The duration of asylum procedures is significantly increasing in the Netherlands, despite steady numbers of asylum seekers arriving in the country. According to a brief submitted to the Parliament (Tweede Kamer) by the Dutch Council for Refugees, the waiting time for applicants to start the procedure with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) has risen to 20 weeks, compared to 8 weeks at the beginning of last year. This leads to prolonged periods of legal uncertainty and impossibility to start the process of integration and family reunification.

12,290 first-time asylum applications were lodged in the Netherlands in the first eight months of 2018, compared to 9,722 in the same period in 2017.

Under the general procedure (“Track 4”) in the Netherlands, asylum applications are processed within 8 working days, subject to the possibility to apply an extended procedure not exceeding 6 months for cases requiring further assessment. Further prolongations are permitted for complex cases, in line with the recast Asylum Procedures Directive.

The Dutch Council for Refugees has raised further issues with regard to recent changes in Dutch asylum policy, including the conditions prevailing in the two Extra Guidance and Supervision Locations (EBTL) hosting asylum seekers who seriously violate the house rules of reception centres or who otherwise demonstrate aggressive behaviour since the end of 2017. Practice so far indicates risks that applicants placed in those centres often suffer from mental conditions or addictions and do not receive adequate treatment. The two centres, formerly operating as detention facilities, operate under a restrictive regime whereby people are initially not allowed (or only allowed under supervision) to leave the premises, and undergo bodily searches upon return. This practice amounts to de facto detention according to the brief.


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*This information was first published by AIDA

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