NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 11:45
The South Holland Commissioner of the King Jaap Smit doubts whether his province will succeed in realizing the 16,754 extra reception places for asylum seekers within a year, as the cabinet requires.
“The most densely populated area will have a huge task,” he said in the NOS Radio 1 Journaal. “And the question is really whether this will work.”
At the end of November, State Secretary Van der Burg (Asylum) and Minister De Jonge (Public Housing) announced that as a result of a new distribution law, provinces must have more long-term reception places for asylum seekers. This does not therefore concern temporary locations such as sports halls in municipalities where asylum seekers are accommodated for six months, but asylum seekers centers for several years.
Measured by the number of inhabitants
The number of asylum seekers to be accommodated was measured, among other things, by the number of inhabitants. As a result, the most densely populated provinces of South Holland and North Holland have to create many extra reception places, while a province like Groningen hardly needs to add any new long-term places.
Smit calls this distribution key “a somewhat simple calculation”. The CDA member says he is well aware that many asylum seekers have often been received in the more sparsely populated provinces. For example, in November last year South Holland had the fewest number of long-term reception places after the province of Utrecht (1839), while there were 4438 reception places in Gelderland, for example. Smit emphasizes that he is not against extra reception places in his province, but that a tenfold increase in the number of long-term reception places within a year is very difficult.
North Holland also critical
His colleague Arthur van Dijk from North Holland is also critical of the distribution key, says the VVD member in Trouw. Nearly 9,000 extra permanent reception places are to be built in his province. “You could also say that in less populated areas there is more room for asylum seekers’ centers.”
But both directors emphasize, despite their criticism, that they do not want to discuss the figures any further. Smit: “I said to my own people: let’s not focus on that number and let’s get to work. As South Holland, we have to create more structural places, so let’s see how high we can jump.”
With the new distribution law, municipalities that previously did not or did not do so to a limited extent now also have to receive (more) refugees. “I think it’s a good thing that every municipality gets a task,” says Smit. “It is a complex issue and I think it is good that we can no longer pass it on to a single municipality that is willing.” He says he is discussing this with, among others, the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers and municipal authorities.
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