Resettlement and family reunification departures

Turkey

Country Report: Resettlement and family reunification departures Last updated: 31/05/21

Author

Independent

The general procedure

DGMM pre-identifies cases for resettlement consideration among the registered temporary protection caseload through the PDMM and makes referrals to UNHCR in lists. When UNHCR identifies the applicants most in need of resettlement from these lists, it presents them to third countries.

The final decision is taken by the third countries. They examine the files and decide whether to accept the relevant applicants, especially after conducting security checks. IOM organises the implementation of health checks, the preparation of travel documents and the cultural orientation of those accepted for resettlement.

Departure of temporary protection beneficiaries to third countries for the purpose of resettlement is subject to the permission of DGMM.[1] A so-called “exit permission” must be issued in order for a beneficiary to be allowed to exit Turkey to a third country either for the purpose of a temporary visit or on a permanent basis for the purpose of resettlement.

The same exit permission requirement also applies to temporary protection beneficiaries in the process of departing from Turkey for the purpose of family reunification with family members in third countries. Syrians seeking a family reunification departure from Turkey must first register with DGMM as a temporary protection beneficiary before they can subsequently request and obtain an “exit permission” to leave Turkey to a third country.[2] IOM also supports the process for family reunification departures to Germany.[3]

In practice, however, certain profiles of temporary protection beneficiaries are issued a “V91” code referring to “temporary protection holders in need of exit permission” (Ulkemizden Çıkışı Izne Tabi Geçici Koruma Kapasamındaki Yabancı) and which prevent them from exiting Turkey. “V91” codes are usually issued to highly qualified Syrians.

According to DGMM statistics, a total of 16,902 Syrians had been transferred to third countries between 2014 and 1 April 2021, mainly to Canada, the US, the UK and Norway.[4] All resettlement from Turkey was suspended in early 2020, including German and Turkey’s bilateral agreement on the readmission of refugees, due to the Corona Virus.  The COVID-19 situation significantly affected the processing for resettlement; however remote interviewing measures were set in place in five locations across Turkey, in cooperation with DGMM, allowing interviews, which were suspended from March to June to gradually resume. The pandemic also affected resettlement departures because of the global pause of international flights between March and September.

The 1:1 resettlement scheme

The EU-Turkey statement of 18 March 2016 established a specific resettlement procedure (“1:1 scheme”), under which one Syrian national would be resettled from Turkey to EU Member States for each Syrian national returned from Greece to Turkey, taking into account the UN vulnerability criteria.[5]

In practice, participation in resettlement may vary from one region to another. For example, while temporary protection beneficiaries residing in Istanbul and Izmir may generally be interested in resettlement under the 1:1 scheme, this is not an option pursued by people living in Gaziantep or Hatay.

As of 1 April 2021, the following numbers of refugees had been resettled to the EU under the 1:1 scheme:

Resettlement of Syrian refugees under 1:1 scheme
Country of destination Number of resettled persons: 1 April 2021
Germany 10,338
France 4,779
Netherlands 4,712
Finland 2,207
Sweden 2,171
Belgium 1,519
Spain 754
Italy 396
Portugal 353
Croatia 250
Austria 213
Luxembourg 206
Lithuania 102
Bulgaria 85
Romania 68
Estonia 59
Latvia 46
Slovenia 34
Denmark 31
Malta 17
Total 28,340

Source DGMM, Temporary protection, 1 April 2021: https://bit.ly/3wKyP0K.

From 2016 up until 1 April 2021, a total of 28,340 Syrians had been resettled to the EU. 2,422 of them were resettled in the EU in 2020. Resettlement procedures were suspended from March until July 2020 in the context of COVID-19, although Portugal continued to accept some resettled refugees during the pandemic.[6] EU countries receive 10,000 EUR per resettled refugee.

Frontex registered a 46% increase in migrants arriving from Turkey in 2019, despite the deal with the EU to curb migrant influx into the bloc.[7] The situation became extremely tense in February and March 2020 after an escalation of tensions in north eastern Syria. Turkish President Erdogan ‘opened the gates’ between Turkey and the EU, saying amongst other things that Turkey could not cope with another mass influx of refugees from Syria. This led to Greece closing its border, criticisms of both Europe and Turkey’s handling of the situation and concerns for the human rights of migrants and refugees in the middle.[8] Overall, the number of arrivals from Turkey went down in 2020. The number of attempted entries via the Eastern Mediterranean, which mainly involves crossings from Turkey to the Greek islands, dropped by three-quarters to around 20,000.[9]

 

 

[1]           Article 44 TPR.

[2]           Information provided by the International Refugee Rights Association, February 2019.

[3]           IOM, Göç ve Entegrasyon, available in Turkish at: https://bit.ly/2uwAnfM.

[4]           DGMM statistics, available at: https://bit.ly/3wKyP0K.   

[5]           Council of the European Union, EU-Turkey statement, 18 March 2016, para 2.

[6]           Information provided by a stakeholder, March 2021.

[7]           Info Migrants, ‘EU border agency: Spike in border arrivals from Turkey’, 20 January 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/39qiKQV

[8]           ECRE, Statement on the situation on the Greek Turkish border, 3 March 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/2QVyzJ2.

[9]           See the Daily Sabah, ‘Migrant entries into EU hit 7-year low in 2020’, 8 January 2021. Available at: https://bit.ly/2SFHKRs.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of main changes since the previous report update
  • Introduction to the asylum context in Turkey
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • Temporary Protection Regime
  • Content of Temporary Protection