New unfair delay found in processing of some asylum seekers
With the rise of new reception centers, a new form of inequality has developed in the asylum registration process. People who came to the Netherlands before the opening of the overflow processing location in Zoutkamp often have to wait longer than those who arrived after.
Those people await their registration procedure elsewhere in the country. The issue was first reported by RTV Noord, and was confirmed by a spokesperson for the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA).
The situation that has surfaced has to do with the new system, in which people who cannot immediately go to the Ter Apel registration center due to crowds are taken to Zoutkamp and assigned a number. This ticket system prevents asylum seekers from sleeping outside for fear of losing their place in line. An appointment is linked to the number, instructing them when to return to Ter Apel for the registration and identification procedure.
Before Zoutkamp was opened, people who could not go to Ter Apel were taken to crisis shelter locations in various places in the country. They were then able to register and identify themselves in Budel. The COA hoped to get these people caught up within six weeks from 15 September, but it may indeed be the case "that if you came to the Netherlands earlier and were accommodated elsewhere, you may have to register later," the spokesperson said.
The Ministry of Justice and Security agreed that people who entered the crisis emergency shelter earlier sometimes have to wait longer to start the procedure. According to a spokesperson for the ministry, the situation began with the introduction of the number system. At the same time, it was decided to send the others who came earlier to Budel for registration. This created relief at Ter Apel and the backlog can likely be eliminated more quickly, according to the department.
The COA did not know how many people were still in crisis shelters awaiting the start of the registration process. The ministry also does not know exactly how many people are involved and how much longer they will have to wait. According to RTV Noord, the issue concerned about 2,000 people on 16 August, but more recent figures were not available.
Reporting by ANP