The distribution bill for the reception of asylum seekers will be presented unchanged in the House of Representatives early next week. The Council of Ministers approved it today. In his own words, this is a “weight on the shoulders” of Secretary of State Eric van der Burg for Justice and Security. The Secretary of State expects sufficient support for the unchanged distribution law.
The bill is expected to ensure that asylum seekers are more evenly distributed across the country. Van der Burg put aside the strong criticisms of the distribution law by, among others, the State Council on his first proposal. ‘The cabinet estimated that if we did what the Council of State suggested, we would not achieve a majority in the House of Representatives’, explains the undersecretary. “So it’s pragmatic.”
If the influx of asylum seekers increases in the spring, extra places will be needed, according to Van der Burg. Both the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) and the government should get to work on this, says the Secretary of State. It will be some time before the distribution bill can be introduced, as it now has to pass first through the House of Representatives and then through the Senate.
For now, the proposal foresees that municipalities can receive extra money, freely available, if they voluntarily make available structural reception places. This must involve at least 100 posts that are available for five years. If this voluntary shift does not give sufficient places for asylum seekers, these must be distributed among the municipalities of the province. Municipalities that voluntarily build up extra places will now receive the bonus retroactively once the law is passed, says Van der Burg.
Within a province, municipalities can ‘exchange’ with each other, as long as there are enough reception places, says Van der Burg in his bill. For example, one municipality may welcome asylum seekers, while another municipality will host asylum seekers. These are asylum seekers who have a residence permit and therefore have the right to a home. If even that round is unsatisfactory, the Secretary of State himself can oblige the Municipalities to set up reception places. He then makes a decision on the distribution of the requested reception places.
Fernando Dowling is an author and political journalist who writes for 24 News Globe. He has a deep understanding of the political landscape and a passion for analyzing the latest political trends and news.