Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) has temporarily been given the
option to delay decisions on asylum applications by people from Afghanistan.
The reason is the uncertain situation in the country. This so-called decision and departure moratorium is effective for a six-month period starting Thursday 26 August. The decision was taken by the Minister for Migration and published in the Government Gazette.
A decision and departure moratorium means that the IND will not have to take any final decisions on asylum applications by Afghans for the time being. In principle, only the registration interview will take place for new applications. The decision halt also applies to ongoing applications, so people who have already applied for asylum in the Netherlands and are staying in reception. Moreover, the Repatriation and Departure Service (DT&V) will temporarily not remove any Afghans whose application has been rejected by the IND.
In individual cases, the IND may still decide on an Afghan asylum application. For example, the IND will start processing applications by persons who have been evacuated from Afghanistan by the Netherlands as soon as possible. It is also possible to reject an application, for example in case of suspicion of war crimes, risk for national security, or where Dublin applications are concerned (if someone applied for asylum earlier in another EU Member State).
In September, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is expected to make a new country-specific announcement about the situation in Afghanistan. On the basis of this, among other things, the asylum policy for Afghanistan, carried out by the IND, will be reassessed. The new categories defined in the Belhaj et al. motion will also be fleshed out further. The motion asked the government to expand the protection policy for staff who worked for the Dutch mission. This elaboration will be published in the Aliens Act Implementation Guidelines.
The decision halt automatically means that the IND will be given longer to decide on Afghan asylum applications. The decision term of ongoing applications and applications submitted from 26 August is extended to 18 months in principle. Normally speaking, the decision term is 6 months.