Officials at the agency that co-ordinates accommodation for asylum seekers are to step up pressure on councils to prevent a backlog of cases this winter.
The COA agency said it would contact 45 municipalities that are failing to meet their obligations to provide shelter under a plan agreed between local mayors and provinces earlier this month.
The plan was drawn up to try to relieve pressure on the reception centre in Ter Apel, Groningen, where 2,500 people are currently staying in a facility that has a maximum capacity of 2,000.
The COA has taken emergency measures to move refugees who have been granted the right to stay – so-called statushouders – to hotels and other temporary facilities around the country, but this has led to tensions.
On Sunday nearly 98 people were transferred to the Atlantic Hotel in the beach resort of Kijkduin, near The Hague, at short notice. Police were called to quell a confrontation between the hotel’s management and a small group of self-proclaimed “local residents”.
VVD councillor Lotte van Basten Batenburg complained on social media that the refugees were being housed “in the heart of our family seaside resort” without any advance warning.
Vanaf morgen 100-120 asielzoekers in NH Atlantic Kijkduin. Wegens ‘acute situatie’ Ter Apel.
Hoe verzin je het. In het hart van onze familie badplaats Kijkduin.
En de bewoners? Die ‘stellen we nog dit weekend op de hoogte’. Van het voldongen feit, welteverstaan. pic.twitter.com/1OnxGwe0ID
— Lotte van Basten Batenburg (@laevbb) November 25, 2023
The justice ministry has warned that the number of refugees with a permit to stay who are living in asylum seeker accommodation – which is intended for those whose claims are still being processed – could reach 21,000 by 2025 unless councils find alternatives.
The COA said its first efforts to find short-term accommodation were “hopeful”, with 129 refugees being moved in to temporary shelter and another 180 in the process of being transferred.
The agency did not name the 45 councils, but said they had all provided less than 30% of the places promised under the recent agreement.
“In the next few months we will select other municipalities that are falling behind. The aim is to move out another 500 statushouders every week, which is double the usual rate.”
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation