Asylum seekers’ return already part-financed from development budget

“We’re already working on it. Helping failed asylum seekers to return to developing countries is already a priority in development policy.”

This was the response of development minister Bert Koenders to a proposal by MP Wim van der Camp (Christian Democratic Alliance) to facilitate the return of asylum seekers with extra funding from the development budget.

In July, Mr Koenders and State Secretary for Justice Nebahat Albayrak submitted the policy memorandum on international migration and development, in which the return scheme is set out in detail, to the House of Representatives. This spring, the Minister and the State Secretary also discussed the scheme at length with the Platform on Sustainable Return. Both welcomed the initiative, but are now waiting for a concrete project proposal.

To date, €5 million has already been disbursed from the development budget to facilitate the voluntary return of failed asylum seekers, either in the form of departure incentives, or contributions towards setting up a business, following a training course, or finding employment or accommodation.

In 2007, €19 million was paid from the development budget for the initial reception of asylum seekers. In 2008 this figure will be increased to €162 million.