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16 June 2020 – Netherlands

Responding to the Global Detention Project’s Covid-19 survey, a government official who asked to remain anonymous reported that no moratorium on new immigration detention orders had been established and that no such measure was under consideration. The official confirmed that people who were awaiting removal to another EU member state under the Dublin Regulation have been released from detention as their return could not be realised within the prescribed six weeks. However, for all other detention measures, the Dutch Repatriation and Departure Service made individual assessments on whether a return would still be possible. Detention was continued for those individuals who did not cooperate with the assessment to determine their nationality. Also, the official stated that in cases of detainees for which travel documents were available, an assessment was made on whether return would be possible within a short timeframe. If such a return was not possible, the detention measure was lifted.

The government official said that depending upon whether a person has a right to reception under the Dutch Aliens Act, they will receive support. If this is not the case, the official said that any person can ask the municipality to be placed in a homeless shelter. All municipalities received additional funds to create more shelter spaces and according to the official all shelters will follow the rules of the Dutch Health Authority to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Reception centres, as shelters, are open centres and so persons can move freely. In consequence, the official said that it was the person’s responsibility to follow the guidelines of the Dutch Health Authority. In the reception centres, the guidelines have been provided in several languages as well as sign language.

Tests are reportedly conducted for detainees who make health complaints to doctors and where there is suspicion of Covid-19 contamination. The government official added that removals from the Netherlands have not been completely halted. Removals are still possible to several countries, including Indonesia, Brazil, and Poland. Cases are treated on a case-by-case basis and an individual decision is taken whether a return is possible and what travel route may be used.