Third Country Resettlement
In close collaboration with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR), the Government of Nepal (GoN) and eight Resettlement Governments, the IOM facilitates selection missions, conducts medical examination of refugees selected for resettlement as per the protocol of the destination country, conducts cultural orientation for the destination countries, facilitates exit permits and arranges travel for the refugees until their final port of entry.
Resettlement Support Center (RSC), South Asia
The Resettlement Support Center (RSC), South Asia is operated by the IOM with the main office in Damak, Nepal. RSC South Asia conducts resettlement processing for the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) in five countries throughout the South Asia region: Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The RSC began in 2007 in Damak, Nepal with the Bhutanese caseload and has since expanded to other countries. Funded by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), RSC South Asia assists refugees with the many steps involved in the resettlement process to the United States including receiving cases from the UNHCR, interviewing and counselling refugees, managing data entry, overseeing security checks, supporting US Citizen and Immigration Officers during adjudication, coordinating with US agencies on US placement, working with the GoN, Exit Permit Officers, and conducting Cultural Orientation classes. All refugees approved to travel to the US undergo five days of Cultural Orientation by the RSC team to help them prepare for life in America. Topics covered include hygiene, transportation to and in America, the importance of getting a job and going to school, as well as how to cope with cultural adjustments. The RSC regularly coordinates with the GoN to conduct exit permit formalities at the IOM Damak Sub-Office for all Bhutanese departing Nepal. The IOM provides housing and transport for the officials during their stay for granting exit permission for Bhutanese refugees being resettled.
Since 2007 through February 2017, the RSC has helped facilitate over 99,274 refugees to the US, of which 92,434 have been Bhutanese from Eastern Nepal. Other populations include Burmese and Pakistanis from Sri Lanka and India, and Afghanis from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India.
The Operations unit is responsible for all ground movements of refugees from camps through to the final country of resettlement by air. In Nepal, since 2007 through February 2017, the Operations unit has facilitated the departure of over 108,668 Bhutanese to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, UK and the U.S.A. The Operations team transports Bhutanese refugees daily from multiple camps to the IOM Offices for interviews and medical appointments, and also arranges weekly charter flights of refugees from Eastern Nepal to Kathmandu. In Kathmandu, the Operations team receives refugees transported through charter flights, and arranges accommodation for them at the IOM Transit Centre for several days prior to international departure. The team also arranges commercial airline bookings for refugees and facilitates airport formalities for all departing refugees. Refugees are provided operational flight escorts as needed, medical escorts for medical cases in coordination with Migration Health Unit. The Operations unit also handles flight movements for cases ex-Sri Lanka, India, and supports the Pakistan mission.
The IOM Transit Centre in Kathmandu has the capacity of accommodating 240 people a night. This 24-hour facility provides clean water, hygienic food, comfortable beds and a children's playground for the refugees. Typically, Bhutanese refugees from eastern Nepal spend 3-6 nights at the Transit Centre in Kathmandu prior to their commercial flight to the country of resettlement. During this time, refugees undergo a final fitness-to-travel examination, and a final Cultural Orientation session as a part of the transit process.
Australian Cultural Orientation (AUSCO)
IOM Nepal also provides five days of Cultural Orientation training for refugees resettling to Australia. The objectives of the AUSCO program are to: provide accurate information on the departure processes; present a realistic picture of life in Australia; describe the settlement process and provide practical information about post-arrival settlement services and how to access them; encourage language training on arrival in Australia; provide participants with the basic skills necessary to achieve self-sufficiency; equip participants with the necessary tools to deal with initial settlement concerns and the different stages of cultural, social and economic adaptation. The curriculum is designed to give participants confidence and independence starting their new life in Australia.
Migration Health Division (MHD)
The MHD, under IOM Nepal, has its main office in Damak conducting health assessments of Bhutanese and a small number of urban refugees to the United States under the USRAP, funded by the Government of the United States through the PRM and the Center for Disease Control. As part of the USRAP regional responsibilities, the MHD assists Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka, in conducting quality health assessment of United States bound refugees. The Migration Health Assessment Program for Nepal started in 2007, primarily for Bhutanese refugees from Nepal. Currently, the MHD provides medical assistance to the refugees resettling to eight different countries, as well as to immigrants bound to the USA, UK, Canada and Australia through Migration Health Assessment Centers located in two different sites (Kathmandu and Damak).
From 2007 through 2015, over 121,000 initial Health Assessments of refugees have been performed in Nepal; over 105,000 of these have been for US bound refugees. Additionally, from 2010 through the end of Dec 2015, over 43,000 immigrants have undergone initial health assessment.
MHD Nepal also runs a clinic in the refugee Transit Center in the capital of Nepal, Kathmandu, as well as a specialized isolation center for the treatment of highly-infectious and drug-resistant TB cases in Damak. The MHD has a well-equipped TB Lab and two X-Ray facilities in the country, providing almost all needed services in house, and benefitting from well experienced health assessment national and international staff. The MHD has well-established linkages to the government and international partners and also implements a Stop TB Partnership-funded TB Reach Project since 2011 in the Eastern and Central regions of Nepal and recently in the earthquake effected areas. In partnership with Association of Medical Doctors of Asia, the MHD runs a PRM and Citizenship and Immigration Canada funded TB Diagnosis and Treatment Protocol Harmonization Project for non-resettlement Bhutanese refugees as well as to the host communities around the refugees camps in the Eastern Region.
It is worth mentioning that Health Assessment requirements for migration to the receiving countries are defined and regulated through the Technical Instructions for Medical Examinations issued by the health and immigration authorities of each receiving country.
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