Netherlands heading for "socially disruptive" asylum crisis, involved authorities warn
The Netherlands is heading for a “socially disruptive” asylum crisis that will be even more far-reaching than last summer when hundreds of people had to sleep outside. The involved authorities - the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA), the immigration service IND, the police, and the Ministry of Justice and Security - issued this warning in documents seen by NRC. They seem to have no solution in sight, according to the newspaper.
The authorities fear there won’t be any shelter available for thousands of asylum seekers within a few weeks. Undocumented migrants will then roam the country and cause problems, especially in the large cities, the authorities warned. If nothing changes, the COA expects a shortage of 8,000 reception places by April.
Over the past months, the Netherlands hastily set up thousands of shelter spots, so people didn’t have to sleep outside in the winter. But most of them are temporary. Nieuwsuur recently reported that the contracts for 35 locations would expire by June 1, leaving the country 38,000 reception places short.
The Ministry thinks more people will seek safety and shelter in the Netherlands this year than expected. According to NRC’s sources, the new forecasts show 45,000 asylum seekers coming to the Netherlands this year, 10,000 more than the Ministry’s estimate at the end of last year.
The documents give the impression that the involved authorities have exhausted all possible ways to avert this crisis in asylum reception, according to the newspaper. The COA depends on the provinces and municipalities to open new asylum shelters, but the local willingness to take people in is low. The new distribution law, with which the government can force municipalities to take in their share of asylum seekers, is still struggling to get off the ground. The COA expects it to lead to relief only next year at the earliest.