Asylum minister: application process faster

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The number of asylum seekers who are told within a week whether they can stay in the Netherlands has nearly doubled over the past year, Immigration and Asylum Minister Gerd Leers says.

In the first half of 2010 only 29 percent of the applications were processed within a week. Now the percentage stands at 54 percent, the minister said on television. He will inform parliament on Monday. The government aims to speed up the procedure. “It is outrageous”, Mr Leers added, that some asylum seekers have had to wait up to 14 years for a final ruling.

The minister also announced plans to overhaul the current rules for underage refugees who arrive here without their parents. Under the current legislation, underage refugees have to leave the country once they turn 18. Mr Leers said that under the proposed law minors will no longer automatically be allowed to remain in the Netherlands until they reach the age of 18.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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