First 25 refugees from Greece arrive in the Netherlands

The first 25 refugees from Greece have arrived in the Netherlands. They are among those who were displaced by the fires at the Greek reception camp Moria in September. Following the fires, the Netherlands offered to accept 100 vulnerable refugees. A second reception centre for unaccompanied foreign minors (AMVs) has also been opened on the Greek mainland. These developments represent further steps in the collaboration between the Netherlands and Greece to improve the reception of refugees. This according to a letter from Minister for Migration Broekers-Knol, which was presented to the House of Representatives on 18 December.

Relocation of refugees

An additional 24 refugees will arrive in the Netherlands in the days ahead, bringing the total to around 10 Syrian families with 27 children under the age of 18. The refugees have tested negative for COVID-19 and undergone quarantine in Greece before being relocated to the Netherlands. Upon their arrival, they will first stay in a facility of the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA), after which they will be moved to permanent accommodation as soon as possible in consultation with municipal authorities.

In addition to this group, the Dutch government is making every effort to bring the remaining 50 vulnerable refugees to the Netherlands as quickly as possible. Together with Greek partners and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) and COA are determining who will be the best candidates to come to the Netherlands as part of this initiative. Factors for consideration include whether someone qualifies for a Dutch asylum permit and whether he or she has family members in the Netherlands. Because of the careful attention required when dealing with this vulnerable group, such a task unfortunately takes time.

Opening of second reception centre

The second Greek-Dutch shelter for AMVs on the Greek mainland opened for use this month. Sixteen boys are currently being housed there. Minister of Migration Broekers-Knol was given a virtual tour of the premises with her Greek colleague last Wednesday.

‘This second shelter in Greece has successfully been opened in the midst of a strict lockdown. I am truly impressed that Movement on the Ground and The HOME Project have managed to get this done. With this accomplishment, the Netherlands and Greece have taken another step forward in improving the reception of unaccompanied minor refugees’, 

 said Broekers-Knol during the tour.

This facility – part of a three-year Greek-Dutch programme to improve the care and guardianship of AMVs in Greece – is the second of three planned shelters. All efforts are being made to open the third shelter as soon as possible as well. The programme has been established through close cooperation between the Greek and Dutch authorities, including Nidos. The shelters are being set up and run by the Dutch organisation Movement on the Ground and the Greek organisation The HOME Project.