Asylum seekers policy changes, more staff are needed

, Comments 2 comments

Asylum seekers are to be encouraged to take on voluntary work while they wait to hear the outcome of their application to stay in the Netherlands.

The change of approach was announced by Jan-Kees Goet, director of the asylum seekers centres organisation COA, in an interview with the Volkskrant.

Those waiting for the outcome of their application will be encouraged to volunteer at places such as neighbourhood centres or local football clubs.

'It's no good to me to have them staring out of the window,' Goet told the paper. 'They become depressed. You need to keep them as active as possible so they have the strength for the next step, whether in the Netherlands or back in their own country.'


Goet took over as director of the COA in 2011 and oversaw a major reorganisation in a period of low immigration, during which 14 centres were closed and 40% of the staff was made redundant.

However, the increase in asylum seekers this summer means he has reopened a number of centres and is ringing former workers asking them to return to work.

Goet expects the number of asylum seekers this year to reach 17,000, the highest figure since 2002. Many of them come from Syria, fleeing the civil war, but large numbers of Eritreans and Somalians are also arriving in the Netherlands.


2 Comments To This Article

  • Gupta M posted:

    on 4th November 2013, 16:49:55 - Reply

    Mr. Goet took a wise step
  • HTD posted:

    on 4th November 2013, 15:15:01 - Reply

    "Asylum seekers are to be encouraged to take on voluntary work."
    What a colossal disconnect! On the one hand the government and IND are supposedly 'encouraging' asylum seekers to take on voluntary work, which sounds logical, except for the fact that it's impossible for some who have been granted asylum and 5 year, residency permits in other EU Member States to find any open jobs. There are those, who have volunteered for university, graduate level, research positions seeking to find any voluntary work, however the system is not set up as such with any open positions for them to fill. These scholars have tried to volunteer their talents, but there are no places established within the university system to allow them to work absolutely free, because then, for them to be able to volunteer their work, they must be granted a visa to work and that's where everything unravels.
    So let's make sure that there are actually volunteer positions available for the best and brightest of these refugees, before making it appear as if they are not willing to work for free. They are very willing to volunteer and need no encouragement to do so!