The strict private reception of asylum seekers from safe countries may disappear. The two municipalities where they are currently accommodated want to close their sites at the end of the year and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers has not yet found a new one.
There is an additional frugal reception to discourage asylum seekers from safe countries from staying here. In the past twelve months, for example, about 900 Moroccans have applied for asylum in the Netherlands. They hardly have a chance of obtaining a residence permit and show more criminal behavior than other asylum seekers.
After putting in a lot of effort, the COA was able to convince two municipalities to take in a maximum of 210 “safe immigrants” last year: Budel and Ter Apel. They wanted to accommodate a small part of the total number of people. The rest was divided among all asylum seekers centers. Now that the trials are over at the end of this year, Budel and Ter Apel want to get rid of it. They believe that it is now the turn of the other municipalities.
The COA has been trying in vain since December 2019 to find another municipality willing to take these asylum seekers with little chance of obtaining residency status separately, according to documents requested by RTV Noord and NOS by petitioning the Government Information (Public Access) Act.
Ter Apel and Budel are the two places that actually receive the most asylum seekers. In Ter Apel, a village of 8,000 inhabitants, 2,000 asylum seekers reside. There is also an application center there, which is the first counter that an asylum seeker arriving in the Netherlands must report. Residents and shop owners have been complaining for years about inconvenience and theft. About 8000 people live in Boudl. 1500 asylum seekers are received there. There are also many complaints.
Herma Hemming, a CDA board member in Ter Apel, lives near the reception center. According to her, it is good to note that more asylum seekers are coming to the Netherlands. “You also see that the number of nuisances from safe countries is increasing again.” She wants the frugal reception of these people to end.
However, Heimin is not satisfied with the pilot. “In itself we are quite satisfied with this approach. Actions are being taken quickly, and people should stay home. There is more control, too, in alcohol consumption,” she says. But we believe it is time for other municipalities to take over as well.”
Clear language also comes from Budel: “The pilot will end after December 31 this year. The cake should be better distributed,” he told the municipality.
Municipalities set conditions
The fear among municipalities of having to take in troublesome asylum seekers has dire consequences. It is one of the main reasons why new centers for asylum seekers have not been established.
Municipalities that want to offer emergency shelter or keep a center for asylum seekers open for a longer period, impose all kinds of conditions on this. One only wants to receive evacuees from Afghans, the others only people who have been granted asylum and who then travel. Still others just want to get status holders; They already have a temporary residence permit. Almost all municipalities cooperate only if the reception is only a few hundred people.
The shortage of new reception centers is now more acute with the number of asylum seekers increasing again, following the coronavirus lockdowns. In the short term, accommodation in crises, for example, in gymnasiums is imminent, as happened during the refugee crisis in 2015. Afghan interpreters who were evacuated from Kabul are already being moved from place to place to make room for new asylum seekers.
A final evaluation of the “safe immigrants” experiences in Boudl and Ter Apel will be ready in September, but the Ministry of Justice and Security now says the result is classified.
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