IND will adapt assessment of asylum applications to European practice

Last update: 5 March 2024

The IND will introduce changes in the way in which the credibility and weight of asylum seekers' narratives are assessed. This assessment forms the basis for granting or rejecting an asylum application. The purpose of the adjustments is to better align with European regulations and the working methods of the other Member States. All interview and decision-making staff will undergo training for this purpose in the coming months. The IND will put the adjusted working method into practice from this summer onwards.

In his letter to Parliament (only in Dutch), the State Secretary for Asylum and Migration explains the upcoming adjustments to the working methods of the IND.

Adjusted assessment of credibility

The assessment of credibility is the first test in the substantive processing of an asylum application. The basic principle is that the IND asks for evidence, such as official documents, to substantiate the narrative. If it is not possible on all points, the IND will apply credibility assessment. 

Credibility assessment

The credibility assessment is done on the basis of five conditions. All five conditions must be met. They remain the same, but become more leading in the process. This should ensure a more structured assessment of credibility. These are such conditions as the timely submission of relevant documents and information and the coherence and plausibility of statements. Personal circumstances and the background of the applicant will be taken into account for each condition. Based on the conditions, ultimately a conclusion will be drawn whether the asylum motive is credible.

Work instruction will be withdrawn

The work instruction 'method of further investigation' (only in Dutch) will be withdrawn upon publication of the new work instruction. It indicates when additional interviews can be held and when a decision must be made. 

Adjusted assessment of weightiness

If an asylum application is found to be credible, the IND will check whether this is also a reason for protection in the Netherlands. This is the weightiness. The IND will also pay more attention to the personal circumstances of an applicant in this assessment, by no longer working with risk groups, but with risk profiles. The new working method also takes into account changes resulting from three recent and guiding judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). These judgments concern assessing political beliefs, women as a social group and risk of random violence.

No lighter verification for risk profiles

The current working method assumes a lighter verification for everyone who falls within a risk group or vulnerable minority group, regardless of the actual risk that someone runs. The new working method implies more emphasis on the risk that an individual applicant will run when returning to the country of origin. The risk profile is an aid for the individual verification. Lighter verification will no longer be applied. The fact that someone falls within a risk profile is not in itself a reason for asylum.

Risk of random violence

Following a ruling of the European Court, the IND is adjusting its assessment of the risk of becoming a victim of random violence in the country of origin, the so-called Article 15c situation. The European Court has ruled that it is possible that someone can become a victim of random violence because of his/her personal situation, even if random violence occurs to a lesser extent in that area. For applications from countries or regions where this is the case, the IND must take the personal situation into account in the individual assessment. This could be, for example, a person's profession or physical limitations that increase the risk of becoming a victim of random violence. Which personal situation is relevant will differ per country and per situation. Therefore, no categories have been established in the policy.

It is up to the applicant to substantiate why he runs a real risk of random violence. For the IND, this means that an additional verification is necessary if this is the case in the country of origin. This means that individual circumstances and characteristics of the applicant will be taken into account in the assessment. 

Training courses for staff

Training courses are being organized for all interview and decision-making staff to apply the changes in the assessment of credibility and weightiness. These training courses will take place in the spring, so that the changed working method can be implemented in the summer. Based on the training, further refinements can be made to the assessment framework.