Honderden vluchtelingen hebben sinds 2015 een huis gekregen in Rotterdam. 95 procent leeft van een uitkering https://t.co/qIEupuBcvw
— AD RotterdamsDagblad (@RDStad) November 24, 2017
On 24 November, Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad (AD) published an article on the influx of asylum-seekers into the city of Rotterdam. In the past two years, the city has housed 2.429 asylum-seekers, 80 more than it was obligated to do by law. Next year, it will be allowed to house 80 people less. Of those 2.429, 95% lives on social benefits, representing almost 5% of the total amount of people on benefits in Rotterdam.
The numbers are from a study by the municipality, into the migrant population that has been allowed to live in Rotterdam over last two years: the so-called Monitor Rotterdamse Aanpak Statushouders 2016-2020. It is the first time that a study of how a city is coping with the influx of migrants that, in the words of AD, surprised Europe in 2015, is conducted.
The political party Leefbaar Rotterdam, known for its criticism on the housing of migrants, sees the 95% on social benefits as a confirmation of its concerns.
“Refugees are said to be an enrichment for the city. But now you see that people are given a ticket to social benefits. Rotterdam has enough problems of its own.“
Across party lines, Labour decided to blame it on Leefbaar. Labour council member Barbara Kathmann:
“Time and time again, the PvdA has insisted that the municipality should pay for language classes, converting diploma’s, and escorting people to work. (…) With Leefbaar, I sometimes think that the aldermen enjoy sitting on their hands, not doing anything.“
Professor of Integration and Migration at the Erasmus University Jaco Dagevos, who works with the Netherlands Institute for Social Research says that the 95% in Rotterdam – comparable to the 90% on the national level – is something to be wary of. He offers an excuse though, saying:
“Asylum-seekers are very busy with learning the language, integration, family reunion and getting their finances in order.“
Besides that, he claims a large number of migrants has trauma’s, which he further claims they might have incurred in migrant-reception centres. He says there is hope, stating that the number of migrants getting jobs goes up after three or four years, although a large gap in participation in the job market will remain persistent.
Up to now, four of the migrants residing in Rotterdam have a full-time job, the monitor states. Some of them have odd jobs, working in a garage, bakery, cobbler, agriculture, the hotel school and a ICT-company. Besides that, up to 150 migrants volunteer as a translator, serving coffee or mentor at a sewing workshop. Of the group, 137 are in school. All migrants are obligated to attend language classes and a ‘participation’-course.
Most of 2016’s migrant arrivals were the result of ‘family reunion’.