Asylum reception cost the Netherlands €800 million last year

Rene van Berlo working at Oisterwijk refugee center
Asylum authority worker Rene van Berlo playing football at an Oisterwijk refugee facility (photo: COA)Asylum authority worker Rene van Berlo playing football at an Oisterwijk refugee facility (photo: COA)

The Netherlands' central agency for asylum seekers COA spent 800 million euros last year to supply the thousands of asylum seekers in the country with a place to sleep, a place to wash and something to eat, the Telegraaf reports based on the COA's financial statements.

Last year's spending on receiving asylum seekers was 300 million euros more than in 2014. The increase can be attributed to the large increase in the number of people seeking asylum in the Netherlands last year. The COA provided food and shelter to a total of 59 thousand asylum seekers in 2015.

One of the big expenses came in the autumn of last year, when municipalities had to help finding a place to sleep for all asylum seekers. These emergency shelters were usually set up in gymnasiums or the like and asylum seekers spent a few days there. The COA paid municipalities 100 euros per asylum seeker per night to cover all the costs. In the peak month of December an average of 1,700 asylum seekers were sleeping in emergency shelters each night.

More than 100 million euros went to renting complexes and buildings to use as asylum centers. Major investments were also made in new reception centers.

Lots of money was also spend in overtime for COA employees, the number of which doubled to about 4 thousand in a year.

In October last year Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem stated that the costs of sheltering asylum seekers may reach 1 billion euros. This may still be the case as other costs -  such as costs involved in sending failed asylum seekers back to their country of origin and money for the Immigration and Naturalization service - were not included in the COA's figures.

In 2014 the government spent a total of 867.8 million euros on asylum, according to figures Geert Wilders made public in June 2015. The PVV received the figures from the Ministry of Security and Justice, according to the party. The 867.9 million euros included all costs related to the reception of asylum seekers.