The Ministry of Justice wants refugees to help pay for asylum seekers’ centers


The Ministry of Justice and Security wants refugees to contribute to their long-term reception in an asylum seekers’ center. The department is working on a plan to recover the money that asylum seekers receive as compensation for the long waiting in reception. A refugee who exceeds a certain financial limit is ‘obliged to pay a personal contribution for the reception of himself and his family members’, the ministry answers questions from NRC.

For single people, that limit is 6,225 euros, for a family it is 12,450. How many euros asylum seekers have to donate to the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers differs per ‘case’, according to a spokesperson for Justice. The details of the scheme must be worked out.

Regular asylum applications must be processed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) within six months. If that period is exceeded, an asylum seeker can claim a penalty. In the past year, the IND paid three times more in penalties than the year before: 5.5 million euros. This year the costs will rise further to 17 million euros.

Also read: IND barely fends off criminal aliens

The ministry is trying to accommodate the growing number of allowances to asylum seekers by having this group pay for board and lodging. This scheme is an extension of an existing scheme. It stipulates that asylum seekers with a job that are above the same capital limit also contribute to their stay in the asylum seekers’ center.

The extension of the scheme is controversial among asylum lawyers and refugee organizations. They state that a penalty payment is the only way to put pressure on the IND to process an asylum application. “If you do not claim a penalty, the IND will do nothing,” says asylum lawyer Wil Eikelboom. If the IND compensation is subsequently collected by the COA, Eikelboom says, the pressure to process an application will disappear.

It is not yet known how many people will have to pay for their stay in the asylum seekers’ center, says the Justice and Security spokesperson. According to Eikelboom, who has assisted dozens of Syrians, Iranians, Afghans, Turks and Egyptians in recent years, it concerns thousands of asylum seekers.

“We understand that asylum seekers are asked to contribute something if they can,” says a Council for Refugees, “but it is very cynical if the government has to pay a fine with one hand and seize it with the other ” That is all the more true, according to VluchtelingenWerk “because it is a payment for the reception where they are sitting against their will and longer than necessary. That’s because the government takes endless time to process their asylum application. ”

State Secretary Ankie-Broekers-Knol (Asylum and Migration, VVD) wrote to the Lower House in November that it is ‘very serious’ that the backlog of work at the IND leads to ‘costs of this magnitude’.

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