Just three refugees quit part time jobs, Utrecht now says

Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

Just three refugees gave up part time jobs at a fast food restaurant when they were able to leave Utrecht’s refugee centre and move into ordinary housing this summer, the city’s integration chief Rachel Streefland told councillors on Thursday.

On Sunday, the Financieele Dagblad reported that ‘dozens’ of refugees had stopped working because they preferred to live on welfare benefits, leading to questions in parliament and a social media storm.

Utrecht officials later said that they were only aware of six confirmed and two possible cases. The final figure has now been confirmed at three.

Utrecht allocated all available social housing to refugees over a six week period in the summer in an effort to clear the waiting list.

The council said earlier this week that current rules make it difficult for refugees to find and keep jobs and the shift from refugee centre to own home is complex. ‘A refugee who is finally allocated a house has to meet their financial obligations, such as paying rent and buying food.’

At the same time, refugees often work for the minimum wage or have a zero hours contract and rely on ‘top up measures’, the statement said. They also have to undergo an intensive, three year integration project which can be hard to combine with a job.

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