Pressure on asylum reception continues
Pressure on asylum reception has been very high for some time, and the outlook shows that this pressure will only increase. This is evident from several letters sent by State Secretary Van der Maat of Justice and Security to the House of Representatives. Among other things, these letters look ahead to the tasks for 2024 when it comes to the expected influx of asylum seekers, the task for the number of reception places and the target for municipalities to house asylum permit holders. The State Secretary also informed the House of Representatives of the progress of the National Approach to Asylum Seekers Causing Nuisance.
We are asking a lot from all parties within the asylum chain, municipalities and provinces, and this will continue into 2024. The current situation calls for immediate solutions that cannot wait for actions that take a long-term approach or more time. Particularly the movement of asylum permit holders to (temporary) housing provides a lot of space in asylum reception centres. Keeping in mind the local challenges in the housing market, we have worked together with the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, provinces and municipalities looking at possibilities to expand (temporary) housing options. For instance, the concept of transitional sites for the temporary housing of asylum permit holders in the region has been further developed. Flex or transformation projects are being used to bring the housing stock up to standard. And for the short term, hotels and holiday parks are being considered, in coordination with municipalities.
The six-monthly Multiannual Production Forecast (MPP) shows that between 49,000 and 76,000 asylum seekers are expected to come to the Netherlands in 2024. Based on forecasts for inflow, movement and outflow, the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) expects growth to 69,900 reception places on 1 January 2024. This may increase to 96,000 reception places on 1 January 2025. The increasing number of asylum permit holders in reception centres creates significantly higher expected capacity needs. The 96,000 reception places take into account over 21,000 asylum permit holders who are projected to still be in reception places on 1 January 2025. In order to prevent the numbers from actually rising to this level, the government is betting on faster movement of asylum permit holders to (temporary) housing.
Housing asylum permit holders
In the second half of 2023, the target for municipalities to house asylum permit holders was adjusted from 27,300 to 17,600. This is because fewer permits were granted to asylum permit holders in the second half of 2023 than previously expected. However, these residence permits will be issued in 2024, thus simply moving up the moment these asylum permit holders will need housing. Moreover, there are about 16,000 asylum permit holders in COA's reception locations. The housing challenge therefore remains as high as ever. The target for the first half of 2024 has been set at 18,750. The target for housing unaccompanied minor foreign nationals has not been reduced.
Given the caretaker status of the government, the focus in the coming period will be on tackling the most immediate short-term challenges. Naturally, we will continue to work on realising more reception locations in the country and tackle nuisance and criminal behaviour of asylum seekers. For instance, we are working concretely to expand process availability locations.
Naturally, the government will continue its efforts, both nationally and internationally, to get a better grip on migration.