The departure bonus is high, but “third country nationals” from Ukraine remain at reception in the Netherlands internal

The departure bonus is high, but "third country nationals" from Ukraine remain at reception in the Netherlands  internal

Despite the high departure reward, Nigerians and Moroccans who fled Ukraine remain in the Netherlands. They choose to remain in Ukrainian refugee reception sites for the time being, and the €5,000 departure bonus has changed little. Of the 4,600 “third country nationals”, 400 have benefited from the return programme.

Since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine a year ago, 90,000 Ukrainian refugees have been registered in the Netherlands. In addition, there were 4,660 people who lived in Ukraine when the bombs fell, but who do not have Ukrainian citizenship: so-called third-country nationals. These are mainly Nigerians and Moroccans, but also Syrians and Yemenis. They were in Ukraine on a student or work visa, or as war refugees.

After their journey to the Netherlands, third-country nationals received the same reception as Ukrainians: in the same reception sites and with the same special refugee status. However, Holland soon gave them the opportunity to return to their country of origin with financial support. Those who applied before January 1, 2023 received €5,000 upon their departure from the airport. Anyone who registered after January 1 received €2,000. The return trip was also arranged and paid for by Holland.

400 returns

Of the 4,660 third-country nationals, 400 have so far benefited from the repatriation offer, according to figures requested by this website from the Repatriation and Departure Service, part of the Ministry of Justice and Security. A spokesman said: “A flight has already been booked for another 60 third-country nationals and talks are currently taking place with 10 third-country nationals about a suitable flight.”

Of these 400, 395 were eligible for severance pay of €5,000. The remainder has been reported after January 1 and has to make do with 2,000 euros. This means that severance pay costs for the Netherlands alone amount to nearly 2 million euros. On the other hand, each day someone spends in Ukraine costs the state between 80 and 100 euros.

Citizens of other countries can still qualify for the departure bonus through March 4. The €5,000 bonus was much higher than what DT&V usually provides to rejected asylum seekers who return to their country of origin.

Asylum procedures for third country nationals

After March 4, their status will change. Third country nationals may stay in reception centers for Ukrainians until 4 September. But if special accommodation arrangements apply to Ukrainians until March 2024, the IND will start the asylum procedure for third-country nationals. “Two groups are treated with priority: people who come from a safe country of origin (about 1,200 people) and people from Syria and Yemen who have a good chance of obtaining asylum in the Netherlands (about 100 people),” the ministry says. . People from so-called safe countries (such as Morocco) have little chance of obtaining a residence permit in the Netherlands. Other third country nationals are not given priority over asylum seekers who have been waiting for a decision from the IND for some time.

Shelter for refugees from Ukraine in Hainu. © Rob Foss

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