Amnesty to cost EUR 360 million

19th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

19 September 2007, AMSTERDAM (dpa) - The new amnesty arrangement for long-time asylum seekers in the Netherlands will cost the justice department EUR 360 million, it was reported Tuesday.

19 September 2007

AMSTERDAM (dpa) - The new amnesty arrangement for long-time asylum seekers in the Netherlands will cost the justice department EUR 360 million, it was reported Tuesday.

Earlier this year Dutch State secretary for Justice Nebahat Albayrak said foreigners who applied for asylum no later than 2001 and lived in the Netherlands for six consecutive years, would be granted citizenship.

The justice department expects 30,000 people to benefit from the arrangement. Half have already been notified that they meet conditions, while 9,000 have been naturalised.

In its 2008 budget released on Tuesday, the government allocated some 138 million of the EUR 360 million to the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA).

The COA is responsible for housing asylum seekers during the first stage of their stay in the Netherlands. The authority has already received EUR 123.6 million to implement the new amnesty law in 2007, and it is due to receive another 43 million in 2009.

The umbrella organisation of Dutch municipalities VNG, responsible for finding regular housing for the new citizens, will receive EUR 55 million from the government in 2008.

A spokeswoman for the justice ministry said the amnesty arrangement will eventually also save money, since as more people move to regular homes, less people will need to be housed by the COA, resulting in lower expenses.

The immigration services are also expected to need fewer employees. With 30,000 people becoming Dutch citizens, the legal procedures they filed to appeal the previous rejection of their applications for asylum, can be annulled.

[Copyright dpa 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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