The Resettlement Legal Aid Project (RLAP) helps qualified refugees present themselves to the UNHCR, IOM, and national immigration agencies for resettlement outside of Egypt. We do not make immigration or resettlement decisions; we help refugees understand their options and navigate the procedures. RLAP represents more than 350 cases or approximately 1,000 individuals annually.
Our staff and volunteers conduct interviews and evaluate whether a client satisfies the legal criteria for resettlement. If so, we prepare a testimony for submission to the UNHCR, IOM, or national immigration agency as appropriate. If a refugee’s claim for resettlement is rejected, we may be able to provide further assistance in a reconsideration of the decision.
Sometimes, clients have urgent needs but do not qualify for resettlement. RLAP’s attorneys work to understand the entirety of a client’s situation, and to provide all possible assistance. In some cases, we refer clients to StARS Psychosocial Services or other organizations in Cairo.
Another important part of RLAP’s work is community education. Resettlement, and refugee law in general, is not well understood within most refugee communities. We conduct workshops with community based organizations and partnering service providers to demistify the resettlement process and explain who is and who is not eligible.
Resettlement is available to the most vulnerable refugees who, despite having obtained UNHCR refugee recognition, remain at risk or have particular needs that cannot be met in Egypt (as explained by UNHCR). The resettlement process allows a small percentage of refugees to apply for permanent relocation out of Egypt to another country of asylum. Very few refugees are resettled. In Egypt, approximately two percent of all recognized refugees are submitted to resettlement countries each year. A refugee must have a specific, compelling reason to leave Egypt in order to qualify for resettlement. These reasons include:
The categories above are broad headings only, and each includes additional requirements. RLAP assists refugees in applying these criteria to their situations and assessing whether they have a claim for resettlement.
RLAP remains the only legal aid organization in Cairo focusing on resettlement. We do not participate in or comment on Egyptian domestic affairs.
To find out more about resettlement and RLAP’s work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +2 02 2773 6347.
To read about RLAP’s Volunteer Legal Advocate program, visit the StARS volunteer page.