Resettlement and family reunification departures

Türkiye

Country Report: Resettlement and family reunification departures Last updated: 17/08/22

Author

Independent

The general procedure

PMM 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 PMM.[1] A so-called “exit permission” must be issued in order for a beneficiary to be allowed to exit Türkiye 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 Türkiye for the purpose of family reunification with family members in third countries. Syrians seeking a family reunification departure from Türkiye must first register with PMM as a temporary protection beneficiary before they can subsequently request and obtain an “exit permission” to leave Türkiye to a third country.[2] IOM supports the process for family reunification departures to Germany.[3]  In Türkiye, many refugees want to reunite with family members in Europe. IOM conducts family reunification interviews. Often a Syrian family has some members in Germany, with other family members in neighbouring countries such as Lebanon and Türkiye. The person in Germany receives refugee status or subsidiary protection status. In Türkiye, family members apply for a family reunification visa through the German Consulates and can migrate to Europe. There is an interview list of 10 questions, including the problems experienced in Türkiye and problems with integration. The majority of families mention discrimination, particularly for children in school. This seems prevalent in Şanlıurfa. In 2021 many families from Syria who had been living in Türkiye for several years wanted to go to Europe because of the economic crisis. This meant applications have increased.[4]

There is a family reunification unit in the Ministry of Family and Social Services, but the dormitories have no information. There is a department called ISS (international social services) in the Ministry; if they get informed about a case about family reunification, they follow up. However, other institutions in Türkiye do not know much about the ISS unit. The Ministry is currently being restructured as the Ministry of Family and Social Services. Since the structure of the Ministry changes so frequently, there is no continuity with policies and practices on family reunification, so organizations like Türk Kızılay have been managing these processes, however, their project recently ended.

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

According to PMM statistics, a total of 19,189 Syrians had been transferred to third countries between 2014 and June 2022, mainly to Canada, the US, the UK and Norway.[5] All resettlement from Türkiye was suspended in early 2020, including German and Türkiye’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 Türkiye, 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-Türkiye statement of 18 March 2016 established a specific resettlement procedure (“1:1 scheme”), under which one Syrian national would be resettled from Türkiye to EU Member States for each Syrian national returned from Greece to Türkiye, taking into account the UN vulnerability criteria.[6]

In practice, participation in resettlement may vary from one region to another. For example, while temporary protection beneficiaries residing in İstanbul and İzmir 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 June 2022, 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: June 2022
Germany 13,320
France 5,300
Netherlands 5,139
Sweden 2,968
Finland 2,541
Belgium 1,795
Spain 907
Portugal 450
Italy 396
Croatia 250
Austria 213
Luxembourg 206
Lithuania 102
Romania 102
Bulgaria 85
Estonia 59
Latvia 46
Slovenia 34
Denmark 31
Malta 17
Total 33,961

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

 

From 2016 up until June 2022, a total of 33,961 Syrians had been resettled to the EU through the one-to-one policy.[7] 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.[8] EU countries receive 10,000 EUR per resettled refugee.

Frontex registered a 46% increase in migrants arriving from Türkiye in 2019, despite the deal with the EU to curb migrant influx into the bloc.[9] The situation became extremely tense in February and March 2020 after an escalation of tensions in northeastern Syria. Turkish President Erdogan ‘opened the gates’ between Türkiye and the EU, saying amongst other things that Türkiye could not cope with another mass influx of refugees from Syria. This led to Greece closing its border, criticisms of both Europe and Türkiye’s handling of the situation and concerns for the human rights of migrants and refugees in the middle.[10] Overall, the number of arrivals from Türkiye went down in 2020 by three-quarters to around 20,000.[11] The numbers of arrivals stayed around the same in 2021.[12]

 

 

 

[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. See also, IOM, Family Reunification, available in English at: https://turkiye.iom.int/family-reunification.

[4] Information provided by a stakeholder, May 2022.

[5] PMM, Temporary protection, available at: https://bit.ly/3wKyP0K.    

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

[7] PMM, Temporary protection, available at: https://bit.ly/3wKyP0K

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

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

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

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

[12] See data report, Frontex, EU external borders in 2021: Arrivals above pre-pandemic levels, 11 January 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3bN98GX.

Table of contents

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