Action urged as refugee numbers double

Right-wing parties have urged junior justice minister Nebahat Albayrak to take immediate steps to reduce the number of asylum seekers coming to the Netherlands after figures showed numbers have doubled so far this year.

In 2007, 7,102 people applied for asylum but the figure in 2008 has already reached 7,034, the Telegraaf reported on Saturday. The ministry expects the full year total to reach 16,000 and has set aside an extra €50m to pay for their care.
‘I am shocked,’ Christian Democrat MP Wim van de Camp told the AD. ‘It cannot go on like this.’ The justice ministry says most of the new asylum seekers come from Iraq and Somalia.
Liberal (VVD) MP Henk Kamp accused the minister of doing nothing while other European countries adopted tougher asylum rules. He called for an end to the almost automatic admittance of Iraqis, arguing that the country has become much safer.
Refugee amnesty
VVD MPs and members of the anti-immigration party PVV blame the increase on the amnesty for long-term asylum seekers introduced last year. The amnesty led to some 27,500 people who had been refugees in the Netherlands for longer periods being given residency permits.
Of them, some 4,000 came from the former Soviet Union and 3,000 from Yugoslavia, the national statistics office CBS said on Monday. Around 25% were officially minors.

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