The Government, the VNG, the IPO and the Security Regions Council draw up agreements to bring the crisis around the reception of asylum seekers under control

The situation in the crowded application centre in Ter Apel is untenable. There are not enough emergency or other reception spaces to receive people. Immediate measures are needed to alleviate the situation without delay and to bring the crisis that has ensued under control. The Government, the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), the Association of Provincial Authorities (IPO) and the Security Regions Council have therefore drawn up agreements around the reception of asylum seekers and the housing and integration of asylum permit holders.

This is an integrated package of agreements. To alleviate the situation in Ter Apel, the aim is to set up an emergency reception centre in a nearby municipality, from which asylum seekers can come to Ter Apel in a controlled way for registration and reception purposes. The Security Regions are doing their utmost to create the 225 additional emergency reception spaces that are needed for each region. In addition to the agreed spaces per region, the aim is to create another 225 emergency reception spaces per security region.

To enable more asylum permit holders to leave the reception centre, temporary housing for permit holders is crucial. Local authorities are working hard to house 20,000 asylum permit holders by the end of this year. Wherever possible, this must not result in asylum permit holders taking accommodation away from others who are in urgent need of housing. To this end, additional rented social housing must be built. The quickest way of doing this is to build more temporary dwellings. The target has therefore been increased to 37,500 temporary dwellings over the period 2022-2024. Together with local authorities and provinces, a package has been devised in which partners receive guarantees for the installation and relocation of temporary accommodation.

Minister for Migration Eric Van der Burg:

’Ter Apel is clearly the victim of the shortage of reception spaces in the Netherlands. It’s dreadful to see how many people are having to sleep outside every night because there aren’t enough reception spaces available. So I’m grateful to all the parties involved for their constructive attitude, which has led to these administrative agreements.’

‘We are all seeing inhumane situations that we don’t want to see,’ says chair of the Security Regions Council Hubert Bruls. ‘The need in Ter Apel is huge, so it’s crucial that we quickly get a package of measures together that addresses both the short and the long-term issues. Solidarity is key here; if we are to get out and stay out of the asylum crisis, we need everyone to work together.’

Jaap Smit, chair of the Association of Provincial Authorities (IPO):

‘The images that are being broadcast all over the world from the municipality of Westerwolde in the province of Groningen make it clear that the asylum issue is a major problem for the Netherlands as a whole. Given the shared sense of urgency, the agreements made today are also supported by all the provincial authorities in the Netherlands.’

Hugo De Jonge, Minister for Housing and Spatial Planning:

’If we want to be able to offer everyone a proper place to live, we will have to significantly step up the construction of temporary accommodation. We are doing this for anyone who urgently needs accommodation, people who have been on the waiting list for a long time and people who have obtained the right to remain in the Netherlands after having fled from war and violence. Together with municipalities and provinces, we are giving partners guarantees for the installation and relocation of temporary accommodation at a cost of €316 million.’

Theo Weterings, portfolio holder for Asylum at the VNG: ‘Through these agreements, we are laying a strong shared foundation that should enable us to resolve the inhumane situation in Ter Apel. And we can also help put an end to the crisis around the reception of asylum seekers and the housing and integration of asylum permit holders, in a way that has more support from local authorities and our residents. We are investing in collective forms of housing that can be used in a flexible way to accommodate asylum permit holders, other local people who need to be accommodated quickly and other target groups. A tailor-made approach is important here. The activities that result from these agreements will be fully compensated by the government. Given the difficult financial prospects for local authorities up to 2026, this is important.’