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Refugee Services
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Interested in hiring a refugee? Click here for more information!

Click here to hear what employers are saying about hiring refugees and find out more about our services.

Every year, millions of people are driven from their homes and communities by armed conflict, gross human rights violations, and fear of persecution. They risk desert heat, defy the dangers of crossing borders, brave choppy seas and endure the squalor of refugee camps - all for the chance to live in freedom and peace. We are called to respond to these people in need.
(Read how Ariel, a Liberian refugee, received ESL training through LFS to help her become a productive U.S. citizen)

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Who are Refugees?

Refugees are people outside of the United States seeking protection from feared persecution in their homeland. They come from many countries, but Nebraska´s refugee population has mainly come from Southeast Asia and Vietnam, the former Soviet Union, Bosnia, the Middle East and Africa.

How Do People Become Refugees?

People apply for refugee status in refugee camps outside their home countries. They attain refugee status by proving to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that they have a well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, national origin, political opinion, or their membership in a social group.

Once they are declared refugees, they can then be interviewed by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). If the INS accepts them, they are sent to the U.S. through national resettlement agencies such as Church World Service (CWS) and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS). Refugee Services then works with CWS and LIRS to resettle refugees in Nebraska.

How Many Refugees Does the U.S. Accept?

The United States only accepts a predetermined number of refugees each year. This number is set by the President of the United States and by Congress. In fiscal year 2000, 90,000 refugees were permitted to enter the U.S. That same year, 152 of these individuals were resettled in Nebraska by Lutheran Family Services.

What is Refugee Services?

Refugee Services is a program of Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska that provides services to refugees before, during and after their arrival, including resettlement and employment services. We prepare for a refugee´s arrival and help them obtain needed services such as:

  • English classes
  • Cultural orientation
  • Employment services
  • Appointments with the Health Department and Social Services

We also provide:

  • Programs for church groups and civic organizations
  • Pulpit supplies to help ministers speak about refugee resettlement
  • Training and support for sponsoring congregations

Click here to hear what employers are saying about hiring refugees and find out more about our services.

How Can I Help Refugees?


Refugee Services can help you fill your job openings quickly with refugees fully authorized to work in the United States by the US Department of Justice. Many refugees are well-educated and were professionals and small business owners in their home countries. Refugees have a good work ethic, and your business could qualify for tax credits and training incentives!

Click here to hear what employers are saying about hiring refugees and find out more about our services.


We need sponsors to help refugees transition to their new life. Sponsors can be local churches, civic organizations, or family members. Experience has shown that local church sponsorships are the most advantageous because refugees better adjust to their new community through a congregation´s love, support and personal care.

Sponsors are asked to:

Both Refugee Services and the sponsor(s) provide for each refugee´s basic needs during their initial resettlement. Sponsorship is a real hands-on mission that brings joy and meaning to all participants.


Refugee Services needs volunteers to:

  • Spread the word about the plight of refugees
  • Pray for each refugee´s safe travel and successful transition
  • Welcome new arrivals
  • Interpret
  • Provide transportation to English classes and medical appointments
  • Tutor English
  • Host an "Apartment Shower" for a newly arrived family
  • Coordinate employment opportunities for employable refugee family members
  • Have Sunday School classes or groups provide food, toys, school supplies, and personal items
  • Donate food baskets, used furniture, clothing, and "welcome boxes" full of kitchen and bathroom items
  • Take refugees to community events
  • Connect refugees with community resources
  • Contribute money to refugee funds at churches or to the Lutheran Refugee Services program

Click here to volunteer to help refugees. Click here to get more information about sponsoring refugees.


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