Temporary municipal reception space urgently needed for asylum

There is an acute shortage of asylum reception spaces in the Netherlands. Many temporary locations are closing, too few locations are being opened, and existing ones are full. In addition, the influx in the first months of 2024 is considerably higher than in the same period last year. On top of that, the outflow of status holders to regular housing, hotels and transitional locations is too slow. The result is a considerable backlog in the accommodation target. 12,000 reception places are needed by 1 July 2024. Therefore, the government is urgently requesting municipalities for 5,000 temporary municipal reception places. In addition, the government is offering state-owned land for erecting large pavilions for accommodation. This is what the State Secretary of Justice and Security, Eric van der Burg, and the Minister of Home Affairs, Hugo de Jonge, are writing in a letter to the House of Representatives.

State Secretary Eric van der Burg: "We see that hard work is being done at the provincial coordination desks to realise 96,000 places by next year. That is laudable because those places are needed. But for the short term, the Dispersal Act does not provide a solution and the places are needed right now. We are beholden to the residents of Westerwolde and Ter Apel – and also to the other municipalities that constantly step in when the need is high – to pull together now. We can solve this if everyone makes their contribution."

Serious shortages

Due to the persistent high influx of asylum seekers and the closure of many temporary locations, there are serious short-term shortages. Provincial Coordination Desks (PCTs), led by the King's Commissioners, and municipalities are working on plans to establish 96,000 places, in accordance with the introduction of the Dispersal Act. These places must be available by 1 July 2025 at the latest. In the run-up to these reception places, a serious shortage is emerging in the short term that can no longer be filled by the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA).

Due to the number of asylum seekers expected this year, 12,000 places need to be replaced or found additionally by 1 July 2024. The COA will achieve a good number of these by organising new reception places and looking into whether existing temporary locations can remain open. The COA is also placing status holders in hotels temporarily. It will not be possible to organise all reception places by means of these measures and consequently there will be an actual shortage of 5,000 places on 1 July of this year. A large shortage of reception places is also expected to exist after 1 July 2024.

Government measures

The government is taking two measures to prevent this shortage. Municipalities are being asked to urgently organise temporary accommodation, through the provincial coordination desks.  That should amount to 200 places per security region within four weeks. A quarter of these places are requested to be made available by 22 April 2024 at the latest.

Meanwhile, the Ministries of Justice and Security, Home Affairs, Defence, the State Property Agency and National Forest Service are freeing up land and buildings that are owned by the State. Large temporary locations can be deployed here for asylum reception spaces.