The government is struggling to cope with a flood of migrants who are being turned away by Europe’s governments, with some asylum seekers facing expulsion, a report has found.
Key points:The Netherlands says it will provide accommodation for up to 5,000 migrants, and expects up to 1,000 to be processed in one weekAsylum seekers arriving in Europe face “an unacceptable risk of deportation”, the Netherlands’ Minister of Home Affairs saidThe Netherlands has already seen up to 6,000 asylum seekers arrive, with thousands expected to arrive over the next few weeksThe migrant crisis has gripped Europe’s biggest economy, with hundreds of thousands arriving from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan to escape war and poverty in the Middle East.
The Dutch government says it has received 1,500 applications for asylum, with most rejected.
But the government has struggled to cope as asylum seekers are being denied access to healthcare, the lack of housing and other basic needs.
“The Dutch Government has received around 5,500 asylum applications, of which only around 4,000 have been accepted,” Home Affairs Minister Jan Bartels said.
“We have already seen at least 1,600 people arriving to the Netherlands with serious health problems.
We are currently in the process of processing at least 2,600 applications, and expect to be processing around 3,000.”
The Netherlands is also dealing with an influx of Syrians, with more than 10,000 arriving in the country in the past week alone.
“Asylum requests are up in the Netherlands compared to the first two weeks of the year, but this is a matter of some concern as we are already facing an unacceptable risk that refugees could be expelled,” Mr Bartels told the Netherlands’s broadcaster RTL.
“This is a crisis that needs to be solved.”
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has warned of a surge in the numbers of migrants coming to Europe, and said it has seen a record number of arrivals this year.
“More than 1.4 million refugees, many fleeing conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan and other parts of the world, have arrived in Europe this year,” UNHCR spokesman Thomas Prendergast said.
The latest arrival from Syria was from the northern province of Idlib, which has seen up from around 300 in December, according to the UN High Commissioner.
The UNHCR is also urging EU countries to take in more Syrians.
“Since the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011, the number of Syrians fleeing to Europe has risen to nearly 3.5 million,” UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said.
“This is the largest refugee influx in EU history.”
A total of 2.6 million Syrians have registered as refugees in the EU since 2015, and are entitled to refugee status.
A Dutch foreign ministry spokesperson said the Netherlands is facing a “disproportionate influx” of asylum seekers.
“Our country is overwhelmed and we are working with our partners in the European Union to help us to cope,” he said.
Meanwhile, the government is also planning to offer accommodation to migrants in an attempt to get them to the mainland.
“To the extent that the Netherlands can offer accommodation, it is going to be for the number that are on the island of Kos,” Minister Bartels added.
“If you want to stay here, it’s an issue that needs a solution.
There’s an enormous risk of expulsion.”