The resettlement of 152 refugees from Lebanon began on Monday, 19 October. These refugees had already been selected for resettlement in December 2019, but were unable to travel to the Netherlands earlier due to the global coronavirus crisis. In order to prevent any possible risk of the coronavirus spreading, the refugees will go into quarantine immediately upon arrival in the Netherlands.
This will happen at a location set up according to the RIVM measures. The mainly Syrian refugees will arrive in groups of about 30 a day. They will sit together on the plane and wear face masks. After the quarantine period, they will again travel in groups of about 30 to the municipality where they will live. This means that by 2 November at the latest, all refugees will be out of quarantine.
The refugees were selected to resettle in the Netherlands by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (the IND) and the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) after being nominated by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Because they are currently staying in Lebanon, which is classified as an orange coronavirus region, they must go into quarantine for 10 days after arriving in the Netherlands.
The government is cooperating on resettlement to better streamline legal migration and combat illegal migration. In the case of resettlement, refugees who are currently being accommodated in the region of their country of origin and are in a more vulnerable position than other refugees, come to the Netherlands in a safe and controlled manner. As a result of their reception in the Netherlands, they are offered lasting protection, at the same time reducing the pressure on the countries taking in migrants in the region. It concerns refugees being taken in by, for example, countries such as Lebanon, Turkey, Niger, Egypt, Ethiopia or Kenya.
The UNHCR assesses the number of vulnerable refugees eligible for resettlement. The Netherlands has agreed with the UNHCR how many of these refugees it will resettle. This is firstly under the so-called multi-annual resettlement policy framework 2020-2023, which is based on a national quota of 500 resettled refugees per year.
In addition, resettlement takes place in the context of migration cooperation with third countries. These are the agreements made in response to the EU-Turkey Declaration. Through the EU-Turkey Declaration, the Netherlands is actively working to resettle Syrian refugees from Turkey and improve the situation of refugees residing in Turkey.