Not enough money, manpower to handle asylum applications: Inspectorate

The Netherlands’ Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) does not have enough money or staff to always assess asylum applications properly, the Justice and Security Inspectorate said in a report on Tuesday. Employees’ workload is too high, and the assessment of asylum application falls short on multiple points, partly due to a shortage of experienced employees, the Inspectorate said, reports.

Due to the shortage of experienced staff, new employees are often left to assess increasingly complex asylum applications on their own. And due to the high workload, employees either have to rush through applications or skip breaks and work through the evening. 

Staff shortages also resulted in the IND suspending quality controls for several months last year. This means that for months no one checked whether often inexperienced employees processed asylum applications correctly. 

According to the researchers, it is time for the Ministry to take action to ensure “the availability of sufficient capacity and (financial) resources.” In turn, the IND must ensure that employees have enough time to collect sufficient information from asylum applicants in order to arrive at a “well-founded judgment.”

Problems have plagued the asylum process in the Netherlands for some time. At the start of 2020, over 15,000 asylum applications had not been processed within the statutory period, leading to the State paying millions of euros in fines. This year, about one-third of family reunification applications have been pending for longer than the statutory six months. The IND promised to be more lenient with family reunification applications following criticism of its inhumane treatment of refugees. Some haven’t seen their spouses or children in over a year. 

Children’s Ombudsman Margrite Kalverboer also accused the IND and reception agency COA of neglecting children at the Ter Apel registration center to the point that they leave the center with more trauma than they arrived with. 

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