‘We cannot say with any certainty that they have really left the Netherlands. We have no idea,’ head of the state deportation service Jannita Robberse told the paper.
The Dutch immigration service IND published its annual report on Monday which showed 31,600 asylum seekers came to the country in 2016 but only 54% were given official approval.
This is due to the rise in applications from the nationals of countries considered to be safe, such as Albania, Kosovo, Algeria and Morocco.
Of the people who were refused recognition as refugees, 13% were actually deported, 40% were escorted out of the country and 47% were allowed to leave under their own steam, the IND report states.
However, officials have no guarantee that those who were told to leave have actually done so.
The Netherlands has a policy of evicting failed asylum seekers from refugee centres if they refuse to cooperate with their deportation.
Refugee organisation Vluchtelingenwerk estimates some 5,000 would-be refugees are turned out onto the street every year.
Several hundred high profile failed asylum seekers are currently squatting or living in temporary accommodation in Amsterdam and other cities. They say they cannot return home because it is unsafe or because they don’t have proper papers.
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