Netherlands to create volunteer jobs for 14,000 refugees

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)

In the coming years the Dutch government will be giving more refugees the opportunity to do volunteer work in the country with the aim of helping them with their integration, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment announced on Saturday. Minister Lodewijk Asscher made a million euros available to create about 14 thousand volunteer jobs, ANP reports.

This project is aimed at both refugees - who were granted a residency permit - and asylum seekers - who are still waiting - in asylum shelters across the Netherlands. They will be drawn into volunteer work in different municipalities, giving them a chance to mingle and get used to the local population and the way of life in the Netherlands.

A trial run was done with volunteer work for refugees and asylum seekers in Nijmegen and Utrecht. In the coming year, the project will be extended to shelters in ten other municipalities. In 2.5 years the aim is to have 25 asylum shelters involved.

Asscher is a big supporter of having asylum seekers start volunteering as soon as possible after arriving in our country. "In this way he or she gets to know our language, society and way of working. Through volunteering asylum seekers can also make a positive contribution to Dutch society. It also increases the chance of a paid job."

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