The fear expressed by populist politicians that an amnesty for long-standing asylum-seekers would lead to a huge increase of refugees trying to benefit has not been borne out by the latest figures published by the immigration minister Nebahat Albayrak.
Around 27,000 asylum seekers will be given a resident’s permit under the scheme, a number that fits perfectly with the original government forecast and way below what the alarmists had claimed.
The minister has also booked success with moving the pardoned asylum seekers out of holding centres into normal housing.
Less successful were efforts to deport those who failed to qualify for a permit: only 180 of the 3.500 earmarked for deportation actually left the country in the past year, which has got the populists squawking again
The discussion over asylum usually ends up talking numbers. But the numbers are people who lived as long as 10 years in the Netherlands and have bred children who go to Dutch schools and have formed a bond with their local community. In fact they’re as Dutch as you can be.
The reason why they could do this without a permit is largely the inability of the immigration services to process their application on time, taking into account legal challenges.
A considerable number of those rejected under the scheme failed to qualify because they had moved in and out of the Netherlands or had lied to the immigration authorities (if you’re desperate, you’d do anything).
A simple solution would be to give those people residency as well. And in number terms, it would also boost the deportation success rate!
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