A total of 4,400 people applied for asylum in the Netherlands in the third quarter of this year, and 2,300 people joined family members that already have residency in the country, Statistics Netherlands reports. This is the first time since the third quarter of 2016 that the number of new asylum requests is higher than family reunification applications.
As the new Dutch government prepares to present its government agreement, more and more of the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie's plans are leaking to the press. On Monday we've learned that the new government plans more changes to the asylum policy and is giving more money to security.
The Rutte III government is changing the immigration policy, specifically they're limiting immigrants' access to benefits. The VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie are also increasing the low VAT rate from 6 percent to 9 percent, RTL Nieuws reports.
The number of people falling ill in the Netherlands after eating wild mushrooms, increased sharply in 2017. So far this year, the National Poisoning Information Center received 182 questions from medical care providers about mushroom poisoning, compared to 137 in all of last year, NU.nl reports.
The number of children in the Netherlands growing up in a family that receives welfare benefits increased by 2.1 percent to a total of 230 thousand last year, Statistics Netherlands reported on Friday. This number increased every year since 2012.
More than two thirds of children who lived on welfare last year had an immigration background. Half of this group fall under the "other non-western category", compared to 39 percent in 2012. In this category the stats office includes all non-western countries except Morocco, Suriname, Turkey, Aruba and the former Dutch Antilles.
Dutch swimming union KNZB is calling for obligatory swimming lessons for asylum seekers, following the drowning of a 16-year-old Syrian boy in a swimming pool in Venlo on Monday. The union doesn't necessarily want every asylum seekers to get a swimming diploma, but "every child must get compulsory experience with water and swimming", Alice Schols of the KNZB said to RTL Nieuws.
The total population of the Netherlands increased by 35 thousand people in the first half of this year, according to figures Statistics Netherlands released on Monday. Like last year, immigration is still the driving force behind the population growth in the Netherlands.
During the first six months of this year about 100 thousand immigrants settled in the Netherlands, about the same as in the same period in 2016. A total of 69 thousand people emigrated away from the Netherlands. The migration balance is therefore 31 thousand, approximately the same as a year ago.
Dutch refugee organization VluchtelingenWerk and ice cream brand Ben & Jerry's are working together to try and convince European politicians to take in more vulnerable asylum seekers from shelters across the world. Today they launched a campaign titled Home Safe Home, AD reports.
"This is one of the biggest problems of this moment. We are talking about it in the Netherlands for the first time. We have young supporters and we want to activate them for this", Laura van Geel, social mission manager of Ben & Jerry's said to the newspaper.
Two residents of a villa district in Den Helder decided to stop plans for an asylum center housing 16 young asylum seekers on their street by buying the property involved themselves. The villa cost over 500 thousand euros, AD reports.
Over the first five moths of this year the Ministry of Security and Justice deported 480 migrants who were convicted of a crime. Among them were 60 Albanians, 60 Surinamese, 50 Algerians and 50 Moroccans, a spokesperson for the ministry confirmed to NU.nl after reports in AD.
The Ministry's figures show that the proportion of criminal migrants that were forced to leave the Netherlands increased every year since 2011. In that year 72 percent of this group were deported, now it is 80 percent.
Amsterdam agreed to open the Netherlands' first separate center for problem causing asylum seekers. The central organization for the reception of asylum seekers, COA, hopes to have this center open and ready for residents by the fall, the Amsterdam mayor and aldermen informed the city council by letter, AD reports.
Family reunification is still the main reason for immigrants to come to the Netherlands, according to Statistics Netherlands. Even at the peak of the asylum crisis in 2015, there were twice as many family reunification immigrants as asylum seekers given a residency permit, the statistics office said on Monday based on new figures.
In 2015 a total of 159 thousand immigrants moved to the Netherlands. A third of them came to join a family member already living in the Netherlands. The rest came to the Netherlands for work, studies or to apply for asylum.
Several parliamentarians are praising Weert mayor Jos Heijmans for his persistence in getting six North-African asylum seekers prosecuted for breaking curfew over New Year's. On Thursday Heijmans announced that he is turning to court after the Public Prosecutor decided not to prosecute these men.
On Tuesday the Dutch Senate voted in a legislative amendment which states that all immigrants to the Netherlands must sign a pledge to uphold and support Dutch values as part of their integration exam. This amendment to the Integration Law will take effect on October 1st, the Ministry of Social Affairs announced.
VVD leader and current Prime Minister Mark Rutte does not see a breakthrough happening in the government formation talks any time soon. In fact, he worries that new elections may be necessary, he said in a live session the VVD hosted on Facebook on Wednesday afternoon, NU.nl reports.
GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver had to defend himself from all sides in a parliamentary debate about the stalled government formation talks between his party and the VVD, CDA and D66. "We will not send anyone back to countries where it is unsafe", Klaver said in the Tweede Kamer. But the other party leaders did not seem to be buying it, NU.nl reports.
VVD leader and current prime minister Mark Rutte is open to restarting government formation talks with the 'engine' of VVD, CDA, D66 and GroenLinks, but only if green leader Jesse Klaver is willing to come to the table without setting any conditions in advance. Klaver sees no point in continuing the negotiations if the VVD and CDA are not willing to compromise on the immigration and asylum seekers policy, NU.nl reports.
The Dutch diplomatic network is in a "worrying state" and "urgently" needs to be strenghtened to avoid a diplomatic crisis, the advice council for international issues AIV said in a report on Wednesday. The new government will have to invest an extra 70 to 80 million euros annually into the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the report states according to ANP.
King Willem-Alexander is proud of the way in which the Netherlands sheltered 65 thousand asylum seekers that flooded into the country since 2015, he said in an interview with Italian newspaper La Republica. He is proud to say that not one asylum seeker had to sleep on the street, the Telegraaf reports.
The Dutch King called the Netherlands a school example of a multicultural society, and Amsterdam the capital of tolerance. He added that the Netherlands has been sheltering people from all over the world for centuries.
On Thursday evening Edith Schippers announced that government formation talks between the VVD, CDA, D66 and GroenLinks collapsed. The parties could not agree on a migration policy, and there were problems agreeing to issues concerning climate change, sustainability and income equality.
A commemoration for asylum seekers who died in the crossing to Europe arranged for Amsterdam on Thursday evening, at the same time as the national commemoration for WWII victims for Remembrance Day, has been canceled, the initiators announced in an open letter. "Because it was never our intention to commemorate refugees from angry words, we decided to stop our initiative", Matthijs Jaspers said, Het Parool reports.
Amsterdam pastor Rikko Voorberg wants to commemorate killed asylum seekers with 3 thousand white paper crosses on the Rembrandt square in Amsterdam on Remembrance Day. His plan was met by resistance from Jewish organization CIDI and the National Committee for 4 and 5 May, who want to keep the focus of Remembrance Day on victims of World War II, AD reports.