Resettlement is a vital protection instrument and symbol of international solidarity. It is one of three durable solutions available for refugees, a lifeline for those who are unable to return to their country of origin for fear of continued persecution and are also not able to stay in the first country of asylum. Founded in 1951 to assist in the resettlement of Europeans displaced by World War II, IOM has provided services in support of refugee resettlement for over seven decades. 

In the European context, relocation is the transfer of people seeking international protection from one EU Member State to another EU Member or Associated State where their asylum application will be examined once the relocation has taken place. Relocation is an expression of solidarity and responsibility sharing, particularly with Member States at external EU borders.  

IOM’s Approach 

The safe and dignified resettlement of refugees requires a comprehensive, humane, and protection-oriented approach – one which recognizes the interdependencies of travel, health and integration as integral components of the resettlement process. 

To prepare refugees for resettlement and to prepare States to receive them, IOM works closely with governments on the design and implementation of their resettlement programmes. At the earliest opportunity prior to departure, it is critical that refugees are being provided with timely and accurate information on the receiving country and to guarantee necessary arrangements are in place for their safe travel. Receiving communities need to be sufficiently prepared to ensure meaningful integration.

Similar principles apply to relocation schemes in the European context. Between 2015 and 2018, IOM provided pre-departure and movement assistance to more than 35,500 persons in need of international protection relocated from Italy and Greece to 25 EU Member and Associated States. Some EU Member and Associated States have continued to contribute towards enhanced solidarity within the European context through the relocation of applicants of international protection. IOM continues to extend its support to those states and facilitates the pre-departure and movement management aspects of the beneficiaries’ relocation. 

For more information, please visit

Resettlement & Relocation in Austria

While there are currently no activities implemented for resettling refugees seeking international protection to Austria, IOM Austria’s Movement Operations arranges travel by scheduled commercial air service or charter flights and provides airport assistance at Vienna International Airport for refugees being resettled from countries in the European Economic Area as well as the Eurasia region to receiving countries, including the United States of America and Canada.

IOM supported the Austrian Government in their commitment to voluntarily transfer affected persons fleeing the war in Ukraine, especially those in vulnerable situations and with medical needs, from neighbouring States, such as Poland and Republic of Moldova. During pre-departure health activities, beneficiaries’ medical needs were addressed for follow-up after arrival in Austria before safe and protection-oriented transfers were facilitated.   


Kathleen Nitzsche
Head of Operations and Resettlement Focal Point

International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Country Office for Austria
Nibelungengasse 13/4
1010 Vienna

Tel: +43 1 585 33 22 16



Completed Project

Humanitarian Admission Programme for Syrian Refugees 

From 2013 until the end of 2017, Austria implemented a Humanitarian Admission Program (HAP) for Syrian Refugees. This project was developed as direct assistance to refuges from the Syrian Arab Republic in crisis region and was implemented independently from regular asylum procedures.

The overarching goal of the HAP was to support the Syrian Arab Republic's neighbouring states and to manifest the international community’s solidarity. The most important target group of the HAP encompasses particularly vulnerable cases, in particular women and children, torture survivors as well as persecuted minorities, such as Christians. 

During the implementation a total of 1,900 refugees from the Syrian Arab Republic were admitted to and arrived in Austria, mainly from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Republic of Lebanon and the Republic of Türkiye. The program was implemented by IOM in cooperation with the Austrian Ministry of the Interior, the Federal Office for Asylum and Immigration, the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UNHCR and the Resettlement working group composed of NGOs mandated to support the integration of the refugees. 

In the frame of the cultural orientation trainings, a brochure in Arabic was handed out to AUCO participants. Please also find the German version here.

Resettlement in Austria

AUCO - Austrian Cultural Orientation Trainings for Syrian Refugees


This project was financed by the European Commission, the Austrian Ministry of the Interior and the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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