Asylum seekers arriving at Schiphol airport are being held for an average of 100 days while waiting for their initial applications to be processed, according to a report by the Dutch council for refugees published on Tuesday.
Only then are they sent from the border detention centre on to a normal refugee centre, sent back to another country or deported to their country of origin, the report says.
Each year several hundred asylum seekers are held for three months before being processed and that is ‘unacceptably long’, the council’s director Edwin Huizing told Tuesday’s Trouw. ‘Especially as there are families with small children among them,’ he says.
Asylum seekers who arrive at Schiphol have to go through the 48-hour procedure, during which the immigration and naturalisation service investigates their application. If no decision can be reached, they can be held at the border detention centre while further investigations are carried out.
‘We have noticed that detention is getting longer,’ Huizing told Trouw. ‘And it is never clear why someone has been held so long.’ In particular, people who have already claimed asylum in another country (so-called Dublin claimants) are being held for an average of 86 days before being sent back to complete their claims at the original location.
Last year an independent commission advised the justice ministry to extend the 48-hour detention period because it was too short to allow claims to be looked at carefully.
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