For most of our beneficiaries, settling down in Jordan isn’t an option. Unable to acquire a work permit that could build careers limits their ability to build a stable life. Going through the resettlement process, however, takes years and in the end, a staggering percentage of 2% worldwide will ever be resettled to a Western country.
Refugees in Jordan mostly hope to be resettled in countries such as the United States, Canada or Australia as well as a few other countries. Each of these countries has different requirements and processes to resettle refugees. What they do have in common is the long waiting period that applicants have to endure. It usually takes many years.
“There’s the mental stress of not knowing how much you’re running,” explains Salem, one of CRP’s interns who is a refugee himself and is going through the resettlement application process. “Mental fortitude, in my opinion, is the biggest challenge for refugees going through the resettlement system. Being on the road but not knowing when/if that road is ending, it can really get to you and affect your mental health. It’s not easy living your everyday life with all that on your mind. That is the biggest issue I think myself and many other people in my situation are facing.” Getting more personal, he goes on to say, “After new laws were put in place to limit the refugees’ influx to the United States my case has been on hold, I’ve been waiting for almost two years to hear back from the IOM about my next interview. I can’t even imagine myself getting that phone call anymore.”
Refugees seek resettlement for different reasons, some want to build a future of their children, some are not accepted in Arab countries due to religious creed or traditions. And yet everyone just seeks to build a better life for themselves in a new place they can call home.
“I applied for Australia through a sponsor hoping me and my family can move there eventually. Unfortunately, I got rejected without knowing the reason; we don’t know what the process is like, what’s the criteria. We see some people who get through the process in a few months while some people take many years if ever resettled. We applied again and now we are waiting and hoping for the best,” says Naseer, one of our local volunteer staff members. The opaqueness of denial can be just as frustrating as the denial itself. And yet every refugee knows stories of someone who was first denied and then accepted later, so all they can do is try again, without knowing if they will have better luck.
“I applied to the UK because my whole family was resettled there. But when I got married I had to have a separate case file as an individual family. I actually got accepted by the UK, but UNHCR said that they’re still processing my case. I wish they would just let me know whether I’m rejected or not, the wait is by far the worst thing that anyone can go through,” says Sara, one of our youth program coordinators.
We’ve seen some success stories where the long wait finally pays off and refugees can start a new life in a new country. Our former volunteer Astonia just moved to her new home in Australia after waiting for a few years in Jordan.
In the meantime, CRP provides classes and opportunities for refugees to volunteer and create a community here in Amman. But we can only do it with your help. 60% of our budget comes from individual donors; donate here to keep us working!