Dutch Immigration service (IND) will take extra measures to curb the influx of Moldovans looking for asylum. For the second time in a week, a bus full of people from the Eastern European country arrived at the Ter Apel refugee center.
About 65 people were in the coach. The bus parked some 500 meters from the Groningen asylum seekers’ center, where all newcomers must report. Dozens of passengers got out to walk the last bit on foot. All passengers have applied for asylum. There were many children among the Moldovans group.
Their asylum application is virtually hopeless. Asylum applications from people from that country are almost never honored.
It is the second time in a week that a bus to Moldovans looking for asylum enters our country. Just as with the first bus, which contained twenty Moldavians, the driver of this second bus was also arrested for human smuggling. A few days before that, about ten Moldavians, including five children, were discovered as they walked near the border near Ter Apel. They have also applied for asylum.
The Public Prosecution Service and the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee are investigating smuggling. The Moldovans did not have a passport or other proof of identity with them to prove that they were allowed to be in the Netherlands. Since a few years, people from Moldova no longer need a visa to enter the Netherlands and other Schengen countries.
As a result, the number of Moldovans applying for asylum has risen sharply. In 2014, five people from the country made an initial asylum application, in 2015 there were ten and in 2016 fifteen. In 2017, 340 Moldovans suddenly applied for asylum and last year there were 830. In the first nine months of this year, 635 people from Moldova already arrived here. 2019 is therefore heading for a further rise.
However, Moldovans hardly have a chance to stay here. Why they try it en masse, Annemiek Bots does not know.
“Apparently there is some sort of story going round about the Netherlands, or smugglers are very active.”
According to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND), experience has since learned that Moldovans often “travel” through Western Europe in search of happiness. The vast majority appear to have previously applied for asylum in other EU countries without success, particularly in France and Germany.
The hopeless Moldovans occupy places of people who rightly ask for asylum. The many dozens of requests from the last days are therefore becoming problematic. It has previously been decided to treat this group as a matter of priority and not to provide financial support upon return. Previously, hopeless asylum seekers received some money on their return trip. That is no longer the case with Moldovans, to prevent them from traveling to the Netherlands for that alone.
However, the IND will take more measures to stop the still growing flow of Moldovans. Consideration should be given to reducing and limiting reception facilities, the targeted application of the possibility of detaining foreign nationals and tackling smugglers who bring people to the Netherlands.