The immigration service IND has a backlog of some 15,300 asylum cases to process, junior minister Ankie Broekers-Knol has told MPs in a briefing.
While the task force set up to try to work away the backlog has had an impact, much still remains to be done, Broekers-Knol said. So far, she said, the task force has processed 4,000 claims.
From September, when the task force is fully up to speed, decisions should be taken more quickly, the minister said. The task force was set up after it emerged that the government was paying millions of euros in compensation to asylum seekers whose cases were not processed within the required period. Broekers-Knol has now scrapped those payments.
The task force focuses on people who arrived in the Netherlands before April 1 while new arrivals fall under the regular procedures, and this is likely to mean their cases will be examined earlier.
In recent weeks there have been several demonstrations at refugee centres by people who arrived in the Netherlands up to several years ago and whose cases have still not been dealt with.
In particular, they are calling on the government to speed up their applications, and to allow them to work while waiting for a ruling. ‘We have musicians, doctors and engineers here who can use this time and opportunity to to do something useful for both for themselves and for society,’ Iranian refugee Vahid told reporter Sina Motamed Rad.
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