Fifty Ukrainian asylum seekers arrive in NL; Volunteers offer shelter
Fifty asylum seekers from Ukraine have now reported to the asylum seekers' center in Ter Apel, confirmed a spokesperson for State Secretary Eric van der Burg (Asylum). Under the name Room For Ukraine, a group of volunteers wants to arrange shelter for Ukrainian asylum seekers who come to the Netherlands and other European countries.
Residents are fleeing Ukraine because of Russian attacks throughout the country. Van der Burg said on Friday that the Cabinet is making an effort to take in asylum seekers from Ukraine. "Now there are dozens, but that could soon be hundreds, or several thousand. At least we are prepared for that."
Asylum seekers from Ukraine with a passport do not have to report to an asylum seekers' center, but they can. Citizens of Ukraine can stay in the Netherlands for at least 90 days without a visa. The government is considering extending that period to up to 2 years. According to Van der Burg, the length of the extension depends on the situation in Ukraine.
According to Room For Ukraine initiator Louis de Mast, ten people from different countries have already registered to make their homes available to asylum seekers from Ukraine within hours of the website going online.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has displaced over 7 million people, the European Commission estimates. The "greatest humanitarian disaster in Europe in many, many years" is looming, European Commissioner Janez Lenarčič said on Sunday.
De Mast said he is determined to find a solution for this group of asylum seekers. "We could no longer look on helplessly. Shelter must be arranged quickly for our brothers and sisters from Ukraine. Enough Europeans have space in their home and their hearts."
Reporting by ANP.