Access to detention facilities


Country Report: Access to detention facilities Last updated: 22/05/23


Dutch Council for Refugees Visit Website

According to the Bill on return and detention of aliens (which still has to enters into force, as previously specified), contact with the outside world is guaranteed through certain people, amongst which the National Ombudsman, the legal counsellor of the alien, members of parliament and relevant NGOs.[1]

Current policies do not specify the capacity of visitors, but Paragraph A5/6.10 of the Aliens Circular grants detained migrants the right to receive visitors, to make phone calls and to send and receive correspondence. However, these rights may be restricted by the managing director of the detention facility when the person in question abuses them to abscond or obstruct their return procedure. There is however no information on how often this occurs. Up until June 2020, detainees were not allowed to receive visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From June 2020, visits restarted, but were limited to a few times a week early in the morning, and only behind glass.[2]

The Dutch Council for Refugees has an active branch in the Schiphol detention centre, which enables the DCR to support asylum seekers during their asylum procedure. Asylum lawyers are also present on a regular basis at the Schiphol detention centre. Since 2018, the DCR has also consulting hours available three days a week for asylum seekers in the detention centre of Rotterdam. Furthermore, the DCR occasionally visits the centre in Zeist to provide legal assistance and information to asylum seekers.

Moreover, Stichting LOS visits the detention centres. Stichting LOS is an NGO that strives for improving immigration detention conditions.[3] Stichting LOS supports detainees for instance with files of complaints against detention conditions. Stichting LOS also has an “Immigration Detention Hotline” that detainees can call (using their right to make phone calls) free of charge.




[1] Bill regarding return and detention of aliens (2015-2016), 34309/2.

[2] Meldpunt Vreemdelingendetentie, Covid in migrant detention, 1 December 2021, available in Dutch at:

[3] Full name:  Stichting Landelijk Ongedocumenteerden Steunpunt. See and

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