Half of child refugees are not reunited with family in NL

Refugees at Ter Apel
Refugees at Ter Apel asylum centre.Photo: Peter de Ruiter/ UNHCR Brussel
Refugees at Ter Apel
Refugees at Ter Apel asylum centre.Photo: Peter de Ruiter/ UNHCR Brussel

Young refugees who come to the Netherlands without family are almost twice as likely to be reunited with their family here than older refugees, according to an analysis by national statistics agency CBS.

Between 2014 and 2,020 an average of 1,900 unaccompanied refugees under the age of 18 came to the Netherlands but that figure has been boosted by a surge in both Syrian and Eritrean youngsters in 2015.

Of those who arrived in 2015, 51% had been were reunited with their family by 2020, the CBS said. But only 27% of other asylum seekers were joined in the Netherlands by close family members over the same period, the CBS said.

Syrian teenagers, mainly boys, account for the bulk of the unaccompanied minors. They are more likely to have better documentation, allowing procedures to take place more quickly, the CBS said.

Some 52% of the group that arrived in 2015 and who have been given residency papers have a school diploma, but only 2% are now attending college or university. Over half are working, mainly via staffing agencies or in the hospitality sector.

Between 100 and 150 youngsters under the age of 18 are arriving in the Netherlands every week and the refugee settlement agency COA has been struggling to house them and provide them with an education.

The government has also called a halt to all family reunifications within 18 months unless the refugee in question has proper housing, because of the accommodation crisis.

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