Housing

Netherlands

Country Report: Housing Last updated: 08/04/22

Author

Dutch Council for Refugees Visit Website

The main forms of accommodation provided to beneficiaries of international protection are:

  • Reception centres;
  • Temporary placements; and
  • Housing.

Asylum seekers who are granted a residence permit are allowed to stay in the reception centre until COA has arranged housing facilities in cooperation with a municipality. The asylum seeker is obliged to make use of the offer of the COA in the sense that the right to reception facilities will end at the moment housing is offered.

The law does not state a maximum period for the stay of beneficiaries in reception centres. The aim of the Dutch government for 2018 is to have a maximum stay of 3.5 months in the reception centre after the granting of a residence permit.[1]

On 1 January 2022, there were 11,983 refugees with a permit residing in COA reception centres.[2]

The right to reception ends on the date that adequate housing – outside the reception centre – can be realised. The notion of “adequate housing” is assessed by the COA.[3] Together with municipalities, the COA has the obligation to arrange housing for beneficiaries.[4] Two times per year, the authority lets the municipalities know how many beneficiaries they have to house. The COA matches the beneficiaries with a certain municipality.

For the housing of beneficiaries, the COA takes into account four placement criteria, which are:

  1. Education, provided that the study is location-specific;
  2. Work, provided that the beneficiary can prove that he or she has a labour contract with a duration of minimal 6 months and for 20 hours of more per week;
  3. Medical and/or psychosocial indications, provided that the beneficiary can prove that the medical treatment can only be done by the current care provider, or that a customized home is necessary;
  4. The presence of first-degree family in the Netherlands.

If one of these indications occurs, the COA tries to place the beneficiary in a radius of 50km of the municipality concerned. If the COA does not take into account the aforementioned indications and the beneficiary refuses the house on justifiable grounds, then a new offer will be done.

A beneficiary can refuse an offer for placement. The COA will assess within 14 days whether the refusal is justifiable. If the COA is of the opinion that the accommodation is suitable and the refusal unjustified, then the beneficiary is awarded a 24 hour to reconsider its position and to accept the accommodation. If the beneficiary continues to refuse the housing, then COA does not provide for a new offer. As a consequence, the beneficiary is summoned to leave the centre and the benefits granted by COA are terminated.

Due to the high number of asylum applications in 2015, a shortage of places within the reception centre arose. It was therefore decided that beneficiaries who were awaiting housing could also temporarily stay at families and friends. The so-called Hosting Scheme (“Logeerregeling”) was introduced. The scheme is still in place, being renewed during the last years. Status holders can make use of the Hosting scheme if they would like to stay with friends, family, or a host family. In principle, they can stay there for up to 3 months. In some cases, this period can be extended, if an agreement is reached with the COA The COA gives status holders aged 21 years and over an additional payment of €25 per week. As of 22 March 2021, the additional payment of the COA is temporarily €75 per week, to encourage more status holder to access the Scheme. The conditions for making use of the Hosting Scheme (“Logeerregeling”) can be found in English on the site of COA (the site of COA is available in English).[5]

In 2021, reception centres registered a new shortage of places, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and partly to the generalised shortage of rented houses in the Netherlands. Since 1 November 2021, the so-called “Hotel- en accomodatieregeling” (Hotel- and Accomodation Arrangement) was introduced.[6] Status holders awaiting regular housing at a municipality had the opportunity of accessing temporary accommodation at the same municipality responsible for their regular housing. A temporary accommodation might be a hotel, a holiday bungalow or a B&B, and would host the status holder for a maximum of 6 months. After that time, the municipality must have found a permanent house/accommodation; in any case, the municipality would then become financially responsible for the status holder. The arrangement is only open to single beneficiaries without children. The beneficiary also may not be vulnerable. The status holders remain entitled to the COA’s basic provisions, such as a weekly allowance and access to medical care. The status holder receive an additional payment of € 75 per week from the COA. The benefits granted by the COA will stop as soon as the municipality regular housed the status holder. The municipality receives a payment (€ 8280 plus € 1000 for guidance) for every status holder participating in this arrangement.

[1] Kamerstuk II, 2017-2018, 34775 VI, No 17.

[2] COA, Bezetting, available in Dutch at: https://bit.ly/3rJ3vhk.   https://www.coa.nl/nl/lijst/capaciteit-en-bezetting

[3] Article 7(1)(a) RVA.

[4] Article 3(1)(c) RVA; Articles 10(2) and 12(3) Housing Act.

[5] Explanation of the Logeerregeling available in Dutch at: https://bit.ly/3INAuIj.     

[6] Stcrt. nr. 45592, 2021

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation