Ministers can refuse to provide bed and board for people living in the Netherlands without residency papers if they don’t cooperate with efforts to deport them, the Council of State ruled on Thursday.
The council, the Netherlands’ highest administrative court, said the government can make demands on people in return for basic accommodation.
The case was brought by an Iranian national who had been offered accommodation in a secure unit and told he had to work towards leaving the country.
A lower court found in favour of the Iranian and cited European treaties in support of its ruling. However, the Council of State said that although the European human rights treaty is binding on signatories, it does not require the government to offer housing to undocumented migrants.
‘If the foreigner refuges to work towards his departure from the Netherlands, the minister may refuse him a roof over his head,’ the council said.
However, the court said the minister does have to make sure the person facing deportation is psychologically able to understand that he or she has to leave the country in return for bed and board.
This means junior justice minister Klaas Dijkhoff will now have to look again at the case of the Iranian to ensure he does not have serious psychological problems, a spokeswoman told broadcaster Nos.
Nos says 25 local authorities offer bed and board to asylum seekers who have not been recognised as such and some 2,000 people have been put up in emergency shelters this year.
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