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The Inspectorate of Justice & Security (in Dutch: Justitie & Veiligheid, or J&V) concludes that the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) must be given enough people, resources and time to be able to process asylum applications carefully. Pressure of time can make it impossible to collect all relevant information that is needed to take careful decisions in the general asylum process. The IND recognises that time and carefulness can sometimes be at odds with each other. The asylum process is continuously being improved. The recommendations of the Inspectorate help to further these improvements.
Among other things, the Inspectorate advises the IND to give staff members more opportunity to consult one another and to share dilemmas in performing their work more often. The IND has already taken up some of the recommendations.
The dilemma between deciding quickly and deciding carefully is not new to the IND. Staff members continuously consider whether the information is sufficient to take a careful decision. If there is insufficient information, then the benefit of the doubt can be given. Providing clarity quickly in an uncertain situation is very important for asylum seekers. The IND agrees with the Inspectorate that this is a very demanding task.
The Inspectorate says that there is a considerable risk of a subjective interview and decision process because one IND staff member can take responsibility for several components of the asylum process. It is correct that it has been established that several staff members must be involved in conversion and LGBTIQ cases only. However, in practice several staff members are almost always scheduled for different components of the interview and decision process of other asylum applications as well. The IND leaves it to the estimates of staff members of whether further peer assessment is necessary. Staff members can achieve this, for example, by presenting cases to co-workers within their own team, the Knot-Cutting Teams (KDTs), the policy department or the legal department. In this way, several staff members are usually involved in the processing of an asylum application.
The investigation by the Inspectorate focused on files decided on in 2019. The IND recognises the Inspectorate's conclusion that, especially in case of complex applications, staff members sometimes did not have enough time, for example to conduct an extra interview or collect information on the country of origin. That is why the general asylum process was adjusted in June 2021. In 2019 the same asylum process applied to all asylum cases. It is now possible to choose between a 6-day process and a 9-day process, depending on the complexity of the application. In the longer process IND staff members, asylum seekers and their legal assistance providers have more time to collect and provide information. The evaluation of this adjustment will start in the third quarter of 2022.
Extra middelen, mensen en tijd nodig voor de IND | Nieuwsbericht | Inspectie Justitie en Veiligheid (inspectie-jenv.nl) [only available in Dutch]
Policy response [only available in Dutch]