IRAP’s Complementary Pathways and Europe Work

Complementary pathways are legal pathways to permanent relocation that can be used by refugees and asylum seekers to reach places of safety. These pathways are described as “complementary” because they are additional to, and separate from, UNHCR and government-run resettlement programs. In light of shrinking resettlement quotas and other obstacles to resettlement, IRAP created a Complementary Pathways-Europe Department in 2018. 

IRAP’s Complementary Pathways Casework and Advocacy

IRAP advocates for the development of complementary pathways and provides direct legal assistance or referrals for legal assistance in a variety of procedures, including: 

    • Family Reunification to the United States and to several countries in Europe, assisting refugees to access their legal right to reunite with their family members in these countries.
    • Humanitarian Visas to the United States (Humanitarian Parole), France (“Visa au titre de l’asile”), and other countries on a case-by-case basis, which allow vulnerable refugees facing protection threats to enter these countries for purposes of claiming asylum.
    • Humanitarian Corridors to France and Italy, which allow vulnerable refugees facing protection threats to relocate through humanitarian programs run by faith-based organizations. 
    • Private Sponsorships to Canada for individuals who have identified sponsors, assisting them with completing the process of relocating to Canada permanently.

IRAP’s Europe Work

IRAP runs the following projects and is evaluating potential future projects in Europe based on identified needs:

Central Mediterranean Family Reunification Project

In partnership with UNHCR’s Office of the Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean Situation and RefugePoint, IRAP is currently running a project focused on providing legal representation to unaccompanied children and youth at risk seeking reunification with family members in Europe and North America. The children and youth beneficiaries of this project are living in refugee camps, detention centers, and urban areas in Africa (primarily East Africa).

Legal Aid in Greece

Since 2018, IRAP has partnered with Equal Rights Beyond Borders (Equal Rights), a Greek-German NGO providing legal counseling and representation to asylum seekers in Dublin III and national family reunification procedures, as well as in the Greek asylum process, through their Athens and Chios offices. Equal Rights also conducts strategic litigation in German and Greek courts as well as in front of the European Court of Human Rights.