SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Dutch immigration service IND has set aside €65.4m to compensate asylum seekers whose cases take too long to process this year, website Nu.nl reported on Thursday.
The figure, first reported on by the Telegraaf, is included in the justice ministry’s budget. The IND has six months to assess an asylum case, and if it fails to do so, it faces a ‘fine’ of up to €15,000 per person.
Last year the IND handed out €6.6m to refugees whose applications for asylum took too long to deal with. The payouts have mounted steadily over the years and in April, junior justice minister Ankie Broekers-Knol pledged to scrap them.
In April, the government set up a special task force and charged it with clearing the backlog of 15,300 cases, but so far just 4,000 of them have been processed.
The task force focuses on people who arrived in the Netherlands before April 1 while new arrivals fall under the regular procedures, and this is likely to mean their cases will be examined earlier.
Refugees have been staging demonstrations at asylum seekers centres in protest at the delays they face. They say it is unfair that the cases of people who have just arrived in the Netherlands are being processed more quickly.