Minister puts €1m into voluntary work scheme for refugees


Asylum seekers are to be given more opportunities to do voluntary work, following the completion of two successful trials, social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher has announced.

The minister has set aside €1m to fund the programme for people who still live in refugee centres and do not have residency permits, news agency ANP said.

Experiments in Nijmegen and Utrecht will now be expanded to 10 other cities next year and to 25 by 2018.

The work will consist of tasks normally done by volunteers and will not substitute paid jobs, Asscher is quoted as saying.

Asscher said he supports allowing asylum seekers to do voluntary work as soon as possible after their arrival.

‘They get to know the language, our society and way of living,’ he said. ‘They can make a positive contribution to our society and it improves their chance of finding a paid job.’

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