Refugee Admissions Program for East Asia

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Washington, DC
May 23, 2014


Since 1975, more than 1.3 million refugees from Asia have been resettled in the United States - either from first asylum countries or through in-country processing. More than 900,000 were Vietnamese, but the U.S. has also resettled significant numbers of Highland and Lowland Lao and Khmer. The U.S. has resettled more than 145,000 refugees representing some 34 nationalities from the region since 2005. In FY 2013, over 16,500 refugees from seven countries in East Asia were admitted to the United States.

A Regional Refugee Coordinator posted to Embassy Bangkok oversees refugee admissions from East Asia. Most refugees considered for U.S. resettlement from East Asia are referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). PRM has established a Resettlement Support Center 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) conducts regular refugee adjudication “circuit rides” 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 2014 Admissions Program

The FY 2014 ceiling for refugee arrivals from East Asia is 14,000. The U.S. expects to admit close to 14,000 ethnic minority refugees from Burma living in Malaysia and Thailand, with a small number of refugees representing a wide range of other nationalities.