Councils yield on Dutch deportation policy
6 February 2004
AMSTERDAM — In a signal that official protests against the government’s asylum policy could be short-lived, Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk has reached an agreement with Dutch municipalities and the large cities over the deportation of rejected asylum seekers.
The large cities in the Netherlands had raised concerns about rejected asylum seekers and the possibility they would be thrown out onto the street, public news service NOS reported. The cities threatened to resist evictions of asylum seekers from their homes.
But Verdonk reached an agreement with the Dutch association of municipalities VNG and the nation’s large cities by promising that people who are evicted from their accommodation will be placed in a special deportation centres.
And if the asylum seekers cannot return to the home country within the agreed time period of 16 weeks, they will be remanded in foreigners detention centres. They will thus not end up on the street as previously feared.
The government recently announced that 2,334 asylum seekers will gain a residence permit in a government amnesty designed to clear a backlog of cases from the immigration service IND. But about 26,000 asylum seekers will be deported over a three-year period.
Concerned municipalities have raised strong protests, but received the accommodation guarantee during talks with the minister earlier this week. During those talks, the councils again impressed upon Verdonk that more asylum seekers should have been given a residence permit.
But the minister reminded the Lower House of Parliament, the Tweede Kamer, on Friday that asylum seekers who cannot return to their homeland due to no fault of their own, will be given a residence permit.
She also promised that the immigration service IND will keep municipalities adequately informed over what is happening with the asylum seekers.
The parliament will discuss the amnesty and deportation policy on Monday.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news