The COA is responsible for the provision of health care in the reception centres. In principle, the health care provided to asylum seekers should be in line with the regular health care applied in the Netherlands. As any other person in the Netherlands, an asylum seeker can therefore visit a general practitioner, midwife or hospital. As of 1 January 2018, the Regeling Medische zorg Asielzoekers (RMA) Healthcare was the first point of reference for asylum seeker who had health issues.
The relevant legal provision can be found in Article 9(1)(e) RVA. This provision is further elaborated in the Healthcare for Asylum Seekers Regulation (Regeling Zorg Asielzoekers). According to the latter, asylum seekers have access to basic health care. This includes inter alia, hospitalisation, consultations with a general practitioner, physiotherapy, dental care (only in extreme cases) and consultations with a psychologist. If necessary, an asylum seeker can be referred to a mental hospital for day treatment. There are several institutions specialised in the treatment of asylum seekers with psychological problems, such as Phoenix.
When an asylum seeker stays in a reception facility but the RVA is not applicable, health care is arranged differently. Asylum seekers in the POL, the COL, as well as rejected asylum seekers in the VBL and adults in the GL only have access to emergency health care. In medical emergency situations, there is always a right to healthcare, according to Article 10 of the Aliens Act. For this group, problems can arise if there is a medical problem which does not constitute an emergency. Care providers who do help irregular migrants who are unable to pay their own medical treatment can declare those costs at a special foundation, which then pays the costs. The National Ombudsman has investigated access to health care for asylum seekers and rejected asylum seekers and has requested the Minister of Public Health to ensure that undocumented migrants also have access to health care.
Problems might also arise with respect to access to health care where the asylum seeker wants to use a health care provider whose costs are not covered by their insurance.
Asylum seekers, undocumented migrants and migrants in detention centers are explicitly included in the COVID-19 vaccination strategy.
Article 10(2) Aliens Act.
Ombudsman, Report on health care for asylum seekers and rejected asylum seekers, 3 October 2013, available in Dutch at: http://bit.ly/2mfJ3Cv; Ombudsman, Letter and recommendations to the Minister of Public Health, 16 December 2015, available at: http://bit.ly/2kdMvvF.
See, point 2.3. Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu, COVID-19-vaccinatie Uitvoeringsrichtlijn, March 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/30wlHxw