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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Refugee Admissions Program for East Asia

May 6, 2011


Since 1975, more than 1.3 million refugees from Asia have been resettled in the United States. More than 900,000 are Vietnamese, but the U.S. has also resettled significant numbers of Laotians and Cambodians. The U.S. has resettled more than 70,000 refugees representing some 34 nationalities from the region since 2005. In FY2010, 17, 716 refugees from eight countries in East Asia were admitted to the United States.

Most refugees considered for U.S. resettlement from East Asia are referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). A Regional Refugee Coordinator from the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand oversees refugee admissions from East Asia. PRM has established a Resettlement Support Center (RSC) based in Bangkok, with a sub-office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to coordinate refugee case preparation, post-adjudication processing, and cultural orientation in East Asia.

The Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (DHS/USCIS) travels to conduct refugee adjudication interviews throughout the region. Transportation to the United States is arranged by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The U.S. remains concerned about the plight of North Korean refugees. Since 2004, the U.S. Government has worked closely with UNHCR, governments in the region, and NGOs to offer U.S. resettlement interviews to eligible North Koreans who express interest in the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

FY 2011 Admissions Program
The FY 2011 ceiling for refugee arrivals from East Asia is 19,000. The U.S. expects to admit up to 18,500 ethnic minority refugees from Burma living in Malaysia and Thailand, with the remaining refugees representing a wide range of various nationalities.


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