Asylum seekers fleeing the Netherlands on humanity issues
An increasing number of asylum seekers are leaving the Netherlands voluntarily because they are discouraged by the Dutch asylum procedure, according the International Organization for Migration, the nongovernmental organizations that helps migrants with their voluntary return. "Under the current high influx of asylum seekers, there are many who choose for voluntary return relatively soon after arrival", a spokesperson said to the Volkskrant. "They get discouraged because it takes a long time to gain asylum and to have their family come over."
The outflow reached a peak in December with 316 departing asylum seekers. Throughout 2015 there were 3 thousand who decided to leave, including both asylum seekers newly arrived in the Netherlands and migrants living in the country for years. In 2014 a total of 2,260 people left voluntarily, according to the newspaper.
According to the IOM, a remarkable number of Iraqi asylum seekers report for voluntary departure, 34 last month. Iraqis stand a bigger chance of having their asylum application denied than say asylum seekers from Syria, given that many parts of Iraq are considered safe. "You can not imagine how many Iraqis call us with a request to be allowed to return once they realize what the situation is here", a staff member said to the newspaper.
A year ago an asylum had to wait four to six week for his asylum procedure to start. Currently that waiting period is six months. Two months ago the government announced that it is becoming increasingly difficult for successful asylum seekers to have their family join them. It could take up to a year after an asylum seeker was granted refugee status before his family can join him.
Last week the Denmark government decided that family reunification will only be allowed after 3 years, instead of one. According to the newspaper, this is to actively discourage asylum seekers from coming to Europe. The Dutch government states that the longer waiting times has nothing to do with discouragement, the only reason is that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) is drowning in the massive influx of asylum seekers. "Last year the IND got extra money and people to work on the backlog", a spokesperson for the Ministry of Security and Justice said.
ChristenUnie Parliamentarian Joel Voordewind finds it interesting that the waiting times continue to increase. "In Germany they have the procedure in order, while they have a much larger influx", he said to the newspaper. Voordewind visited the Alphen aan den Rijn asylum center on Monday, after an Iraqi asylum seeker committed suicide on Saturday. The 30 year old man lost hope when he heard that it will take another six months before his asylum procedure starts and he could not get his passport back to return to his wife and three children, still in Iraq.