The Dutch immigration service IND said on Tuesday it did not have enough capacity to deal with all the requests for asylum it is facing and is reaching the limits of what it can do.
Not only are asylum requests on the rise, but the demand for visas for both workers and foreign students is increasing, the agency said in its latest review.
The IND said it “is struggling on all sides to fulfill its social mission” and that a “fundamentally different view of migration policy is needed” to bring about change. Some 40,000 asylum seekers are currently waiting for a decision and 6,000 people have yet to have their first interview.
“For some time we have been getting many more applications than we are equipped for,” said IND director Rhodia Maas. “It is taking longer and longer for applicants to get clarity about their future in the Netherlands. That long uncertainty is awful and it is incredibly important that applicants realise the IND has not forgotten them.”
The service agrees with the justice ministry every year how many requests for visas and asylum it should process. But a year, Maas says, is too short a time to build up a stable organisation. “We need to look forward at least five years, but focusing only on growth is not a sustainable answer,” she said. “How big are we supposed to get?”
The cabinet said last month it expects asylum requests to top 70,000 this year, and that is three times the number the IND is equipped to deal with. Last year the IND received some 50,000 applications for asylum.
In particular, the IND is being pressured by increasingly complex legislation and the need to explain all its decisions in detail. Pressure for faster action, including the threat of fines if requests are not completed on time, is an added factor.
Furthermore, the rules on family reunification, which allow adult children to follow their parents to the Netherlands and then start their own claim, including bringing in their own families, is “not what the legislation was supposed to do,” the IND statement said.
The agency is now talking to the justice ministry about the situation but says a new approach to keep migration policy manageable is “urgently needed”.
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