Netherlands readying 50,000 placements for Ukrainian refugees
The 25 Dutch security regions must each prepare to take in 2,000 asylum seekers from Ukraine. Within two weeks, the security regions must be ready to take in at least a thousand people each. Shelters must be designated within five days, the Ministry of Justice and Security decided in consultation with the Security Council, NOS and NU.nl report.
The Netherlands is preparing for the arrival of many asylum seekers fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine. On Thursday, the United Nations refugee agency UNCHR estimated that over a million Ukrainians had already been displaced. And that number increases sharply every day.
So far, Amsterdam has space available for 80 people in hostels. The Harskamp barracks in Ede, Gelderland, can shelter 800 people. The Koninklijke Marechaussee, a policing force that works as part of the Dutch military and is responsible for border security, has been referring Ukrainian asylum seekers they encounter at the border or airports to these locations.
Waddinxveen also opened a shelter for 50 people on Thursday. The Rotterdam-Rijnmond Security Region is preparing 2,000 places. The municipality of Rotterdam hired two river cruise ships where about a thousand asylum seekers can stay.
Due to the association agreement concluded between the EU and Ukraine in 2017, Ukrainians can stay in the Netherlands for a period visa-free. The period is normally 90 days, but the Cabinet plans to extend it to up to two years, depending on how the Russian invasion develops.
Because Ukrainians can stay in the Netherlands without a visa for a while, they do not immediately have to apply for asylum. Therefore, the Ministry of Justice and Security asked municipalities not to refer Ukrainian asylum seekers to the asylum center in Ter Apel - where all new asylum seekers have to file their first request - but to arrange shelter for them themselves.