Migration management: High-level Forum on legal pathways to protection and resettlement cooperation

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

Today, Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson hosted a High-Level Forum to promote closer cooperation with partner countries and organisations to expand safe and legal avenues for those people in need of protection.

High-level representatives from the EU Member States, the US, Canada, and the UK attended, together with UNHCR and IOM, Civil Society Organizations, refugees and businesses involved in Complementary Pathways for Labour. The Forum asserted the joint resolve for upholding protection in light of ongoing conflicts worldwide. Discussions focused on building more resilient programmes and offering innovative pathways linked to work, additional to resettlement.

Strong commitment to resettlement

16 EU Member States pledged more than 29 000 places for resettlement and humanitarian admission for 2023, including continued and expanded support to Afghans in need of protection. Once implemented, these pledges will trigger EU financial support  for the Member States’ resettlement and humanitarian admission schemes. The Commission has allocated aside €480 million over 2023-2025 to this end.

Community engagement

Since February 2022, people in Europe have been opening their homes to host those fleeing Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. This has been an unprecedented demonstration of solidarity. To provide targeted guidance in the organisation of private housing initiatives for those fleeing Ukraine, the Commission issued the Safe Homes guidance.

Building on this experience, the Commission will continue working to expand community sponsorship schemes to underpin resettlement, humanitarian admission and other complementary pathways. The Commission will provide financial support via the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund to the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) for the implementation of a project to support hosts and develop good practices that can be replicated for future needs.

Complementary pathways for people in need of international protection

In addition to resettlement, the Forum stressed the opportunities of complementary pathways linked to work. These offer skilled refugees an innovative pathway to protection as well as access to the EU labour market, thus helping to address acute labour shortages at the same time. Member States have been encouraged to develop such complementary pathways. The Commission will provide new funding for transnational projects linked to this priority.

The Commission will continue working to leverage the experience of international partner countries and other key stakeholders on labour mobility schemes. This includes working more closely with the Global Taskforce on Refugee Labour Mobility, a coalition of partners that aims at promoting complementary labour pathways. 

Next steps

In early 2023, the Commission will publish a call for proposals for transnational Union actions under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund to support sharing best practices and creating integration partnerships. This will include funding for projects focusing on community sponsorship and complementary pathways linked to work. More information will be available in the work programme and on the Funding and Tenders Portal.


Since 2015, more than 100,000 vulnerable refugees have found shelter in the EU, through EU-funded resettlement schemes. More than 40,000 people – mainly Afghans at risk following the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban – were offered a safe pathway through humanitarian admission. In July 2021, Commissioner Johansson convened a High-level Resettlement Forum with representatives of the EU, the US, Canada, UNHCR and civil society with a view to stepping up resettlement and complementary pathways through joint leadership. 

In addition to resettlement programmes, the Commission encouraged Member States in its 2020 Recommendation to provide complementary pathways linked to work and put in place support programmes that facilitate access to existing legal avenues for those in need of international protection. The Commission provided funding support for Union actions projects under the 2020 annual work programme to promote the concept of complementary pathways in the Member States. The selected projects can be found on the Funding and Tenders Portal.

For More Information

2020 Commission Recommendation on Legal Pathways to protection

The Global Task Force on Refugee Labour Mobility – Canada

UNHCR Three-Year Strategy on Resettlement and Complementary Pathways  


At today’s High-level Forum on legal pathways to protection I was glad to note the strong commitment of EU Member States to continue providing safe and legal avenues to those who need international protection. This is even more significant given their continued efforts to provide safety for those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. Building on last year’s forum we have reinforced our cooperation with international partners and organizations. We also agreed on the need to expand legal migration opportunities, including how refugees can access jobs in Europe. We will be working closely with the Global Task Force on Labour to this endYlva Johansson, Commissioner for Home Affairs, said: – 29/11/2022

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