The Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) have had to pay over one million euros to asylum seekers seeking refuge in the Netherlands. These penalty payments – which are likely to quadruple by the end of the year – have been claimed because the service is too slow.

Legally, the IND has six months to process an asylum family reunification request. In other words, if they don’t make a decision within six months, the asylum seekers and refugees can file a notice of default. These days, the procedure takes almost a year.

What’s a penalty payment?

If the IND still doesn’t respond within 2 weeks of the notice, they’ll have to pay the penalty payment. It starts at 20 euros and eventually increases to 40 euros a day, until it reaches a maximum of 1260 euros! Up until 1st October 2018, a total of 1,036,438 euros was paid out to asylum seekers and refugees based on 1,080 completed notices of default. Another 3,610 notices have not yet been handled.

Ayslum seekers at Ter Apel (Source: Flickr/CC/IND/Directie Voorlichting)

Why does the IND take so long?

When there was a huge influx of people coming from Syria in 2015, the IND hired extra employees. Since then, however, the organisation has remained understaffed because they didn’t take into consideration the family reunification requests (and it’s hard to fill positions in this labour market).

The IND says that “every asylum case is treated carefully”. At the moment, it’s priority is looking into applications filed by people from safe countries and repeated asylum requests, which automatically leaves other people waiting.

Already over a million, and thousands of claims have not yet been handled. What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments…

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