No more ‘leaving premium’ for Albanian asylum seekers: Dijkhoff


Albanians who are not granted asylum in the Netherlands will no longer get €200 per adult and €40 per child on leaving, reports the Volkskrant on Tuesday.

Klaas Dijkhoff, junior security minister, told the paper he is scrapping this fee with immediate effect. ‘Albania is a safe country,’ he said. ‘We must make it clear that it makes no sense to seek asylum here.’

He claimed that hundreds of Albanians, and also people from Serbia and the western Balkans, ask for asylum in the Netherlands knowing they will be rejected, although they may wait for a decision here for eight months.

Dijkhoff – whom the paper describes as ‘cold-blooded’ in the face of the refugee – has told NOS radio that he is gunning for a cabinet or party leadership position. He said: ‘An asylum centre is basic by Dutch standards, but if you are from a country where you don’t have the same perspective, it is apparently still attractive. It includes food and lodging.’

He said the ‘leavers’ payment’ had been to encourage people to return voluntarily as a pragmatic measure, but he wants to stop it. He added that to prevent people taking advantage of a system designed for refugees, people whose asylum request is rejected are banned from re-entering the EU for two years.

Dijkoff commissioned a report in February 2016 looking at acceptance rates across European countries for asylum seekers from different nations and showing the Netherlands is relatively restrictive. Although Albanians submitted more new asylum requests than Syrians here earlier this year, their chances are virtually zero.

The budget, presented on Monday, predicted that the Netherlands will have 42,000 asylum seekers in 2017, a topic that has caused much controversy since a spike in numbers in October 2015. Prime minister Mark Rutte, taking presidency of the EU council in the first half of 2016, made reducing numbers a priority.

This year so far, official CBS figures show, around 16,000 people have sought asylum or joined family members in the Netherlands, compared with almost 57,000 in the whole of 2015.

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