IND: our social task is becoming increasingly complicated

Last update: 10 June 2022

The social task of the IND to decide quickly on applications by people who want to stay in the Netherlands is becoming increasingly complicated because of unpredictable migration flows and complex laws and regulations. This is what the IND writes in its first Performance Update (only Dutch). It describes what the organisation itself does to improve its work, but also what is needed from others.

Fluctuating influx

In the Performance Update, the IND indicates that stable funding is necessary to upscale and downscale responsibly when the influx of asylum applications fluctuates. This allows the IND to recruit and train staff in good time, even before a peak occurs. When the influx is lower, it is important to downscale only when the decrease is structural.

Currently, the IND is receiving more asylum applications than expected. The organisation is impacted strongly by sudden developments, such as the evacuation from Afghanistan, the war in Ukraine and delayed migration after the corona measures were lifted. Scaling up is difficult because of the labour market shortage. Moreover, it is a challenge to retain staff who have been trained. In addition to the recruitment of new staff, the IND is taking measures to make the decision process smarter and faster, without compromising due care.

Complexity is increasing

Society, the legal system and policies increasingly seem to be urging greater care in the processing of applications. This causes the IND to face the boundaries of practicability for an increasing number of applications, as can be read in the Performance Update. It is taking more time to process an application, files are becoming larger and training new staff is taking longer. Whether decisions have improved as a result remains to be seen.

The IND is discussing these issues actively with the Minister for Migration and members of the Bar. The matter must also be opened up to political debate. Support is needed from the House of Representatives to ensure that the work of implementation does not become too complex. It helps to discuss dilemmas and look into structural improvements, in addition to individual issues that will remain due to the complexity of the task.

Increasing waiting times

In the Performance Update, the IND puts two other subjects on the agenda: increasing waiting times and provision of information. Despite full commitment of IND staff, applicants sometimes have to wait long for their decision and lack a clear picture of the time their process will take. The waiting times at desks and the hotline are also increasing.

By implementing process improvements, time can be saved. For example, knot-cutting teams are being deployed in the asylum process to see whether supplementary information is needed in complex cases, or whether a decision can be taken after all. In addition, the approach is often adapted to the target group. This means that asylum applications by people with the same background (for example the country of origin) or reception centre are processed by the same staff. This allows for more efficient decisions in cases that are likely to succeed as well as complex cases. The IND also mentions in the Performance Update that it is investigating whether there are other ways to issue residence documents than a visit to an IND desk. This would require a change of legislation.

Current information provision insufficient

Just like other implementing organisations, information provision is crucial for the work of the IND. The Performance Update tells that the current decision-supporting system will be replaced in the coming years. Because of this, the IND will be better able to plan, direct, and justify its work. This innovation is carried out in stages and will take around 10 years to complete, while processes will continue as usual. This phased approach minimises risks and prepares the organisation steadily for the changes that are to come. The IND needs calm and space to implement this.

Information and cooperation

For this first issue of the Performance Update, a selection was made from the bottlenecks and challenges that were elicited within the organisation. The IND will continue to do this structurally, by issuing a Performance Update annually, among other things. Through this first edition, the IND does not only want to inform the House of Representatives, but also seeks cooperation to work on solutions for the outlined bottlenecks and challenges.