Cabinet agrees on limiting influx of asylum seekers, brake on family reunification

The cabinet has agreed on measures to limit the influx of asylum seekers. This containment is part of a major plan to improve the reception of asylum seekers.

The distressing and unsustainable situation in Ter Apel calls for immediate solutions, writes Secretary of State Van der Burg in a letter to the House of Representatives.


the one hand, the cabinet will take measures to limit the influx of asylum seekers. On the other hand, municipalities are working on 20,000 additional places to live for status holders (asylum seekers with a residence permit) so that they can move on faster from the crowded asylum seekers centers, as it became known earlier today.

In order to limit the inflow, status holders are no longer allowed to allow their families to travel if they do not have housing. If no home has been found after 15 months, these family members will still receive a visa.

According to Secretary of State Van der Burg, people simply get their visas if they are entitled to it, but later. This temporary measure can ease the pressure on the shelters.

According to international treaties, the Netherlands is obliged to make family reunification possible, but Secretary of State Van der Burg says that childcare is now simply impossible:

There will be more time for the Immigration and Naturalization Service to assess whether applicants for a residence permit are entitled to do so. The term goes from 6 to 15 months.


Netherlands also temporarily suspends the obligation to take over 1000 refugees from camps in Turkey every year, a European agreement from the so-called ‘Turkey deal’. This should lead to 1000 fewer asylum seekers next year.

Extra reception location

The cabinet is also releasing 15 million euros for an additional reception location. This location could offer โ€œsober receptionโ€ from which asylum seekers can go to Ter Apel for the application procedure. Van der Burg said he hoped that the location will be there by September 10 at the latest. He could not yet tell which location it will be.

Defence is also going to make a location available. Which one that will be is not yet clear either.


can be no question of an asylum stop, which some parties in the House of Representatives advocate, said Prime Minister Rutte at his weekly press conference. Several times, the cabinet has already said that an asylum stop is not possible, because the Netherlands is not an island and is bound by international agreements.

‘Administrative failure’

The cabinet is coming up with the measures now that the situation in the Ter Apel registration center is becoming increasingly poignant.

For days, hundreds of people have been sleeping outside. For the first time in history, the international aid organization Doctors Without Borders has taken action in the Netherlands. Yesterday, MSF went to Ter Apel with a team to provide care to asylum seekers who have to stay outside the gate.

Rutte said he was ashamed of the situation in Ter Apel. When asked if there is an administrative failure here, he replied: โ€œSure.โ€ But he added that the situation is complicated. โ€œYou can let go of a lot of analysis on it,โ€ said the Prime Minister, but one of them is that shelters have been phased out too quickly after the crisis in Syria.

Rutte spoke of a โ€œlesson we have to learn.โ€ Like Secretary of State Van der Burg this morning, he said that the problems in Ter Apel have not yet been solved tonight. But the Prime Minister insists that everyone is doing their utmost to solve the problems.