The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) still has more than 11,000 overdue asylum applications on its shelf. State Secretary Broekers-Knol writes to the Lower House of Parliament that the special task force set up this spring to make up the backlog has so far processed more than 4,000 applications. The pile should be cleared by the end of the year.
Asylum seekers who have to wait too long for a decision from the IND are entitled to a penalty payment of up to 15,000 euros. This costs the state millions per month. In order to do something about this, the task force was set up in April. Some 230 civil servants work there. In addition, some 250 temporary workers are engaged in hearing asylum seekers, administration and work preparation.
Broekers-Knol is pleased with the progress of the task force, but also sees that much remains to be done. She expects the work to go faster as of this month, partly because the working method will be changed. For example, external legal agencies will be used to draft draft decisions. According to the State Secretary, 5,000 cases can be dealt with more quickly.
Putting Relaas on paper yourself
In addition, in some cases asylum seekers are allowed to put their own story on paper, so that decisions can be made more quickly. There will be special pre-printed questionnaires for this purpose. Only if national security may be at risk, or if it is the intention to reject the asylum application, will a further oral interview take place.
Accelerated handling may not detract from care, according to Broekers-Knol. Some of the overdue cases are so complex that more time and attention is needed, especially in cases of converts and LHBTI’ers.
The State Secretary warns that if the backlog is cleared by the IND, it will become busier at other authorities. More people will have to return to the country of origin and municipalities will be given more status holders to accommodate. But the courts will also get busier, because many rejected asylum seekers will appeal.