New Dutch gov't expected to boost security spending; shorten asylum seeker residency

Dutch police officers responding to a report of a crime
Dutch police officers responding to a report of a crimePhoto: Politie

As the new Dutch government prepares to present its government agreement, more and more of the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie's plans are leaking to the press. On Monday we've learned that the new government plans more changes to the asylum policy and is giving more money to security.

According to the Telegraaf, the new government is increasing the budget for the 'legal chain', which includes the police and Public Prosecutor, every year. In 2019 the chain will receive 430 million euros extra, and that amount will increase to almost half a billion euros by the end of the cabinet period. 

A large part of that money is destined for the police. The Rutte III cabinet is investing a total of 270 million euros into community police officers. And 60 million euros of the extra money is intended for the fight against cybercrime, according to the newspaper.

As far as the asylum policy is concerned, the new government wants to limit the number of times an asylum seeker can re-apply for asylum in the Netherlands. If re-application documents show that the asylum seeker has no chance at success, there will not be an additional hearing, according to the newspaper. The intention behind this is to reduce pressure on the judiciary. 

Sources also told the Telegraaf that in future the residency permit granted to refugees will only be valid for three years, instead of the current five years. After three years, the authorities will investigate whether it is possible for the asylum seeker to return to his or her home country. If that is not the case, the residency permit will be extended by two years. After five years, asylum seekers who still meet all the requirements for refugee status, can apply for a residency permit that is valid for an indefinite period.

Last week we already learned that the new government plans to offer immigrants, including asylum seekers, more help in the integration process, but restrict their access to welfare benefits. 

According to broadcaster NOS, the Rutte III government also plans to change the rules so that Dutch jihadists who joined the terrorist conflict in Syria can be kept in custody for longer when they return to the Netherlands. This is to give the Dutch authorities more time to find evidence of possible crimes committed by Dutch jihadists in the war zone. A judge will check periodically whether the time in custody is proportional to the suspected crimes. 

The negotiators for the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie are finalizing their government agreement on Monday morning and will send it to their parties' factions during the course of the day, according to RTL Nieuws. The factions have to approve te agreement. The expectation is that they will do so, though they may request some small adjustments. The final agreement is expected to be presented on Tuesday.