Asylum seekers in the Netherlands are confronted with a shortage of reception places, in addition to long delays in accessing the procedure.

As of 28 October 2019, the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) counted 26,975 accommodation places. The Agency estimates that as many as 10,000 additional reception places will be needed as of January 2020 for the country to be able to house asylum seekers.

The Dutch Minister of Security and Justice has attributed the insufficient reception capacity to an increase in the number of arrivals in the Netherlands since the summer of 2019.

The gaps in reception capacity are linked to extremely long waiting times facing people seeking asylum. Due to incorrect forecasts on the number of new asylum claims and a reduction of staff at the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), almost 8,000 applicants have been waiting for months for the start of their asylum procedure. According to the Dutch Council for Refugees, approximately 800 of those have faced delays exceeding one year and reaching 20 months before their first interview with the IND in some cases. Asylum seekers are not provided with sufficient information on the length of those waiting periods.

The long waiting times have resulted in people staying in overcrowded reception centres (“pre-POL”) under unsatisfactory living conditions.

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*This information was first published by AIDA, managed by ECRE.


Photo: (CC) Nicolas Raymond, April 2012

This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin . You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.