Dutch Cabinet: Refugees not a priority for social housing

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No image availableNL Times

The PvdA has agreed with coalition partner VVD's proposal to no longer give recognized refugees priority in the distribution of social housing, on the condition that enough container homes are built to encourage the flow through asylum centers. The coalition has also adjusted their wording for the approach - the Netherlands is getting a "sober and fair" asylum policy.

These three words were uttered by Prime Minister Mark Rutte, PvdA leader Diederik Samsom and VVD faction leader Halbe Zijlstra in turn after a coalition meeting at the Ministry of Social Affairs on Monday, the Volkskrant reports. The word "sober" comes from the VVD, who has been advocating for a discouragement policy. "Fair" comes from the Labor Party, who has fairness as its main objective.

Thousands of prefabricated and container homes - similar to those frequently used for student dorms - will be built to facilitate the flow from the asylum centers. Currently about 13 thousand refugees with residency permits are still living in asylum centers because there are no homes available. This has resulted in the numerous new asylum seekers having to be placed in emergency shelter.

Another change is that social assistance such as rent and healthcare premiums will be deducted immediately, in other words paid "in kind" to the refugees. Refugees will have no right to housing and care allowances. According to the Volkskrant, the Prime Minister called it a "cutback". The healthcare package will not be cut, as Zijlstra suggested over the weekend.

The debate on the refugee crisis will happen on Wednesday.