More Ukrainian refugees expected but some are planning to return

Photo: Depositphotos
Ukrainian refugees at the Slovakian border at the start of the invasion. Photo: Depositphotos

The Dutch government says it expects the number of Ukrainian refugees to keep rising, even though some citizens have started returning home.

The immigration service’s repatriation branch (DV&T) said it had organised the first return flight for two Ukrainians who asked to leave on Thursday and had received 165 other requests since May 10.

In the second week of May 1,740 Ukrainians were registered as new residents by Dutch municipalities, representing a slowdown in the rate of new arrivals. Since the Russian invasion began on February 24, councils have recorded 60,000 new Ukrainian residents in the Netherlands.

Junior minister for asylum, Eric van der Burg, expects the total number to continue to rise in the coming weeks. ‘People are still coming, but at a slower pace,’ he said last week.

Van der Burg has asked municipalities to expand the accommodation for Ukrainian refugees from 46,000 beds to 75,000 in the short term. Currently 38,000 people rely on accommodation provided by the government, representing 82% of the capacity.

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