New refugees arriving in the Netherlands will not be admitted to official residential centres from Monday because of the coronavirus threat, the justice ministry said.
The aim is to keep points of contact to a minimum, justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus said in a briefing to parliament.
‘We do not know where the foreigners now reaching the Netherlands have been before their arrival,’ Grapperhaus said. ‘So from March 16, all contacts are being kept to a minimum.There will be no identification process and registration and interviews by immigration officials will not take place.’
Last year some 450 people a week applied for refugee status in the Netherlands, although around 25% of cases are considered ‘no hopers’ because they came from a safe third country.
The minister did not say what should happen to people who report to refugee centres or border police to claim asylum.‘Further details are now being worked out,’ the minister said.
The ministry has also decided to delay all but essential court cases while the coronavirus epidemic takes hold.
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