Refugees and migration

Because of conflicts and unsafe situations, there are now 65 million refugees worldwide –more than ever before. The majority receive emergency accommodation in their own region. There they must be given the opportunity to secure a livelihood until they can return home, instead of feeling impelled to travel on to Europe.

How is the Netherlands helping provide safe reception for refugees?

  • Education for refugee children
    The Netherlands supports education programmes for the over 3.5 million children aged 5 to 17 who cannot attend school. Locations include Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and the Horn of Africa. Besides primary education, the focus is on creating opportunities on the job market for young people, especially girls.

  • Work and income
    The Netherlands encourages local businesses to employ refugees and gives targeted support to startups.

  • Improving public facilities
    Many refugees and migrants move to towns and villages because they offer better prospects for work than refugee camps. However, public facilities in these locations, like healthcare, water supply, waste disposal and electricity, are not equipped to handle such large numbers of people. The Netherlands therefore works in partnership with the World Bank, the European Union, and local authorities and organisations to strengthen and expand public facilities.

  • Protecting vulnerable people
    Vulnerable people such as ethnic minorities, children and victims of sexual violence need extra protection in unstable situations.

Better migration management

The Netherlands works together with countries which large numbers of migrants come from or travel through. The focus is on:

  • protecting human rights
  • preventing irregular migration
  • combating people smuggling
  • better border control
  • stimulating voluntary return

In addition, the government wants to prevent migrants being exploited or becoming victims of human trafficking, now or in the future. Through programmes run by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Netherlands assists the voluntary return of migrants stranded in North African countries – an alternative to making the dangerous sea-crossing to Europe.

Prospects: innovative partnership for hosting refugees

Prospects is an international partnership programme for improving the hosting and protection of refugees in countries in their region of origin.

Prospects is aimed to help refugees to build a new life and to better integrate in their new country. Supporting host communities and strengthening social cohesion are therefore key parts of the partnerships’ approach.  

Prospects, initiated by the Netherlands, will invest €500 million in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Uganda, Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia. Funds will be invested in programmes that provide education, skills and jobs to refugees and their host communities. Safeguarding refugees’ human rights is another theme Prospects will focus on. Programmes and project will involve local governments as well as the private sector. Partners in the Prospects partnership are:

  • The Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
  • International Finance Corporation (IFC);
  • International Labour Organisation (ILO);
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); 
  • United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF);
  • World Bank.