Cabinet does not back more rights to work for asylum seekers


Ministers are not in favour of allowing refugees to work more at the moment, and want to prioritise “getting a grip” on migration in general, junior justice minister Eric van der Burg said during Monday’s debate on the issue.

Refugees currently have to be in the country for six months before they can take paid employment, and even then they are limited to a maximum of 24 hours a week.

But some MPs have called for a change in the wake of a legal case which found in favour of a refugee who wanted to work more than the permitted total. They argue that being able to work will help the integration of new arrivals into the Netherlands.

The cabinet and coalition parties have been trying to reach an agreement on dealing with the rise in asylum seekers and other migration for months. The VVD and CDA want to impose limits on refugee numbers because of the shortage of housing and the backlog in dealing with applications. D66 and ChristenUnie are opposed.

Van der Burg, a minister on behalf of the VVD, said on Monday that the current rules on work are part of a total package of measures and that MPs should not “cherry pick” which ones to let go.

The VVD fears that allowing asylum seekers to work would give them more rights and hamper efforts to deport them if their application for refugee status is refused.

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