Legislative proposal: better distribution of sufficient reception places across the Netherlands
Working together to ensure sufficient asylum reception facilities with a more balanced distribution across the country. This is the core of a legislative proposal by State Secretary Eric van der Burg, which was submitted for consultation today.
State Secretary Van der Burg:
“We need more peace, stability and a fairer distribution in asylum reception facilities. By means of this legislative proposal, this task will also come to lie with the municipalities and provinces. Another new element is that municipalities that voluntarily offer places will have more to spend on their residents. With these measures, we will be making progress in tackling the reception crisis.”
“Given the unrest in the world, the shortages on the housing market and the high pressure on the asylum chain, this will not yet be sufficient. Together with the government, I will continue to work on measures that ensure greater control over the applications, their processing and, if necessary, the return procedure.”
By means of the legislative proposal, the government will be offering a reward to municipalities that offer additional places on their own initiative – over and above what is requested of them in terms of numbers. If the total supply does not satisfy the required number of places, the provinces and municipalities will distribute the additional places as a statutory duty. The provinces and municipalities will be given scope to implement solutions that work in local practice.
The legislative proposal includes a two-year distribution cycle with three basic steps:
In February, the government will draw up an estimate of the number of places required for the next two years. This will also include places for unaccompanied minors, for example. The State Secretary will then map out the existing long-term places and will ask the municipalities to voluntarily offer additional places, over and above what is requested of them in terms of numbers. The reward: €2,500 per place per 2-year distribution cycle.
If sufficient places are not available by 1 May, the provinces and municipalities will be given the task of distributing the additional required capacity between themselves. The 12 provinces will report on this to the State Secretary before 1 July.
He will then reach a distribution decision before 1 September. If the distribution per province is viable and balanced, he will adopt the proposed distribution. If not, in extreme cases the State Secretary will determine the distribution decision himself.
By 2023, a total of around 55,000 places will be needed. Currently, around 15,000 long-term places are available. If we suppose that municipalities offer an additional 10,000 places for a reward, on top of what is requested of them in terms of numbers, this will still leave a shortage of 30,000 places. The province and municipalities will jointly determine how to distribute this capacity under the statutory duty. If they succeed, the government will adopt this distribution.
Reward for municipalities taking the initiative
The government wishes to acknowledge the fact that municipalities are making efforts to provide asylum reception facilities on their own initiative. The extra reward for a municipality can be allocated freely for the benefit of its inhabitants. This is in addition to the actual compensation for the costs incurred by municipalities for the reception of asylum seekers. The condition is that it must involve a reception location with a minimum of 100 places, available for at least 5 years. Locations that will become available within 1 year can also be counted.
Solving shortages by creating long-term places
The reward will make it more attractive for municipalities to invest in long-term reception locations. In this way, additional capacity will also become available gradually in the years ahead and fewer and fewer places will have to be allocated as a statutory duty. This creation of long-term reception locations is necessary to solve the current shortage of tens of thousands of places.
Local solutions that work in practice
The legislative proposal will improve the distribution across the Netherlands, although this does not mean that all 344 municipalities will provide reception facilities at the same time. Municipalities can help each other and reach agreements with the province about who does what. This ties in better with local practice. For example, one municipality might soon have a suitable reception facility while a neighbouring municipality may do more in another area.
There is also an additional financial incentive to ensure that sufficient places are available. If a province realises additional places above 75% of their task, they will receive a reward of €1,500 per place per 2-year distribution cycle. The money will then be distributed pro rata among the municipalities that are doing more than is required in terms of numbers.
Evaluation and next steps
Within two years of the introduction of the act, a test will be carried out to identify the effects of the act in practice. An evaluation will take place after four years. No later than four years after the act enters into force, the government will initiate a new legislative proposal to definitively determine the supervision of the implementation of the task by the municipalities. The legislative proposal has now been submitted for consultation for a period of two weeks.
Would you like to contribute to this topic? The Ministry of Justice and Security is inviting interested parties to respond to the legislative proposal. This input can be used to further improve the legislative proposal. The internet consultation is open up to and including 21 November.