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Office of Maine Refugee Services

Established in March 2017, the Office of Maine Refugee Services (OMRS) is designated by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to administer Maine’s refugee resettlement services across the state, providing grants management, policy guidance, and program development to promote self-sufficiency and community integration.

Are you in need of direct resettlement services? These programs can help you:


OMRS awards and manages refugee service grant programs through State Department approved Reception & Placement (R&P) resettlement agencies including Refugee and Immigration Services (USCCB) Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine (HIAS) and Maine Immigrant & Refugee Services (ECDC), and a wide network of local adult education agencies, school districts, medical providers, and other community organizations.

Who are refugees and how does resettlement work?

The definition of a refugee is a person who has left his or her country and is unable or unwilling to return, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Determination of refugee status is made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) after a person has had to flee their country due to war, persecution and violence.

  • According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are currently 70.8 million people forcibly displaced worldwide, including 25.9 million refugees living outside of their country.

  • More than half of refugees are children, age 18 or younger. According to UNHCR, 57% of refugees worldwide come from three different countries: Syria – 6.7 million; Afghanistan – 2.7 million; and South Sudan – 2.3 million.

  • Half of global refugees are living in cities in a country of asylum, rather than the refugee “camps” many imagine. They have varying educational levels and work experience. They are doctors, lawyers, teachers, carpenters, engineers, farmers, and students.