IND staff have little to worry about, despite backlog of asylum applications’

Employees of the special task force of the Immigration Department sit at home and have little to do while they are paid. The task force was set up to eliminate the large backlog of asylum applications; some 14,000 applications still have to be assessed.

Four employees, who were hired by the IND at the beginning of this summer to clear the large backlog of asylum applications, open a booklet in de Volkskrant about “the chaos” within the organisation.

For example, a legal assistant tells us that she was ready for her first file after internal training to become a ‘decision-maker’. That didn’t happen, due to organisational problems and the lack of supervisors. According to her, she was advised to look at Netflix series to gain knowledge about the countries of origin of asylum seekers. “It boils down to many people sitting at home, receiving a salary of at least 3040 euros gross per month and doing nothing at all,” says the woman, who wants to remain anonymous for fear of negative consequences for her career.

Long waiting time

The employees are eager to get to work, in order to give clarity to the thousands of asylum seekers who have often been waiting for a decision for more than a year. But cases and files are not delivered, they do not receive guidance, there are capacity problems and they are not scheduled.

In August, asylum lawyers said that the quality of the procedure is at stake. They complain about, among other things, incomplete files, inexperienced staff at the immigration service and inadequate information provision.

At that time, the Ministry of Justice and Security confirmed to the CCeit that there were start-up problems, but these would have been solved by now. According to VluchtelingenWerk Nederland the opposite is true: “State Secretary Ankie Broekers Knol continues to give the impression that there are some start-up problems, but we have serious doubts. The organizational chaos in the task force must be dealt with quickly and the quality of the procedure must be improved. This must not continue to be at the expense of people on the run,” says a spokesperson.

VluchtelingenWerk Nederland is “stunned” that “IND employees are netflixing, while thousands of asylum seekers are waiting”. The long waiting times for the asylum procedure lead to an enormous amount of uncertainty among asylum seekers, says the refugee organisation.

Improvement

In a written response today, the Ministry of Justice and Security promises improvement: “For example, the number of supervisors for new employees is growing, people have been trained to be deployed on multiple tasks so that there are enough people for each task, training takes place on a regular basis and we only call on employees if there is work for them”.

In the meantime, a number of things have improved, which previously caused problems, according to the judiciary. “That does not alter the fact that there are also things that could be improved. We are discussing this with all those involved, including the staff. The aim is to have more than 14,000 cases handled carefully by the end of the year”

Director General Migration Beaujean of the Ministry of Justice and Security visited a task force in Utrecht this week:

The problems at the IND are not new. Last March, for example, it turned out that the Immigration and Naturalisation Service had to pay some 70 million euros to asylum seekers because asylum procedures were too slow. The Immigration and Naturalisation Service was unable to assess asylum applications within the set six months, as a result of which asylum seekers were able to claim a penalty payment for each day of delay.

Unrest arose at various asylum seekers’ centres in the Netherlands this summer, when it turned out that some asylum seekers were granted refugee status within a few months, while others sometimes had to wait up to two years.