Refugee system in NL is in ‘continuous crisis’ and needs overhauling: report


The current system for taking care of asylum seekers in the Netherlands needs a complete overhaul and responsibility should be shifted from national government to local authorities along with proper funding, according to two advisory councils.

The care of refugees should become part of local authorities’ legal duties and new arrivals who have strong cases should be allocated to councils according to the size of their populations, the two government agencies say.

There is an ‘almost continuous crisis’ when it comes to looking after refugees and the crisis has been ‘created and kept in place by the state’, the report states.

Once the number of new arrivals shrinks, refugee centres are shut, and cuts are made at the refugee settlement agency COA and immigration service IND. But as their number rises again, officials resort to ‘ad hoc measures’ and a crisis again develops, the report said.

False start

This means that the quality of the care ‘drops below humane levels’ and that new arrivals get a false start, reducing political and public willingness to help. Instead, the government needs to replace the current system by a new one based on sharing the burden of care.

The IND would be responsible for making a speedy first assessment of asylum applications and refugees from safe third countries and with weak cases would continue to be the responsibility of refugee settlement agency COA.


Hundreds of families with children are sleeping in temporary accommodation, including former army barracks, because there is no where else for them to go.

Once again, the Red Cross put up tents at the Ter Apel reception centre in Groningen on Monday night, because there were not enough beds.

One reason for the overcrowding in refugee centres is the lack of suitable accommodation for people who have been given residency permits. The refugee agency is currently providing beds for some 40,000 people, but nearly 14,000 of them should have moved into regular housing.

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