Backlog of undecided IND asylum applications climbs toward record high
The number of asylum applications the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) needs to assess is approaching an all-time high. Only 180 fewer asylum seekers are currently awaiting a decision than during the 2015 asylum crisis, when applications peaked, according to the NOS.
Almost 30,000 asylum seekers are waiting for their applications for residency to be processed. This is creating a backlog of asylum seekers who need a temporary place to stay, as shelters become more and more crowded, said Vluchtelingenwerk spokesman Martijn van der Linden.
"The longer asylum seekers have to wait for their procedure, the more reception places are needed," Van der Linden told the NOS. "Everyone benefits from a quick asylum procedure."
However, the IND says it is not equipped to deal with the current flow of asylum seekers, who are mainly coming from Afghanistan, Syria, Turkey and Yemen. The Cabinet is now extending the "decision period" from six to 15 months, since the IND was only able to meet the deadline for a decision in a third of cases in April 2022.
The accumulation of undecided cases is due to a number of factors. The IND itself is understaffed, with around 380 positions currently open. Some of these positions have now been filled, but training also takes some time, according to the NOS. More asylum seekers are also coming now that most coronavirus travel restrictions have been rolled back. The service also said the decision process has become more complicated in recent years, due to European rules and Dutch court judgements alike.
Vluchtelingenwerk believes the IND needs to receive better financing to deal with these problems. Currently, the service says it is on track to decide on its quota of 22,000 asylum applications this year.