Following the European Commission Recommendation of 8 June 2015 on a European Resettlement Scheme, 27 European Union (EU) Member States, together with Dublin Associated States, agreed on 20 July 2015 to resettle within two years, through multilateral and national schemes, 22,504 displaced persons from outside the EU who are in clear need of international protection. While some EU Member States have been engaged in resettlement programmes for a number of years through UNHCR, this is the first common EU effort on resettlement and the first experience with resettlement for a number of Member States.
On 18 March 2016, EU Heads of State and Turkey agreed to end the irregular migration flows from Turkey to the EU after an unprecedented number (over one million) of asylum seekers and migrants arrived to Europe in 2015. The aim of the EU-Turkey Agreement, which builds on the EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan of 29 November 2015, is to replace disorganized, chaotic, irregular and dangerous migratory flows with organized, safe and legal pathways to Europe for those entitled to international protection in line with EU and international law. The EU-Turkey Agreement foresees that all new asylum seekers and irregular migrants arriving from Turkey in Greece whose applications are found inadmissible will be returned to Turkey and, in return, the EU will resettle “one Syrian from Turkey to the EU for every Syrian returned to Turkey from Greece”. Priority will be given to migrants who have not previously entered or tried to enter the EU irregularly. The full implementation of this 1:1 scheme is aimed at alleviating the situation in Turkey and at demonstrating that the EU is committed to fulfilling its responsibilities in terms of providing legal avenues for victims of the Syrian crisis.
Through the project 'Providing refugee resettlement assistance to the Government of Malta', IOM supported the efforts of the Government of Malta in the resettlement of 17 beneficiaries of international protection from Turkey to Malta, and thereby contributed to providing a durable solution for those in need of international protection.