement: the former serves those who have sought asylum (and have not yet received a decision on their application), whereas the latter assists beneficiaries whose international protection needs have been recognized already (refugees). Intra-EU relocation is an expression of internal EU solidarity and responsibility sharing. In particular, it supports those countries at the external borders of the European Union that are most affected by sudden increases in the arrival of persons who seek international protection.

IOM Finland assists with EU relocation cases when needed.

Family Reunification

The right to family life and unity is a fundamental right, yet migration – regrettably - frequently entails the separation of families for shorter or longer periods of time; for example, when individuals flee armed conflicts or other crises. IOM Finland assists in reuniting families in certain situations:

  1. Some beneficiaries are eligible for family reunification assistance under national legislation in Finland, Iceland and Sweden. Upon referral from authorities, IOM Finland coordinates pre-migration health activities and health assistance during the travel, as well as movement management and travel operations similar to what is available under resettlement programmes  to these countries.
  2. IOM may also be able to support family members who need to cover their own travel costs after receiving a residence permit based on family ties. Available support depends on the country of departure. Please contact IOM Finland for more information on possible support.

Please note: IOM Finland is unfortunately not able to assist with the application process for family reunification, nor to provide financial support for expenses related to family reunification.

Contact Details
  • Visiting address: Unioninkatu 13, 6th floor
    00130 Helsinki
  • Visiting hours:
    Tue–Thu 10–12 AM
  • Email: mvmtopshelsinki_Finland@iom.int
  • Phone number: +358 684 11 50