Refugee Resettlement and Movement Management
Since 1975, IOM Thailand has worked closely with the Royal Thai Government, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) and the embassies of resettlement countries, recognizing that third country resettlement is only one of a number of durable solutions for refugees whose well-founded fear of persecution has forced them to flee their home countries.
Since operations began, the organization has helped nearly half a million Indochinese refugees from Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia to start new lives abroad. In 1980 alone, at the peak of the exodus, IOM moved over 121,000 refugees. Many were ethnic minorities from Laos and Cambodians fleeing the Khmer Rouge. As the number of refugees destined for resettlement steadily declined in the 1990s, IOM also facilitated nearly 90,000 voluntary returns to Cambodia and Vietnam.
Today, the vast majority of refugees leaving Thailand originate from Myanmar. IOM conducts medical screenings and cultural orientation as well as facilitates pre-departure logistics and exit formalities for refugees accepted for resettlement. The bulk are resettled in the United States, but other countries including Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Korea and the United Kingdom have also accepted refugees resettling out of Thailand.
In 2017, IOM Thailand assisted with the resettlement of 2,670 refugees from nine refugee camps and urban centres to eight different resettlement countries. Since 2004, over 135,000 refugees have been resettled to fourteen different countries. Up to 95 per cent of refugees are resettled from refugee camps with the remaining 5 per cent being urban cases.
In addition, the Mission is host to the Australian Cultural Orientation (AUSCO) Global Office where the AUSCO Global Coordinator oversees 16 implementing missions in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Guinea, Uganda, Ghana and Kenya. For over ten years, IOM and the Government of Australia have worked in partnership to deliver pre-departure AUSCO training for refugees and humanitarian entrants. The program is funded by the Australian Department of Social Services (DSS) and is delivered by IOM on behalf of the department. For more information on AUSCO, please visit this link.