Cabinet could reward municipalities for taking in more asylum seekers
State Secretary Eric van der Burg (Asylum) spoke with the coalition parties on Wednesday about his new plan to get more municipalities to take in asylum seekers. He proposed that municipalities that take in more asylum seekers than their proportionate share get a financial reward, sources confirmed after reports by AD.
Van der Burg is working on a new “distribution law” that will oblige municipalities to take in a certain number of asylum seekers. The purpose of the law is to ensure that there is enough accommodation for the people who need it. Municipalities currently do this on a voluntary basis, but in the future, they will all be obliged to take in a proportional share of asylum seekers.
Municipalities who do more than necessary could get a financial bonus for this, also to make doing so more attractive. According to AD, it concerns “several thousand euros” per asylum seeker.
This proposal comes after weeks of Van der Burg pleading with municipalities to take in more asylum seekers. The asylum registration center in Ter Apel has been overcrowded for months, with hundreds of people, including children, sleeping on the floor or even outside.
Multiple agencies have criticized the situation in the Dutch asylum shelters, raising concerns about children in particular. Last week, Van der Burg again asked the Dutch municipalities to arrange 1,700 extra spots for unaccompanied children - kids who came to seek asylum in the Netherlands without a parent or guardian. Only one municipality agreed to help, the State Secretary told parliament on Wednesday.
On Monday, the Children’s Ombudsman again sounded the alarm about children in Ter Apel, NOS reports. She found children at the registration center who had spent several nights sleeping on chairs or on the floor under a sheet. She reported that the children were “gray with fatigue,” had “insufficient food,” and had no access to sanitary facilities. “They brush their teeth with their fingers on the toilet, and there is no shower.”
Reporting by ANP and NL Times