Traffickers describes the Netherlands as a promised land
Traffickers that smuggle Syrian refugees into Europe make use of a "smuggling folder" to inform the refugees on the various countries in which they may get asylum, including benefits, housing situations and the chances of getting a residency permit. In this folder, the Netherlands is described as the promise land, AD reports.
This "smuggling folder" was intercepted by Frontex, the European border guard, after a Syrian refugee applying for asylum in Greece referred to an Arab website he used to orient his new future in Europe. Frontex reported this document. "We already new that refugees share information about where they can best apply for asylum. Never before have we seen that smugglers use that information to inform potential refugees", Frontex spokesperson Ewa Moncure said to the AD.
The folder describes the Netherlands as a land of milk and honey. It states that refugees can expect a default benefit of 220 euros per month, which can run up to 1,600 euros per month for families if the asylum application approved. Under shelter, it states that they will stay in a house and that the Dutch government will pay the rent.
Other promising countries are Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark - all of them countries with a generous asylum policy. According to the AD, Danish Minister of Integration Inger Stojberg is using this document to tray and halve the payments to asylum seekers.
Vlugtelingenwerk Nederland, or Refugees Netherlands in English, have not anything similar to this document before, but are not overly surprised. "The European Union are building ever higher walls around the borders. That encourages this kind of transactions", said spokesperson Martijn van der Linden to the newspaper. "If anyone dares to make the crossing, it is conceivable that they would rather not end up in a country that will dump them on the street."
Lawyer Will Eikelboom from the association Asylum Lawyers Netherlands thinks that the Netherlands should be proud to be described as such a nice country for asylum seekers. "I would be ashamed if we were on lists of countries where Syrians absolutely do not want to apply for asylum".
The PVV told the AD that they find the list "disturbing". "The government is making the Netherlands a super magnet. Instead of a smuggling leaflet, asylum seekers should get the message that they have no chance here." said parliamentarian Sietse Fritsma.
A spokesperson for State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff of Security and Justice confirmed that they are aware of the document. According to the Ministry, the information on it is not correct. The State Secretary recognizes that the rosy picture of the Netherlands depicted in the document, could draw more asylum seekers, but he does not plan on cutting back on the asylum policy. "The chance of a successful asylum application takes into account if people chose the Netherlands, but depends on more." the spokesperson said.