IND had “family of family of refugee” statistics before election

Refugee children on the Syrian border.

Figures showing justice minister Dilan Yesilgöz was wrong when she said thousands of relatives of recognized refugees came to the Netherlands and then brought in their relatives, were available shortly after the cabinet fell over the issue, but kept secret until February this year.

Yesilgöz’s claim played a major part in the collapse of Mark Rutte’s fourth administration after ministers failed to reach an agreement on curbing the number of relatives of relatives coming to the Netherlands.

In February, seven months after the cabinet fell, the immigration service finally published figures showing an average of just 70 people moved to the Netherlands every year as the family member of a family member of a recognised refugee.

In 2022, just 40 “family of family” came to the Netherlands and in 2021, 130 people, the IND figures show.

However, documents sent to parliament by junior justice minister Eric van der Burg on Friday show officials knew the numbers were extremely limited as early as last August. This was shortly after the cabinet fell and months before the general election in which refugee numbers were a key issue.

The IND now says the statistics could not be released earlier because they were incomplete and that would have been against protocol. And Van der Berg said neither he nor Yesilgöz were unaware of the situation at the time.

GroenLinks-PvdA parliamentarian Kati Piri said on social media that she plans to call for a debate on the issue.

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