Housing crisis: ministers may limit refugee family reunification

Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

The cabinet is looking at the option of stopping asylum seekers who have been granted refugee status from bringing close relatives to the Netherlands until they have proper housing, the Telegraaf reported on Thursday.

The measure is one of several ministers are thinking about in their efforts to reduce overcrowding in refugee centres and temper potential protest, the paper said.

Nearly 16,000 people currently living in refugee centres have been given residency permits but have been unable to leave because of the shortage of regular accommodation. In addition, partners and children of recognised refugees have been ending up in crisis accommodation because there is nowhere else for them to go, the paper said.

Dutch rules on family reunification are in line with most other EU countries, although the Netherlands, Belgium and Hungary are the only three where children aged 18 and over do not qualify.

Junior justice minister Eric van der Burg, who is in charge of refugees, has already said he wants to take steps to deport failed asylum seekers more quickly, and reduce the facilities available to people arriving from safe third countries. These measures still have to be processed by parliament.

The plan to stop family members arriving may, however, conflict with European human rights treaties which guarantee the right to a family life, the paper said.

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