On 23 March 2017, the European Resettlement Network hosted the third edition of its webinar series exploring complementary pathways of refugee admission to Europe. This webinar focused on enhancing humanitarian admission as one such pathway. Humanitarian admission may be used for specific groups of refugees such as vulnerable persons, extended family members or individuals with medical needs and provides an expedited mechanism granting (temporary) international protection. In this series, previous webinars were held in 2017, a webinar was held to explore community-based private sponsorship on 23 February and on higher education opportunities for refugee students on 8 March.
The webinar began with an introduction to the essential elements that must be taken into consideration when developing humanitarian admission programmes, addressing core protection and technical aspects, stressing the fact that these programmes should complement and not replace other protection pathways such as resettlement. Targeted case studies on existing Humanitarian Admission Programmes from Austria and Germany were presented as well as existing schemes in France and in Switzerland making use of visas issues on humanitarian grounds to apply for asylum. Key points discussed by the panelists and participants included: (1) the set-up of humanitarian admission schemes and the use of visas issued on humanitarian grounds as a tool to access a MS territory; (2) the process of identification and selection of candidates for humanitarian admission programmes; (3)requirements for pre-departure support to contribute to refugees’ successful integration into their new environments; (4) the key considerations for the development of humanitarian admission programmes, including the legal status granted and support provided after arrival during the granted residence period; (5) successful partnerships between civil society and the public sector that can enable the development and sustainability of humanitarian admission schemes; (6) prospects for the long-term, including the question of needs and expectations of refugees, integration, and the possibility of reuniting with family members in the new host country; (7) future perspectives for enhancement or replication in other EU countries.