The influx of asylum seekers is changing in terms of composition
About twenty-five percent of the initial asylum applications in the first months of 2016 were filed by people from a safe country. These individuals basically have no need for protection and the process for their return has accelerated since 1 March. The 2015 annual figures that were released by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) today show that mainly Syrians (around 27,700) and Eritreans (around 8,400) made their way to the Netherlands last year. In total, 58,880 asylum seekers filed an asylum application in 2015. The high influx has resulted in the current waiting times for asylum seekers - to have their applications processed by the IND - increasing to approximately seven months. The overall asylum recognition rate (excluding journeys in connection with family reunification) was around 70 percent in 2015.
At the beginning of 2016 the majority of the 4,400 initial applications were also submitted by Syrians. This group accounted for roughly 1,000 applications in the first nine weeks of the year. A total of 6,300 asylum applications were filed during the first nine weeks. This number includes roughly 4,400 initial asylum applications, 300 repeat asylum applications, and applications for 1,600 family members of people who have already been issued an asylum residence permit in the Netherlands.
Apart from Syrians, a fifth of the initial asylum applications at the beginning of 2016 were filed by Albanians, Serbians and Kosovans (collectively accounting for roughly 900 asylum seekers), countries that are considered safe countries of origin by the Netherlands. During this period 500 asylum seekers entered from Albania, 200 from Serbia, and 200 from Kosovo. In addition, lower numbers of asylum seekers from other safe countries also filed applications. This means that the total number of applications for asylum from safe countries accounts for a quarter of all initial applications.
Applications for asylum from safe countries of origin are handled with priority. They are basically heard by the IND immediately after arrival in the Netherlands, and, in principle, are rejected. An accelerated procedure also applies for these cases as of 1 March. This procedure comprises one hearing. Applications for asylum from a safe country may be rejected as manifestly unfounded. This means, among other things, that the asylum seeker who has been rejected asylum may not await the results of his or her appeal in the Netherlands and must leave the Netherlands immediately. This person therefore no longer has a right to reception. However, an asylum seeker from a safe country of origin is given an opportunity to demonstrate why the relevant country is perhaps unsafe in his or her specific situation. This person will however have to provide more evidence to demonstrate that he or she needs protection.
A country is considered a safe country of origin if, for example, there is no prosecution due to race or religion, and / or if people are not tortured or treated inhumanely. Countries like Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia are on the list of safe countries, and so are countries like Morocco and Mongolia along with other countries in Europe, Oceania and America.
Asylum seekers who previously registered in a different European country and then registered in the Netherlands (the so-called Dublin claimants), may be repatriated to the European country where they were initially registered, in order to complete the asylum procedure. This group also receives priority treatment from the IND. By treating the Dublin claimants and asylum seekers from safe countries with priority, they no longer occupy accommodation places for months on end. After all, Minister for Migration Dijkhoff (Security and Justice) truly needs these places for asylum seekers from other categories.