Building Knowledge for a Concerted and Sustainable Approach to Refugee Resettlement in the EU and its Member States

Netherlands: Parliamentary Debate (2011)

Policy statements and debates

Questions and Answers in Dutch House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer der Staten- Generaal)

The segments below are summarily translated by our Dutch Country Collaborator for the Netherlands, Fenya Fischler. The sources (in Dutch) are linked below each item.

Migratiebeleid, Verslag van een Algemeen Overleg, 20 Oktober 2011

Migration policy question and answer session, Minister Leers answers on the strategic use of resettlement

Mrs Van Nieuwenhuizen-Wijbenga(VVD: People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy):

  • Requests information concerning the strategic use of resettlement and whether this will be used in the resettlement of Eritrean refugees from Eastern Sudan. Also asks what the benefits are of the strategic use of resettlement. The VVD is a strong supporter of Regional Protection Programmes.

Minister Leers (Minister for Immigration & Asylum Affairs since 2010, Christian Democratic Appeal)

  • The Netherlands and this cabinet want to maintain the resettlement of refugees. This means that we will maintain our offer to resettle 500 refugees for four years. This amounts to 2000 refugees, in addition to the other applications for asylum that are received. We are aiming to further flesh out the strategic use of resettlement. For example, the Netherlands has participated in the Resettlement in Eastern Sudan and attempt to persuade the Sudanese authorities to locally integrate Eritrean refugees, who have been in Eastern Sudan for a long time. We saw the same situation in relation to the refugees in Libya, who were in a really difficult situation in a refugee camp and had nowhere else to go. We then looked whether they could be relocated to a better place in the framework of our programme. The Netherlands will strongly emphasize the use of strategic resettlement in the EU. We are open to that. European or Dutch resettlement does not stand alone, but must be connected to other durable solutions, local integration, and durable return.
  • Response to a question about the amount/content of communication between the ministers and UNHCR: “I have a lot of contact with UNHCR about individual cases and about the general area of asylum and migration policy, more specifically concerning resettlement and the strengthening of refugee protection.

JBZ-Raad, Verslag van een Algemeen Overleg, 14 Juli 2011

Justice and Home Affairs, Report of a general consultation

 Mr Spekman (PvdA):

Encourages the Minister to support a European resettlement policy for vulnerable refugees. Netherlands makes a modest contribution, but he thinks that all European countries should participate in resettlement, pro rata to existing population and existing migration pressure. The Eastern-European countries should also contribute.  

Minister Leers:

States that he will bring the importance of resettlement to the attention of non-resettlement countries. We want to demonstrate to all non-resettlement countries what the Netherlands do, so they can learn about our approach. Agrees with Mr Spekman that other countries must be made aware of their responsibility concerning the resettlement of refugees.

Schriftelijke antwoorden van de Minister voor Immigratie en Asiel op vragen gesteld in de eerste termijn van de behandeling van de begroting van het ministerie van Justitie voor het jaar 2011, onderdeel vreemdelingenzaken.

Written answers of the Minister for Immigration and Asylum to questions relating to the budget of the Ministry of Justice for 2011, foreign affairs. P.4 question concerning the new reception procedure.

Question: Why is the Minister cancelling the preparatory period with the COA for resettled refugees? Is this a simple austerity measure?

Answer: The proposed measure to place resettled refugees directly in municipalities has as its primary objective that these refugees can immediately start participating to the maximum extent in society. It is already clear before their arrival that they will receive a residence permit in the Netherlands and there is no reason not to provide housing in the municipalities to offer them a good start there. I am convinced that this will be positive for a rapid integration and participation. In addition important savings will be made within the reception budget.

28 April 2011, Antwoord op schriftelijke Kamervragen met kenmerk 2011Z06464

Parliamentary Question concerning the request to resettle Eritrean refugees in North-Africa in Europe. Answer by the Minister for Immigration and Asylum G.B.M. Leers

Question: Are the Netherlands planning to comply with the request of Commissioner Malmström to take in Eritrean refugees residing in North Africa in the European Union?

Answer: Only to the extent that this fits within the Dutch resettlement quota. The emphasis must be placed on reception within the region and where possible, return.

6 Januari 2010, Beantwoording Kamervragen van het lid Van Velzen over uitgenodigde vluchtelingen, Ministerie van Justitie

Q&A Ministry of Justice concerning the selection of invited refugees

UNHCR selects refugees who are eligible for resettlement. The refugees that are considered by the Dutch authorities during resettlement missions have been suggested to the Netherlands by UNHCR.

UNHCR and IND are as careful as possible in the selection of invited refugees. UNHCR suggests refugees which it feels are eligible for resettlement. During a resettlement mission the refugee is interviewed by representatives of IND, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the COA and is examined by a doctor from the Medical Advice Breau. The IND also reviews whether the refugees conform with the admission grounds set out in the Aliens Act (art 29a, b and c). Investigations are also made relating to the exclusion clauses, such as 1F of the Refugee Convention, criminal antecedents and/or threats to public order in the Netherlands.

On the basis of these interviews and information provided by UNHCR individual cases are assessed to establish whether the refugee will be accepted for resettlement in the Netherlands.

Question: Is it possible that a someone who is unable to demonstrate that they belong to a specific vulnerable group, can still be invited to resettle in the Netherlands? If so, is this desirable?

Answer:Refugees may be invited for resettlement in the Netherlands for different reasons. For the Dutch government the protection need of the individual refugee is the main concern. Furthermore there should ben o other durable solution (return or local integration) available for that refugee.

Question: Do you agree that invited refugees should minimally comply with the same criteria for refugee status as those that aliens who are seeking asylum in the Netherlands? Does this happen already, if not, why not?

Answer: Invited refugees are admitted on the same grounds as aliens who seek asylum in the Netherlands. Admission is granted on grounds a, b, or c of the Aliens Act 2000.