Immigration minister Gerd Leers is planning to tighten up the procedure for vetting asylum seekers and make it faster by cutting out several layers of the current process, he told the Volkskrant in an interview on Tuesday.
Leers wants asylum seekers to be vetted on all grounds, such as family life, medical condition and the situation in the country of origin, in one go. Their asylum claim could then be considered in one day, the minister says.
If there is an appeal, Leers wants the lawyer to work on a no-win-no-fee basis, which would make the appeal process cheaper.
Asylum seekers whose appeal is turned down would immediately be turned over to the deportation service which would arrange for the journey back to their country of origin.
This would remove the endless appeals that currently clog up the process and in some cases lead to asylum seekers spending up to 12 years fighting deportation, he told the paper.
Leers, who will submit his plans to parliament later on Tuesday, is not proposing any changes to the deportation of the children of asylum seekers who have lived in the Netherlands for more than eight years. A number of MPs want these children to automatically be given the right to stay.
In a reaction, Loes Vellenga of the asylum lawyers association says Leers is just tinkering with the process. ‘Claims are already considered in one go over the eight-day process,’ she told the Volkskrant.
She also points out that Dutch law does not allow lawyers to work on a no-win-no-fee basis. ‘I’m interested to see how the minister will arrange this. Will all prosecuting lawyers be able to work on the same basis’?’ she said.
Currently, 56% of asylum seekers are dealt with in eight days, which is quick when compared to other European countries.
Leers said he expects a majority of MPs to support his plans, even though the cabinet has caretaker status and is not supposed to introduce controversial legislation.
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