Thousands of asylum seekers who have been denied permission to stay in Netherlands between 2014 and May 2018 are unable to leave because their home countries have refused to accept them back.
According to figures from the repatriation service Dienst Terugkeer en Vertrek (DTV), published by the Telegraaf newspaper, some 2,310 repatriation requests have been turned down while 8,020 requests have been withdrawn due to no response within a year.
Algeria has turned down the most number of requests in 2018, while Afghanistan, Morocco, Iraq and Iran regularly failed to respond to Dutch repatriation requests.
DTV spokesman Lennart Wegwijs said the number of migrants affected was less than 10 000 because some people were the subject of more than one request:
“For some people we have made repeated requests and in some cases we have made applied to several countries for the same person. I can’t say how many people it actually involves. I don’t have those figures.”
Meanwhile, two centers for delinquent asylum seekers will be closed down at the end of the year.
The shelters in Heerenveen and Amsterdam were opened on two-year contracts in 2017 to house 50 migrants who were removed from previous centers for causing trouble.
Authorities have decided to close the Amsterdam center due to the scarcity of properties in the Dutch capital and the local government’s commitment to locals.
Mayor Femke Halsema has asked other towns and cities to help and assume the responsibility of providing shelter to the migrants:
“It is now time for other towns and cities to take on this role.”
In Heerenveen, migrants have been banned from entering key areas of the city due to repeated offenses.
“We have had to deal mainly with people who have no chance of getting a permanent residency permit,” Mayor Niek Loohuis said.
The Dutch Justice Ministry vowed to speed up the processing of asylum requests by people from safe countries, so they can be repatriated as quickly as possible and lessen the number of rejected migrants stranded in the country.