Tuesday 07 February 2023

IND has not enough staff or money to process asylum claims carefully

Refugees protesting about the delays in processing their claims. Photo: Refugee demonstration team

The Dutch immigration service IND does not have enough money or staff to always properly judge asylum requests, justice ministry inspectors said in a new report on Tuesday.

‘This is increasing the risk that IND staff take subjective decisions about whether or not people can stay in the Netherlands on the basis of incomplete information,’ the agency said in a statement.

The inspectors say that assessing asylum claims has become more complex and the shortage of experienced staff means relative newcomers are being asked to take decisions without having enough time to prepare properly.

IND staff are also under pressure to deal with requests for asylum quickly, particularly given the backlog that has already built up. This has led to staff skipping breaks and working at weekends, the inspectors say.

The justice ministry must make financial resources available to ensure the department has enough capacity. In addition, the IND itself must make sure that its staff have enough time to gather the information they need to come to a ‘well-founded decision’, the inspectors said.

Delays in processing asylum requests led to the IND paying tens of millions of euros in compensation to refugees who were having to wait too long, but that system ended last year.

Refugee aid group Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland said the criticism is the latest in a long line of critical reports about the immigration service. The IND does not pay enough attention to the human element when doing their job and ‘the consequences of this for refugees can be very serious’, a spokesman told news agency ANP.

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