Wednesday 15 July 2020

Thousands of rejected migrants unable to return to their home countries

Accommodation for refugees at Ter Apel in Drenthe.

Photo: Justice ministry

Thousands of rejected migrants are stuck in the Netherlands because their home countries have refused to take them back, according to figures from the repatriation service Dienst Terugkeer en Vertrek (DTV).

The statistics, published by the Telegraaf newspaper, showed that 2,310 requests to take back a foreign national who had been refused permission to stay in the Netherlands were turned down between 2014 and May 2018. A further 8,020 requests were withdrawn because no answer was received within a year.

During 2018 the DTV’s efforts to repatriate failed migrants failed more times than they succeeded: 1,760 requests were granted while 2,410 requests were refused.

Algeria was the country that refused the largest number of requests, while Afghanistan, Morocco, Iraq and Iran frequently failed to respond.

DTV spokesman Lennart Wegwijs said the number of migrants affected was less than 10,000 because some people were the subject of more than one request. ‘For some people we have made repeated requests and in some cases we have made applied to several countries for the same person. I can’t say how many people it actually involves. I don’t have those figures.’

Migrants who have exhausted the application and appeals process are required to leave the country within 28 days, after which they lose all right to accommodation and other state support – unless they co-operate with their removal.

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.